Animal communicator Babette de Jongh brings you a bright and hopeful romance filled with:
People and animals who get a second chance
A community that makes everyone feel at home
Friends-to-lovers romance that proves everyone deserves a forever home
Struggling widow Heather Gabriel takes a job at Magnolia Bay's Animal Shelter to provide for her family. She isn't ready to be anything more than colleagues with Adrian Crawford, the shelter's new business consultant. But the shelter's animal communication expert Reva Curtis knows there's more attraction between Heather and Adrian than they let on, and she's determined to bring them together. With the help of Heather's three children and all the animals at Bayside Barn, Heather and Adrian soon realize they can have a future together...if they can let go of the past.
Magnolia Bay Memories takes readers back to this small Louisiana town with another charming story I didn't want to put down. As with the first book in this series, the author brings together humans and animals in a journey that tugged at my heart. I was rooting for all the characters, two-legged and four-legged, with equal measure.
I love the theme of second chances in this book. Heather is a young widow with three children who lost her beloved husband suddenly and tragically. Her children are her priority; romance is not on her horizon. Adrian enjoys his single life in New Orleans but still carries the emotional scars of Hurricane Katrina. Neither a relationship nor a ready-made family are in his plans. But a feral cat, a grieving horse, a shy little girl, and her rambunctious brother - not to mention that pesky desire that keeps sparking between him and Heather - keep bringing these two together. The question is what will they do about it?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has an abundance of charm, well-placed humor, tender emotion, and chemistry that evolves into sizzle. It also has depth. I appreciated that the author took the time to explore grief, not only Heather's, and her children's, but the lingering, more subtle grief that has guided Adrian's life choices as well. It made both characters relatable and their situations realistic. I like that she took her time with them, delving beneath the surface, and sharing both the ups and downs of their individual situations as well as the evolution of their journey from colleagues, to friends, to more. I also very much enjoyed the individual relationships that evolved between Adrian and the children. Those were some of my favorite scenes.
Then there are the animals. While Heather and Adrian took me on an emotional journey, the road Winky (the cat) and Charlie (the horse) traveled was no less impactful. De Jongh brings the animals in this series to life, allowing the reader into their thoughts, their hearts. If you're an animal lover (like I am), these two will make you laugh, shed a tear, and probably claim a corner of your heart.
This book can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone but readers should be aware that storylines and characters from book one, Warm Nights in Magnolia Bay, continue in this second book. If you want to know more about book one, click here to read my review.
Content Warning: Grief, Tornado, Trauma (emotional/physical - on page but everyone heals)
Do you enjoy animals in the romances you read?
Have you ever read a book where the author shared the animal's thoughts on the page?
One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, December 14 will receive a print copy of Magnolia Bay Memories.