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. . .
I enjoyed this sweet, clean romance. Tessa's intention had been to clean up the mess in Apple Valley and move her nephew to her house, but her nephew is autistic, and as anyone with autistic kids knows, change is even harder for them than for normal kids. Tessa realizes this and decides to stay for his sake.
A large part of the book was Tessa learning that small town life, like any other life, has good things to balance the bad. Yes, the neighbors knew everything about you, but they also cared about you and were ready to lend a hand. The house/store itself was a metaphor for the lives of Tessa and her sister--yes, there was a lot of junk there, but some real unrecognized treasures too.
Cade was the kind of guy every girl thinks she wants to marry; good looking, kind, responsible, caring, connected to home and family.
While this is a romance set during the Christmas season it is not the overly sweet short romance often seen on the shelves during this time of year.
I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley. Grade: B.