Falling in Love on Willow Creek
by Debbie Mason
Highland Falls - Book 3
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
Single mom-to-be Sadie Gray will do anything to find her younger brother before the law catches up with him. Even if it means returning home to the small town of Highland Falls with a baby due any moment. But when that moment comes sooner than expected, and Sadie finds herself stranded on the top of a mountain—in labor--she couldn’t be more grateful for the park ranger who finds her and helps deliver her daughter safely. Soon they’ve formed a tight friendship, and while he may be hinting at more, Sadie isn’t planning to stick around after she finds her brother.
FBI agent Chase Roberts wasn’t looking for love when he agreed to go undercover as a park ranger to find an on-the-run informant. But he can’t help being drawn to beautiful, warm-hearted Sadie and her sweet baby daughter. He’s always longed to put down roots and start a family. But how can he hope to keep Sadie’s trust when she finds out that his job is to arrest the brother she’s been looking for?
When I finished reading Debbie Mason's Christmas, Colorado series, I didn't know how she was going to top it. But then she introduced readers to Harmony Harbor and I was completely immersed into the town, the families, and the ghostly thread that ran through the series. I was so sad to say goodbye to those characters and, once again, was certain her next series would be good but would be unable to replace the Gallagher and DiRossi families in my affections. And then along came Highland Falls and my heart expanded to welcome more feel-good stories and the heart-stealing characters who bring them to life.
After reading an advance copy of this book a couple months ago, I had planned to skim it once again over the weekend before writing a review. I hadn't even reached the end of the first chapter before these characters pulled me right back into their story and I ended up re-reading the entire book for a second time. Every single word. Mason's balance of romance, suspense, hilarious comedy, and heartfelt emotion kept me eagerly turning pages from beginning to end. Her descriptions of Highland Falls brought the small mountain to life and have pretty much convinced me that if I hop into my car and drive a couple hours west I'll be right there with my favorite Highland Falls residents in all their nosy, supportive, sometimes quirky, and frequently hilarious small-town glory. I've fallen for them all, enjoy catching up with them in each book, and eagerly welcome all new arrivals to town.
Sadie and Chase a/k/a Michael have secured their place as one of my favorite Mason couples. I fell hard for Michael in the first chapter, almost as hard as he fell for Sadie and her newborn daughter. My heart melted over his special bond with the baby and his determination to keep both Sadie and her daughter safe, even if he had to bend a few of his sacred rules to do so. My heart ached for Sadie as she struggled to find her footing as a single mom with a colicky baby while dealing with her scumbag ex, trying to keep her grandmother out of bankruptcy, trying to track down her on-the-run younger brother, staying one step ahead of the bad guys, and falling for the man who is lying to her about who he really is. That's a lot to handle, but handle it she does. I really enjoyed the evolution of her character, the inner strength she discovered, the support she found through her female friendships, and, how she handled her relationship with Michael after his true purpose for being in Highland Falls was revealed.
As with the first two books in the series, the supporting cast is vast, vividly depicted, and integral to the lead couple's story. I absolutely adored Finn, the kleptomaniac pooch who forms an immediate bond with Sadie's daughter and I can't wait to find out what Mason has in store for potential new couples in future books. Falling in Love on Willow Creek can be read as a standalone but because key characters and past events from the first two books are prominently featured in book three I suggest reading the books in order beginning with Summer on Honeysuckle Ridge, followed by Christmas on Reindeer Road, and then Falling in Love on Willow Creek.
But the story doesn't end there! There's a bonus novella, A Wedding On Honeysuckle Ridge, included at the end of Falling in Love on Willow Creek that is an absolute delight. There are reluctant brides, over-zealous groomzillas, matchmaking grandmothers, trouble-making grandfathers, adorable babies, a six-year-old romance advisor, and last, but definitely not least, a sweetly sentimental but hilariously inept marriage proposal that still has me laughing.
I enthusiastically recommend adding Falling in Love on Willow Creek to your summer reading list.
Debbie Mason is one of the authors I turn to when I'm looking for a good comfort read that tickles my funny bone and touches my heart. What author fills that need for you?
Six-year-old Teddy Buchanan is one of my all-time favorite children in fiction. I adore that kid! Do you have a favorite fictional child?
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