Publication Date: 12/03/2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
C.H. Admirand on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Books in the series:
A Wedding in Apple Grove (2012), One Day in Apple Grove (2013), Welcome Back to Apple Grove (2013)
Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from Welcome Back to Apple Grove, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
There's No Place Like Home...
Grace Mulcahy thought she'd finally gotten Apple Grove, Ohio, out of her system. Then she's lured back for a family barbecue and spies a broad-shouldered hottie hanging out at the grill. He somehow seems utterly at ease, whether flipping burgers or horsing around with her hellion nephews. Why didn't her brother-in-law tell her he had such gorgeous friends? Suddenly her mouth is watering for more than her best friend's famous pie.
Some fires aren't meant to be fought
When firefighter Pat Garahan sees Grace, it's like a five-alarm bell goes off and he's the one ablaze. She says she wants to leave Apple Grove, but he will do whatever it takes to keep her around. The life of a firefighter isn't an easy one though, and he'll have to prove their immediate spark can have a lasting chance at love..
C.H. Admirand returns her readers to the small town of Apple Grove, where nothing happens that the Mulcahy family isn't a part of. Welcome Back to Apple Grove is the story of youngest Mulcahy daughter, Grace, who flew the coop for greener pastures only to find the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Fans of the series will love Grace's happy-ever-after and new readers will find a novel filled with love and the joy of finding your place in the world. With some weighty issues like body image and PTSD mixed in, this is a feel good romance, with depth and maturity. A great addition to the series!
What I liked:
Oh where to start on what I liked about this book, pretty much everything! Admirand creates a lovely small town setting for Apple Grove. It's the kind of town everyone wishes they lived in. Where the whole community it active in helping one another. You actually know your neighbors and you like them. And where there a few busy bodies to keep everyone in line. It's a great setting for a good romance and it shines in Welcome Back to Apple Grove.
This is a character driven novel that readers will find a lot of enjoyment in, but also understanding and compassion as well. Grace is a young woman, who thought she knew what she wanted out of life, and Apple Grove and the family business wasn't it. But she finds herself alone and a little lost at this point in her life and going home always makes that better. She has some body image issues which I think a lot of woman relate to and I think readers will sympathize with her and want to see her overcome them. I thought Admirand excelled at developing Grace's character from start to finish. She was real joy to read about.
Patrick Garahan is an Irishman and a firefighter. Now there's an intriguing combination. He is attractive, good with kids, fun to be around, but he has his own demons to slay. I liked the fact that Admirand shows PTSD from a different perspective than readers are used to seeing in this one. Soldiers deal with it on a much larger scale, but other public service workers do as well. Firefighters and police officers to name a few. I think it was dealt with in a realistic and informative manner in this book and that added an element of depth that was unmistakable.
When these two get together it's more than just a spark. It's a slow burn that eventually becomes much stronger than what they both expected. Admirand treats the attraction between Grace and Pat very intelligently. She doesn't make it all roses for them and their struggles only strengthen their bond. But she adds in just the right amount of tender moments vs. hot and bothered moments. It's a good mix and this is such a great couple.
What I didn't Like:
Not much! There were so many things that worked really well with this novel, that it overshadowed anything that didn't. My only qualm was a that Pat was slow in sharing his story with everyone including Grace. But I think probably holds true to the real way a person with PTSD interacts with others. It's a hard thing to deal with and I thought it was respectfully addressed in this book. Nothing was strikingly out of place or seemed off.
I would definitely recommend this one. It can be read as a stand alone or as part of the Apple Grove series. It has a very down home setting with great secondary characters. The main couple is real and believable. Their romance is exactly what love should look like. It's not easy or without it's perils, but when it works... it really works. And this book... works!
Welcome Back to Apple Grove is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
C.H. Admirand was born in South Carolina, but grew up in New Jersey. She uses family names in her books, and her husband as the inspiration for her heroes. Welcome to Apple Grove is her second series for Sourcebooks. She lives with her husband, sons, and a black lab mix they rescued.
Manga Maniac Cafe is featuring Welcome Back to Apple Grove with a character interview with Pat Garanhan and a giveaway. It ends 12/19. Be sure to enter before the deadline.