Excited about Reading: Sweetwater Gap by Denise Hunter

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The Cover Story ~

A story of love and second chances. She wished she could go back and change things . . . but life doesn’t give do-overs. Could anything but good-byes be waiting on the other side of Sweetwater Gap?

Josie Mitchell’s sister Laurel thinks she’s come home to pitch in with the apple harvest and save the family orchard. Her brother-in-law Nate thinks she’s there to talk the overworked, very pregnant Laurel into finally selling the family business. The orchard’s new manager Grady Mackenzie just thinks she’s trouble with a capital T. They’re all right . . . and all wrong. Because no one really knows what drove Josie from home in the first place. Why she’s never come home before, even for her own father’s funeral. Why she pushes herself so hard . . . and what she’s running from. And nobody, not even Josie, is prepared for the surprising new fruit she’ll find on her last trip home.

Sharing my takeaway ~

A guilt-inducing phone call from her brother-in-law brings Josie Mitchell back home to Sweetwater Gap to help with the apple harvest. Orchard Manager Grady Mackenzie doesn’t appreciate the help, especially when Josie admits she came home to convince her sister to sell the orchard.

Relating to Josie was a challenge. She carried a staggering amount of guilt for years, choosing to bottle it up inside rather than talk about it with her sister or aunt, and wrestled with low self-esteem. She made a conscious decision before the story started that I didn’t understand (no spoilers). Maybe she had too many issues. On the other hand, Grady, aka Marlboro Man, was easy to like. Betrayed by his ex-wife, he’s vulnerable and lonely, and fears that Josie only cozies up to him to convince him to sell his small share of the orchard. Even so, he’s kind and sweet, regardless of how she treats him.

Usually, Hunter’s true-to-life characters and oh-so-delectable romance jerk me right into the story until I lose all track of time. But for me, Josie’s heavy unresolved issues overwhelmed the actual romance in this book. That said, Sweetwater Gap is definitely one of those books that will leave you pondering long after you turn the last page. 

Disclaimer: I purchased Sweetwater Gap. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.

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