I’m kicking off reviews in 2015 with a sweet one by Denise Hunter: The Wishing Season, book 3 in her “Chapel Springs Romance” series featuring another McKinley sibling. (Do you remember how much I loved book 2, Dancing with Fireflies?!)
This is a contemporary romance with a unique premise. An lady is holding a contest giving away her old, spacious home, Wishing House, to the most deserving entrepreneur. PJ McKinley, the youngest of the McKinley siblings, is ready to prove her independence fresh from culinary school by turning the house into a combination bed and breakfast complete with a restaurant. Newcomer Cole Evans wants to transform the house into a transition home for foster kids turning 18 and learning to be independent. The contest result: both PJ’s and Cole’s plans have merit, so they must share the house for 1 year and implement BOTH ideas. The result: a scaled-back transition home and a gourmet restaurant under one roof. After 1 year, the lady plans to choose a winner.
As PJ and Cole coexist and compete for the Wishing House, they encounter challenges and unexpected pain from the past neither one is ready to face. On top of that, add a growing attraction for each other and a pending contest deadline.
This story is cute and interesting in a quirky (in the best sense) way. While sometimes comical, it brings up relevant issues such as finding a place to belong, pursuing dreams, and overcoming guilt. As the baby of the family, PJ feels like she needs to prove herself capable of handling “adult life” and all its challenges. I enjoyed getting to know her spunky and determined character.
I also loved the setting – who doesn’t love old, roomy houses? Plus the restaurant atmosphere was well illustrated. (Crazy things like power outages really do happen 🙂 There are brief glimpses of familiar McKinley characters, which is a plus.
Both PJ and Cole carry guilt, though it’s not obvious at first. Each finds – or has to face – a way to overcome it through understanding that some people make choices we don’t have power over, yet the consequences can be painful and hurt us all. There’s not as strong of a spiritual transformation of one of the main characters as previous in the series, yet a thread of faith is evident and essential to the plot.
This is another great read by Denise! I can’t wait for Ryan’s story in Married ’til Monday!
Visit Denise’s website here: http://www.denisehunterbooks.com/
Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.