Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Mulberry Hollow by Denise Hunter


Mulberry Hollow by Denise Hunter

Denise has done it again! Her books are consistently well-written, romantic, and engaging.

Let’s begin with the summary:

When a handsome handyman faces a medical emergency on the Appalachian trail, his sudden appearance in town challenges an ambitious doctor’s plan to remain single for life.

Avery Robinson decided to be a physician after helplessly watching her mother lose a battle with a terrible disease. Now at risk of developing the same illness, Avery guards her heart from love. She’s driven to protect her loved ones as a workaholic doctor in the tiny mountain town of Riverbend Gap, North Carolina.

Contractor Wes Garrett is hiking the Appalachian trail, in memory of the man who died saving his life, when an illness racks his body. After an agonizing fifteen-mile hike to Avery’s clinic, he collapses on her doorstep. He recovers to find himself in debt again—but this time to a beautiful doctor.

When he decides to help her renovate a rundown carriage house, the obstacles to their attraction sprout like weeds—starting with the woman waiting for Wes at the end of the trail. Will he be able to relinquish the debt he owes his best friend? And will Avery find the courage to risk everything for love?

And now, my review:

Denise is such a pro at story telling. You know you’re in good hands, reading her books. Her method of short chapters keeps the pacing very strong.

I liked the Appalachian trail tie-in—very interesting for someone who’s never seen any part of it. Still wigs me out a little that total strangers sleep side by side in the periodic shelters, but again, the trail is foreign to me.

The story’s hero chafes at the idea of owing any more debts to anyone. He’s committed to paying off one so personal he’s sacrificing a lot to do so. We’ll see his debt aversion a few times in the story. I like his noble cause and could immediately sympathize with him, even though his reasons slowly unfolded.

Our heroine lives under a large shadow. She fears the future, in a way, and that’s relatable to readers I think, no matter what their personal issues may be. Her private concerns were a great why-not, which, paired with the hero’s, gave us solid tension and conflict.

I love that we revisited previous characters from this Riverbend Romance series. An enjoyable book! I can’t wait to read the next novel in this series, which centers, I’m guessing, around the most wounded of this family of siblings: Gavin.

Highly recommended.