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Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter

Happy Friday Everyone :)

I'm so excited it's finally the weekend.

This week has unfortunately not been the greatest week for me, but I'm definitely trying to focus on the positive, instead of on the negative. While not always the easiest thing to do, I'm certainly doing better with this than I have in previous months.

Of course, one of my favorite ways to stay positive during harder times is to curl up with a new read, and in particular, I love reading inspirational fiction during times like this as I definitely find them to be more inspiring than most secular reads. 

When I saw the new Denise Hunter novel was on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to request it, as she's definitely one of my all time favorite authors.

Today, I'd like to take the time to share with all of you what I thought about this upcoming release from one of my all time favorite authors. 





Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter:



Source: Thomas Nelson Via Netgalley

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: November 7th, 2017


Synopsis:

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.


*******synopsis taken from goodreads********



My Review:

Blue Ridge Sunrise is honestly one of the hardest books I've ever personally reviewed. I was highly anticipating it, partly because of how much I've loved the previous books by Denise Hunter I've read, and partly because the synopsis about a second chance romance, and the setting of a peach orchard really appealed to me. However, I didn't find myself enjoying this one quite as much as I was expecting to, and overall, it was a bit of a disappointment in my eyes.

I've always loved when inspirational authors are able to write about characters that aren't perfect. After all, no one is perfect, and why should we expect Christians or Christian characters to be any different. There is however a line between being imperfect, and being too influenced by secular notions in society, and I'm sad to say this one crossed a lot of those lines for me.

Zoe left home several years ago with the town bad boy Kyle, and hasn't had a lot of contact with anyone since. Her father wanted to mold her into someone she wasn't, and the love of her life, Cruz, turned against her in her moment of need. Returning with her daughter and Kyle in tow for her beloved Grandmother's funeral, Zoe expects the trip to be a quick detour from her regular life. However, she's unprepared for her grandmother's will listing her as heir to the family's beloved peach orchard, or for her friends and family to be close witnesses to Kyle's abusive behavior. Left alone with her daughter, an orchard that's struggling to make ends meet, and a broken spirit, it's going to take a lot of faith and hard work for Zoe to pull her life together again, especially when she finds out that her former boyfriend, and the man she never truly got over, is the acting manager of her peach orchard. Zoe's been keeping secrets from Cruz, from her brother Brady, and even from her best friend Hope, and her life is about to take a nosedive that she never could have ever predicted. 

Zoe was unfortunately a character that I never personally connected with. I found a lot of her problems to be of her own making, and it was frustrating watching her make the same bad choices again and again, even when the people that cared about her the most were trying their best to help her get her life back on track. I did for the most part like Cruz's character, although some of his tendencies still got on my nerves, especially how easily he believed that Zoe wanted nothing to do with him, despite her insisting otherwise. However, I could have got past these issues with both main characters, and my issues with their romance. My biggest problem with this novel overall was the lack of the faith element. Neither Zoe or Cruz seemed to be that concerned with their relationship with God for the majority of the book, and there never seemed to be that a-ha moment that made them finally wake up to His grace. While I definitely still read lots of secular books, and find myself enjoying them, it's not what I expect when I pick up an inspirational book, and it was just a tad disappointing to see.

Aside from the overall lack of faith based content, I was also a little put off by the way pre-marital sex is handled in the overall story, and also, the way that Zoe just bounces back from her abusive relationship without ever seeking out help for the many years she lived in such a destructive situation. While I honestly expected to love this one, it fell short of my expectations. I did enjoy the setting, several of the secondary characters like Brady and Hope, and Denise Hunter's "pull you into the story from the start" writing style , but the rest of the book fell short of what I was anticipating, and definitely wasn't the five star read I was expecting.

I gave this one three out of five stars, but I am still planning to continue on with the series, especially if the next book ends up being Hope and Brady's story. I still encourage everyone to give it a chance, I just forewarn you that it's not without it's fair share of problems, and you're going to have to pick through some content that might be a tad different from other inspirational novels.

Thanks so much to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the opportunity to have read this! And thanks to all you guys for taking the time to read my review :)

I'll see you all again on Monday, and I hope you all have a great weekend.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred per cent my own. The picture does not belong to me, and all rights to the respective owners. 


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