Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

October 9, 2017

Blue Ridge Sunrise {Denise Hunter}

blue ridge sunrise denise hunter
Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe--a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?

Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.

As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.

My Thoughts:
I must admit I have very conflicting feelings about this book. Parts of my loved it, while parts of me wanted to put it down. But after much thought about this book, I feel I was mostly just not used to Hunter bringing such real characters to life on the pages of her books. This book has pre-marital sex, unwed mothers. divorce, abuse, and so very much heartache.

Zoe has lived her life far from God. When she found herself young and pregnant, she ran off with with a singer and began living the life of a performer on the road - and participating in all that comes with that. She has returned home and inherited her grandmother's peach orchard and begins trying to put her life back together. However, I felt Zoe's change of heart from Kyle to Cruz happened so quickly and gave a false hope of how easy it is to get out of an abusive relationship. These things don't typically happen overnight.

I loved Cruz so much. I feel his heart has always been in the right place when it comes to Zoe and her family. However, he has made mistakes in the way he has tried to express his love and affection for the family. This has brought about so much paid for himself and the ones he loves. I appreciated him taking up for Zoe even though she was pushing him away. And his patience in entering back into her life was endearing.

In the end, I was disappointed with parts of this book. But I still enjoyed the start of this new series from one of my favorite authors. We also were introduced to several characters who I feel have stories coming during this series and I definitely do not want to miss those. So, I would recommend this book for Hunter fans, and those who enjoy a good turned-life-around story. However, if you are easily offended by mention of situations not always found in Christian fiction, I recommend you give this one a pass.

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