Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Wedding in Apple Grove by C. H. Admirand

Small town romances are way up there on my list of things to love.  I enjoy reading about the close-knit bonds of the quirky members of oddly named towns.  And I especially like reading these types of books in the fall.  I don’t know what it is exactly that makes them so enjoyable.  Maybe it is the sense of connection that is sometimes missing in the iPhone driven world we live in or just the idea that a whole group of people would want to meddle in your business.  In any case, a homey little romance, with some meddling from the neighbors, makes me happy.  A Wedding in Apple Grove by C.H. Admirand hit the spot with everything that I like in a small town romance—a likable main character, a cast of eccentrics, and a great romance.

Meg Mulcahy works for the family business.  She is a contractor who works alongside her father and two sisters.  She has a semi-relationship with Jimmy Van Orden, who has left Apple Grove to play professional sports.  When he returns for visits, he picks up right where he left off with Meg.  While he never proposes to her, it is clear that Meg is stuck in a holding pattern waiting for him to do so.  She would never dream of leaving her family and Apple Grove, while Jimmy would never want to live there full-time again.
While at wedding one day, Meg decides to go for a walk.  She ends up walking the top of a fence, where a near fall catches the eye of a passing motorist.  Daniel Eagan, fearing for the safety of the girl, stops his car to help her and they end up sharing a kiss.  He is new in town, but related to one of the town’s most beloved residents, garden center owner Trudi Philo. 
Daniel is nursing a broken heart.  He caught his former fiancée in bed with his best friend.  In order to make a new start, he decides to fix up a home there.  He also becomes the soccer coach at the local high school.  Dan is a good guy, but he is reluctant to think about beginning a relationship after the crash-and-burn ending of his last one.  But there is something that catches his eye about Meg. 
A hot and heavy romance ensues, but each one of them is unsure of their feelings and their ability to maintain a healthy relationship.  There are no big surprises really and no big blow-ups—just a few misunderstandings on the way to happily ever after.  The romance was well-written and quite steamy. 
I enjoyed Apple Grove and its citizens.  The local gossip is alive and well, and we get to meet many of the citizens of this small town.  Meg’s family is front and center as are several local business owners and citizens.  I particularly enjoyed the side plot with the local sheriff who has been secretly in love with Meg’s friend, Honey B., for years.  Because of his dedication to his job and just plain old laziness, he never makes his move and Honey B. and her friends decide to come up with a plan to force his hand.
I only have a few quibbles with the novel.  First, and probably foremost, I really did not believe the whole falling-off-the-fence-kissing scenario that began the relationship with Meg and Daniel.  It was cute—but not believable.  In a couple of other places, I got a little lost in the narrative, but nothing major or anything that detracted from the story. 
There are plenty of side characters (and Meg has two sisters) that could sustain this small town if Admirand decided to write a series.  I know that I would enjoy another trip to Apple Grove, the small town where when you fall in love, you write it on the water tower for all to see.  

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  Regina

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