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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My review of Sweetwater Gap

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

Sweetwater Gap
Thomas Nelson (December 16, 2008)


Denise Hunter
A story of new beginnings from best-selling Romance for Good™ author Denise Hunter.
When Josephine's family insists she come home to help with the harvest, the timing works. But her return isn't simple benevolence-she plans to persuade the family to sell the failing orchard.

The new manager's presence is making it difficult. Grady MacKenzie takes an immediate disliking to Josephine and becomes outright cantankerous when she tries talking her family into selling. As she and Grady work side by side in the orchard, she begins to appreciate his devotion and quiet faith. She senses a vulnerability in him that makes her want to delve deeper, but there's no point letting her heart have its way-he's tied to the orchard, and she could never stay there.

A brush with death tears down Josephine's defenses and for the first time in her life, she feels freedom-freedom from the heavy burden of guilt, freedom to live her life the way it was intended, with a heart full of love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Sweetwater Gap, go HERE

My Review: The book starts with Josie receiving a call from her brother in law that she needs to come home and help her sister run the family orchard. Nate is a good man, but he’s tired of Josie being so selfish and not pulling her own weight.

Because Josie loves her sister, she decides to go home and convince Laurel to sell. Josie eludes that some impending doom is coming and Laurel will be better without the responsibilities of running the orchard on her own. Giving us the sense something is wrong with Josie and she might not be able to help run the orchard much longer.

Orchard manager Grady Mackenzie is hiding a little hurt of his own. He doesn’t trust women easily and he sure doesn’t trust Josie once he hears her trying to convince Laurel to sell the orchard. An orchard he now owns a small portion of. Owning an orchard has always been his dream and if Josie and Laurel sell, he’ll lose his dream again.

Grady starts noticing something is wrong with Josie. At first he thinks she just can’t pull her weight, but then realizes she’s ill. After a number of run-ins, the two of them become somewhat friends. When Grady finally gets Josie to confess she’s sick, Josie makes him promise not to tell. Thus, forming a tight bond between the two of them.

I won’t go any farther with the synopsis because I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but let me just say, I am declaring Denise Hunter the queen of romance. She has a way of using such subtlety and still leaving us breathless. Fabulous!

I also love that even though it’s a women of faith book, Hunter didn’t feel the need to beat us over the head with a bunch of "Christianese". You know what I mean. Those long winded sections we all find ourselves skimming over…there were no sections to skim in this book! This was a great, clean, romance novel, with a great message. What more could you ask for?


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

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