Melissa Tagg’s latest release, Here to Stay is at the same time fun and serious -it’s like a cute romantic comedy movie, but with more insight into the lives of the characters and more plot depth. It’s the second in her “Where Love Begins” series.
Let me just tell you how I LOVED this story. It’s the first I’ve read of Melissa’s (I know, I know, I’m reading the series out of order.) I totally understand the small town setting of this book – it’s like mine, news travels fast. It’s such a cute story with characters I feel like I know personally now. Throw in pop-culture references to Michael Bublé, Bonanza, and Hallmark movies, and I’m hooked.
Autumn Kingsley dreams of a job in Paris, adventure, and just something different from that of her small town life in Whisper Shore. Determined to take care of her responsibilities as the owner of her family’s inn before moving to France, she’s faced with its disrepair and slow business during what should be a great season.
Blake “Blaze” Hunziker, family hotel-owning rival to the Kingsleys, is a nomad and adventurer returned to his hometown in search of peace and a sense of belonging. He’s haunted by his past, having lived with his own blame and that of others for the events surrounding his older brother’s death. While trying to figure out his place now in his hometown, he finds a job opportunity in planning the upcoming town Christmas festival. With a short time frame to contend with, he enlists the help of Autumn to organize it in exchange for repairs at her inn.
With humor and wit, Autumn and Blake form an unlikely friendship in the midst of their community. (There were moments I did snicker at Blake’s antics.) The only problem is, Blake has finally stopped running from his past just when Autumn is ready to leave and find her future.
This one is such an easy read, with a light, conversational tone. I enjoyed the cast of supportive characters. They are quite charming and add extra meaning and little “life lessons” for both Autumn and Blake along the way.
On a side note, I enjoyed Autumn’s love of books – and used bookstores, and reading groups. I think she and I would have some great book conversations.
As the story progresses, we see Autumn and Blake find a new closeness with God. They each find forgiveness, peace, and purpose in God’s plan on their journeys – though it’s quite the ride getting there with them. It’s a fun ride, and totally worth it. I hope you have the opportunity to read this one. I personally can’t wait to see what’s next from author Melissa Tagg!
Note: THANK-YOU to Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.