About the Book:
As the only child of a wealthy investment manager, Ellie Chapman has never known anything besides a life of perfect privilege. But her years of good fortune come to an abrupt end when her father is exposed for swindling billions of dollars from innocent investors in a massive Ponzi scheme. And just like that, Ellie loses everything: money, job, home—even her fiancé, who’s jailed as her father’s partner in crime. With no job prospects on the horizon, no cash, and her family name in tatters, Ellie has only one place to go.
Sleepy St. Dennis, Maryland, is hardly where Ellie intends to stay, however. Keeping her identity a secret, she plans to sell the house her late mother left her in the small town and use the proceeds to move on with her life. Unfortunately, her ticket to a new beginning is in dire need of a laundry list of pricey improvements, many of which she’ll have to do herself. And until the house on Bay View Road is fit to be sold, the sole place Ellie will be traveling is the hardware store. But as the many charms of St. Dennis—not to mention Cameron O’Connor, the handsome local contractor who has secrets of his own—begin to work their magic, what begins as a lesson in do-it-yourself renovations might just end up as Ellie’s very own rejuvenation.
I enjoyed this story of love and healing, even if it was a bit on the unrealistic side. Ellie comes to St. Dennis because she has no where else to go (though she is smart, well-educated and has a close friend who has a lot of connections). When she gets there she meets Cameron who has been putting a lot of effort into keeping up a house that isn't his. I liked the fact that the two of them took some time to get to know each other; I didn't like the fact that they ended up in bed before marriage, or even before they were really serious. I liked the fact that they realized that overnight visits were not a good idea with a teenager in the house. While readers were told they were intimate, the act was not described in detail.
The book is part of a series though I did not realize it until I went to Amazon to get the photo and blurb for this review. The characters from the other books make brief appearances but I didn't feel overwhelmed by useless characters. However, Ellie's friend (who is single) discovers that Ellie's ancestor was a renowned painter who had many paintings in the house Ellie inherited. I'll bet we'll see her in a future book and I'm curious about what will happen to the paintings. Her gallery-owning friend is eager to show and sell them. Ellie was eager for the money they'd bring, but now that she's decided to stay in St. Dennis, and has learned about her family, will she still want to sell? How will those paintings affect her relationship with her best friend? I feel left hanging about those questions, and I'm sure that was the author's intent.
Another thing I didn't like was that one of the characters mentions speaking to one of Ellie's ancestors via a Ouija board. Another character saw this ancestor (or a ghost of her) in the house. I don't think those elements advanced the story and to me they were just creepy.
I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via Edelweiss Galleys. Grade: B.