First off, I need to say a big CONGRATULATIONS to author Melissa Tagg for winning the Christy Award in the Contemporary Romance category for this novel, Now and Then and Always! (To see a whole list of the finalists and winners in each category, click here).
My review for this story needs to further introduction 😉
2020 Christy Award Winner and HOLT Medallion Finalist
“It was just a house. Just a weathered old house in a hidden grove, shuttered and still . . . “
Last year, after traumatic circumstances forced her from her job as a nanny, Mara Bristol finally found a place to belong-the winsome Everwood Bed & Breakfast at the edge of Maple Valley, Iowa. For months, she’s helped its owner, Lenora, maintain the ramshackle property despite their shortage of guests. But when Lenora fails to return from a month-long trip and the bank threatens foreclosure, Mara worries she’s once again alone . . . abandoned . . . about to lose the only true home she’s ever known.
Detective Marshall Hawkins is no closer to whole today than he was two years ago . . . the day his daughter died. Between his divorce, debilitating migraines, and a dependence on medication, his life is falling apart. And when a reckless decision on the job propels him into administrative leave, he has no other plan but to get in his truck and drive. A one-night stay at the Everwood was supposed to be just that. But there’s something about the old house-or maybe its intriguing caretaker-that pulls him in.
Together, Mara and Marshall set out to save the Everwood. But its secrets run deeper than they could’ve imagined. As they renovate the house and search for its missing owner, they’ll each confront the pain that brought them to the Everwood in the first place . . . and just maybe discover a faith and love to help them carry on.
As always, I love this Melissa Tagg novel to pieces. With her signature humor and the beloved Maple Valley setting, Tagg delivers another masterpiece of a story with Now and Then and Always.
There’s something *winsome* about Melissa Tagg’s storytelling. The romance between Mara and Marshall, especially, is delightful and natural at the same time. An intriguing mystery and a great cast of characters add more charm to the friendships in the story — along with the quirky townspeople of Maple Valley! Fans of her previous series set in the same town will be happy to see some familiar faces.
My favorite part of this novel is how it handles themes of faith and grief — not always what you expect in a romcom. In the middle of humorous situations and the excitement of the mystery, more serious moments are gently woven in.
I switched between reading and listening to the audiobook of this story which was brought to life by the narrator.
Now and Then and Always is a must-read recommendation for fans of contemporary romance and romcoms alike! I personally can’t wait to read the next novel in this series, Some Bright Someday, which recently released!
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. I purchased my audio copy. This is my honest review.