Have you read THE HOUSE ON MAIN STREET by Shirlee McCoy?

The House on Main Street
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Just a heads up that this review isn’t for an inspy romance, even though it was written by Shirlee McCoy, one of my favorite Love Inspired Suspense authors. The House on Main Street is her first contemporary romance with Kensington Books.

About the book~
In Apple Valley, Washington, friends are always near, neighbors have no secrets—even if they’d like to—and long-held wishes have a way of coming true…
Interior designer Tessa McKenzie has built a good life far from her Washington hometown. She intends to get back to it—as soon as she sells the cluttered Victorian house and antiques shop she inherited from her sister, Emily. But leaving Apple Valley a second time won’t be so easy. There’s her grieving nephew, Alex, to consider. And there’s Sheriff Cade Cunningham, the adolescent crush who could easily break her heart again if she let him.
To Cade, Tessa was simply his high school sweetheart’s kid sister. But now there’s no denying she’s a beautiful and caring grown woman, one he’d like to get to know. Except that Tessa is determined to leave again. If Cade wants to change her mind, he’ll have to show her that small-town life has its lovable side—and that he does too. Most of all, he’ll have to convince Tess they’re good together, and that every step has led her right where she was always meant to be…

Sharing my thoughts~
Tessa’s secret crush on Cade led her to bolt for the East Coast when Cade announced he was marrying her sister. Although that marriage never materialized, Tessa stuck it out in Annapolis and created a new life while Cade stayed in Apple Valley and became the sheriff he’d always said he was going to be. Back in town only to clear out the house after her sister’s death, Tessa’s now the guardian of her special needs nephew and a crazy aunt. I liked the quirkiness of all the characters, especially Aunt Gertrude. 

“Perched on a rickety stool a couple of feet away, a cigarette dangling from between her fingers and a Santa hat on her head, she looked like an ancient Christmas elf with an attitude.”

McCoy does a fantastic job creating the setting and small town drama of Apple Valley. I felt as if I trudged beside Tessa and Cade down a snow kissed Main Street. I could hear the hush fall over the tiny chapel as Alex poured out his heart on the piano, and then the sniffles of all the blue-headed ladies. I could even imagine the junky yard that separated Tess from her neighbor’s. Apple Valley seems to grow on Tessa, too.

“People sniffed and sobbed, and Tess was pretty sure someone snapped a photo. No doubt they’d be on the front page of the morning newspaper, but she didn’t mind. In Apple Valley people cared about the little things, the quiet things, the things that were easy to miss if one didn’t look carefully enough.”

Initially, Tessa was angry that her sister had left her another mess to clean up. Tessa worked through the whole range of emotions, from anger to grief, and finally to acceptance of her new family unit. I appreciate how this story prompted me to delve deeper into relationships, specifically within my own family. And why does it take someone dying to make us realize how special they are? To yearn for one more day?

I’m a long-time fan of Shirlee McCoy’s Love Inspired Suspense books, so when I found out she was writing a series for Kensington Books, I was curious about how her writing style would vary. 

I would have enjoyed this book more without the colorful language. I appreciated that it didn’t contain any graphic bedroom scenes and that the “heat” level didn’t require a loss of clothes. Actually, the higher intensity made the characters and the story seem much more realistic to me. 🙂

Overall, if you’re looking for an emotional journey with a satisfying ending, McCoy delivers big time!

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of The House on Main Street. The opinions expressed here are my own, and I received no compensation.

What heat level do you prefer in your romance reads?
Do you drop a book because of the foul language?

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