By JoAnn Ross
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Reviewed by Janga
It has been two years since Seth Harper received the devastating news that his wife Zoe, a surgical nurse serving in Afghanistan, had been killed when her hospital was bombed. Seth is still mired in his grief. He and Zoe had been sweethearts since middle school, and they were planning to start their family when Zoe returned. Seth had already prepared the nursery, eager to begin the next stage of their lives. Since Zoe’s death, he has continued to work at his profession as a restorer of historic houses, but emotionally his life ended when he learned of Zoe’s death.
Brianna Mannion has been in love with Seth Harper as long as she can remember, but he saw her as her brothers’ little sister. Her hope that he would see her as something more ended early when Zoe Robinson moved to Honeymoon Harbor, Washington, and Seth fell for her immediately. Brianna wanted to hate Zoe, but the newcomer was too nice to hate. The two ended up best friends, and Brianna was maid-of-honor when Zoe married Seth. The friendship endured even as Brianna left town to pursue her career as a rising star in the hospitality industry and Zoe left the country. But after Zoe was killed, Brianna and Seth drifted apart.
When Brianna resigns from her position at a high-end Las Vegas hotel just as the haunted Victorian that had been her dream house growing up in Honeymoon Harbor is offered for sale, going home and turning Herons Landing, her old dream house, into a bed-and-breakfast seems like the perfect plan. Of course, Seth’s expertise in restoring historic homes and the fact that he had worked on renovating Herons Landing for the previous owners makes Harper Construction the logical company for Brianna to hire. As the two work together, their friendship is renewed, and gradually stronger feelings awaken. Seth begins to think about the future, but can he resolve his guilt at moving on and claim his second chance at love with Brianna?
Ross introduced her new Honeymoon Harbor series in April with a prequel novella, Home to Honeymoon Harbor, but Herons Landing is the first novel and true beginning of the series. Seth is an immediately sympathetic character, a man who lost a big part of his past and his future with Zoe’s death. Brianna is equally likable, and her intuitive understanding of Seth persuades readers early on that she is just what he needs. A secondary plot involving Seth’s estranged parents adds interest to the story, and Ross’s descriptions of her fictional seaport town in the Pacific Northwest will have readers longing to visit. Some readers may find that the book suffers from first-book-in-a-series-itis with a heavy load of information about the town’s history and the introduction of too many characters to count, but readers addicted to small-town series may see this as necessary world-building.
This book promises that the new series will offer the same kind of heartwarming appeal that made Ross’s Shelter Bay series beloved by fans of small-town romance. If you are one of those fans or if second-chance or friends-to-lovers are among your favorite tropes in contemporary romance, you should add Herons Landing to your TBR list. Book two in the series, Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane, releases on October 30. I’m signing up for a return visit. And that title and the release date suggest a Christmas book, which makes it even better.
One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on this post will receive a copy of Herons Landing. (US / Canada only)