Book Recommendation – Joined at the Hip by Liwen Y. Ho

Book Description:

After all is wed and done, can a fake marriage turn into true love? 

September

With the prized assistant editor position up for grabs, I’m ready to do whatever it takes to get a promotion. That includes writing the best article ever—a how-to piece on renewing wedding vows on a budget. My only problem? I’m missing the husband my boss wants me to bring along for research. 

Tristan

I swore off all romantic relationships years ago, a fact that should have stopped me from volunteering to help September. There’s no rhyme or reason why I should care about her success—especially when we’re hardly friends—except that I can’t seem to get her off my mind. 

September

I’m shocked but relieved when my annoyingly handsome coworker offers to be my fake husband. Tristan’s attitude is as pleasant as the stomach flu, but at least I don’t have to guess where he stands, unlike my long distance boyfriend’s commitment level. This ruse might not be so hard to pull off, assuming we don’t drive each other crazy first.

Tristan

Pretending to be married for a week should be a piece of cake, but nothing about this arrangement is as sweet or as simple, especially when it involves feeding each other cake. Between my fake wife’s annoyingly cheery personality and the intimate demands of this assignment, I’ve got a bad case of cold feet. But when the sparks between us become a little too real, it’s time for me to decide: do I bail or let her in? For better or worse, my heart may never be the same again.

The Fab Forties series was written by an over-40 author with readers of all ages in mind. This rom-com is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone and help you escape reality. So, sit back, relax, and be prepared to laugh!

*This story first appeared in Save the Date, a wedding anthology that hit the USA Today bestsellers list in October 2021. It has since been expanded with four brand new chapters for your reading pleasure.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Joined at the Hip, Book 3 in Liwen Y. Ho’s The Fab Forties Series set in San Jose, California. September needs to research a magazine article for work on how to renew wedding vows on a budget. She has never married, and hasn’t seen her long distance boyfriend in months. September has worked at the magazine with Tristan for years, and he has effectively ignored her friendly hellos and goodbyes.

Tristan is a writer who doesn’t particularly like September’s cheery disposition. He volunteers to be September’s fake husband and help her research her article by visiting wedding-related businesses with her. The fake relationship aspect of the story is hilarious, and September and Tristan start to relax and realise they don’t hate each other.

I loved the banter and competition between September and Tristan’s mothers who regularly play Mah Jong together. The Asian mothers are arch enemies who have no idea their offspring work together and are in a fake relationship with growing secret romantic feelings. I recommend Joined at the Hip to contemporary romance readers who like opposites attract and enemies to love rom coms with a relevant faith element in the story.

Book Recommendation – Skye by Heather Gray

Book Description:

Rainbow Falls…where life is lived in full color.

Skye Blue is tired. She’s worn out from days spent doing what’s expected of her while her heart longs for something else. It doesn’t help that the past has colored her every decision with guilt and fear. When Skye reaches her limit, she packs a bag and runs away from it all…and headlong into Sam.

Sam Madison is a battle-hardened former Marine who can face an enemy combatant without blinking. He is also a man dedicated to serving God by working with those military vets that society often rejects. Samaritan’s Reach, a place that houses and retrains homeless veterans, is the start of Sam’s dream — but an overreaching City Council threatens everything.

How can love develop between a woman who hides from her problems and a man who has never considered backing down?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Skye, the first book in Heather Gray’s Rainbow Falls series. Skye Blue is the CEO of a manufacturing company she inherited from her grandparents in Boise, Idaho. She has completed a MBA, but running the company isn’t her life dream. Skye spent ten years living in Rainbow Falls, Montana, with her late mother before moving away for college, and she decides to return for a short vacation.

On her flight to Rainbow Falls, Skye is seated beside a man, Sam, who she finds scary. Sam is a military veteran who runs a homeless shelter in Rainbow Falls for men who are veterans and need a helping hand in getting back on their feet. Sam is intrigued by Skye, and being a counsellor he recognises that Skye has a story.

Sam invites Skye to visit Samaritan’s Reach and tour the old run down motel they’ve converted into a homeless shelter. He appreciates Skye’s input regarding some of the challenges they’re facing to avoid being closed down by the unsupportive Rainbow Falls City Council.

Skye reconnects with the Rainbow Girls who she was friends with during her school years. The Rainbow Girls and their siblings are named after colors due to something that happened in Rainbow Falls before they were born. Skye ends up staying in town longer than expected, and volunteering at Samaritan’s Reach with Sam.

A fun and fascinating romance develops as Sam and Skye work together and connect on a deeper level. Sam’s faith is strong, and Skye has avoided thinking about God and faith for a long time. Skye’s complex family background means she’s slow to trust, and I loved seeing her having the courage to overcome some of her fears during the story. I recommend Skye to contemporary romance readers who like friends-to-more small town romances with quirky characters and a satisfying story with redemption themes.

Book Recommendation – Miramar Bay by Davis Bunn

Book Description:

When Connor Larkin boards a late-night bus in downtown L.A., he’s not sure where he’s going or what he’s looking for. Putting his acting career—and his fiancée—on hold, he’s searching for a part of himself he lost on the road to success. Now, with his wedding day approaching, Connor finds himself stepping into the sleepy seaside town of Miramar Bay—where one remarkable woman inspires him to rethink all of his choices . . .

Unlike the pretentious starlets back in Hollywood, Sylvie Cassick has had to work hard for everything she has. When Connor hears familiar music drifting out of her restaurant, he can’t escape a feeling of finally coming home. Sylvie isn’t sure what to think when this impossibly handsome stranger applies for a waiter’s job. Yet once he serenades her customers—and slowly works his way into her heart—she realizes there’s more to him than he’s letting on. But as the world outside Miramar begins to threaten their fragile bond, Connor will have to risk losing everything to gain the life he longs for—and become the man Sylvie deserves.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Miramar Bay, the first book in Davis Bunn’s Miramar Bay clean contemporary fiction series. Connor is an actor who runs away on a Greyhound bus from his sham reality tv wedding in Los Angeles, and lands in Miramar Bay in the middle of the night. The local police chief cuts Connor a break by arranging accommodation at a nice motel that allows Connor to pay cash and conceal his identity. Connor’s family owned a restaurant when he was growing up, and he applies for a waiter position at Sylvie’s upmarket restaurant with lovely ocean views in the picturesque town on the Central Coast in California.

Sylvie is the resourceful part-owner of a busy restaurant she built from the ground up. She works hard, and her staff are close knit group who treat each other like family. Sylvie is shocked when illegal substances are discovered inside raw fish in her restaurant kitchen, and the out-of-town detective investigating the case behaves in a way that suggests he thinks Sylvie is a suspect.

Connor and Sylvie are drawn to each other, and their sweet romance is the romantic subplot that simmers along. The main focus of the story is Connor and Sylvie’s individual character journeys, and their search for home and belonging. I recommend Miramar Bay to contemporary fiction readers who like clean small town stories with a mystery element and a romantic subplot.

Christian Fiction New Releases: May 2022

A Wide and Pleasant Place (Farm Fresh Market Romance 1) by Valerie Comer

He knows he’s stuck in this small town. She hopes it’s a stopover on her way to New York.

If Treyan Ackerman wants to keep seeing his daughter on weekends, he needs to stay put, keep his nose clean, and not make waves. Thankfully, he has a decent, if somewhat tedious, job in his small town’s municipal office. If the mayor would let him tackle some of the graphics for the farmers market, it would help. But, no. Instead, she hires a vivacious city girl who turns Trey’s head. Unfortunately.

Brittany Santoro needs to redeem her reputation, rebuild her portfolio, and relocate, preferably to New York, where they’ll appreciate her graphics design genius. But if she doesn’t want the whole world to know about her indiscretions, she needs to spend six months in podunk Galena Landing, furnishing artwork and ads for the town’s farmers market and other tourism marketing. Too bad the brooding, hunky man in her office seems immune to her charms.

But when Brittany connects with Trey’s hurting daughter and sees the tender side of him, all bets are off. How can these two wounded souls be nudged into the realization that everything they want and need is right here in this wide and pleasant place?

A WIDE AND PLEASANT PLACE is the first story in the Farm Fresh Market Romance series, an off-shoot of the original Farm Fresh Romances and set in Galena Landing, Idaho. If you love Christian contemporary romance series that focus on engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith — clean, wholesome, sweet, and inspirational romances — you’ve come to the right place!

Big Apple Atonement (Original Six Hockey Romance 5) by Carolyn Miller

She’s the saint with a secret. He’s the sinner with a heart of gold.

For Emma Moritello, giving abandoned and rejected children a safe home is her life’s purpose, but pressures at work means her dream may be coming to a close. And just when she thought life couldn’t get more challenging, along comes hockey’s bad boy, keen to make amends. God might want her to love her enemies, but it doesn’t mean she has to like them. Especially this hockey enforcer, who has the nerve to try to stir her heart.

TJ Woletsky has never tried to hide his sins—his exploits are tabloid fodder, and hockey teams love to hate him. Including his own. When a trade takes him to New York he’s confronted with the repercussions of his past, and time spent with the unfortunate helps ignite his desire to turn his life around. Until an incident in a nightclub makes everyone question whether this sinner can ever really change.

From Shore to Shore (Independence Islands 23) by Tabitha Bouldin

Can one captain show her the deep love of the ultimate Captain without falling in love himself?

Bree Jamison comes to Sparrow Island for one reason: to study coral reefs. She’s not interested in happily-ever-after and certainly won’t allow her handsome boat captain to sway her into believing these islands are different from any others. But when she finds an old shipwreck and learns the history of pirates and treasure, Bree finds herself searching for something that always feels just out of reach.

Cooper Carmichael takes the job as boat captain for the enigmatic Bree to further his career. He never expected her to be so driven—or so painfully opposed to God.

All Cooper wants is his happy island life. He wants for nothing. In fact, he’s made it his mission to be content. In every aspect of his life. Bree throws a wrench in his plan as her presence pushes Cooper to want for things he deems unnecessary.

A man striving for contentment. A woman who believes God is picking on her.

It takes one to show the other that no matter which shore you find yourself on, God got there first.

Read the next Sparrow Island novel in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

Pray for Me (Vacation Sweethearts 5) by Jan Thompson

When his ex-his fiancée marries someone else, CEO-turned-landscaper Gus takes a vacation away from his Nassau home, visits his cousin in the USA, and falls in love with a pastor’s daughter. Is it just romance on the rebound? Or is there something serious going on in this friends-to-more travel romance?

Midnight’s Budding Morrow by Carolyn Miller

Can real love grow between a wallflower and an unrepentant rogue?

Sarah Drayton is eager to spend time with her best friend at her crumbling Northumberland castle estate. Matrimony is the last thing on her mind and the last thing she expects to be faced with on a holiday. Yet she finds herself being inveigled into a marriage of convenience with her friend’s rakish brother.

When James Langley returns to his family’s estate, he can’t be bothered to pay attention to his responsibilities as the heir. War is raging and he wants only distraction, not serious tethers. But his roguish ways have backed him into a corner, and he has little choice but to obey his father’s stunning decree: marry before returning to war, or else. Suddenly he finds himself wedded to a clever and capable woman he does not love.

Sarah craves love and a place to belong, neither of which James offered before returning to the battlefront. Now everyone around her thinks she married above her station, and they have no intention of rewarding her for such impertinence. It isn’t until her husband returns from war seemingly changed that she begins to hope they may find real happiness. But can she trust that this rake has truly reformed?

When tragedy strikes, this pair must learn to trust God and his plans. Will they be destroyed . . . or will they discover that even in the darkest depths of night, the morning still holds hope?

Turn to Me by Becky Wade

His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.

Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.

Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.

As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?

What Remains True by Nancy Naigle

Working at a little shop on Main Street in a small town is exactly the break that executive Merry Anna Foster needs following her divorce. She’s made a bet with her ex-husband that she can live on the amount of money she’s giving him in alimony. If she can do it, then Kevin will have to stop complaining and leave her alone. But after three months of this new life, will she even want to leave Antler Creek? 

Adam Locklear, bull rider and owner of the local feedstore, is having the best year of his rodeo career. He’s also a bit distracted by the pretty new neighbor living in his old bunkhouse. But Adam has no time for matters of the heart. He’s got his future all mapped out, and that future doesn’t involve a woman just yet. It doesn’t involve parenting a little girl either. However, Carly Fowler still suddenly leaves five-year-old Zan—the daughter Adam didn’t know he had—in his care. 

Is it possible that the future holds a life even better than what Merry Anna and Adam had each dreamed of? One that includes both tenderness and even love—not just for each other but for Zan too.

The Investor’s Wife by Rose Fresquez

They need a Christmas miracle to save their marriage. What they get is a perfect storm.

Confident investment broker Bryce Solace has few regrets in life, but never fighting for his marriage is one of them. Although he still loves his wife, it’s too late for a second chance—until a friend invites him on a guys’ trip to a mountain cabin for some sledding and snowboarding.

Single Mom, Liberty Solace is swamped by the demands of running a business and parenting. She never wanted to end things with Bryce or keep his baby a secret from him—just from his toxic mother. When a friend convinces her to take a week away without the baby, Liberty isn’t sure what to expect. Definitely not her ex waiting at the cabin in the mountains!

With a fallen tree blocking the road, these two former spouses are stuck together with only their regrets and secrets to keep them company. Will old flames be rekindled, or will their friends’ matchmaking plan only reopen old wounds?

This is the fifth standalone book in the caregiver series. Each book can be read in any order.

Finding Love in San Antonio by Miralee Ferrell and Kimberly Rose Johnson

For TV chef Adela Romero, the lights of LA have lost their luster. The grief of her husband’s death three years ago still hangs heavy over her and her daughter, Fabi.

When Adela returns to San Antonio for a summer break with her daughter, she learns her mother-in-law’s Mexican diner is struggling. Adela wants to help, but her career is tugging her in another direction.

Local food critic David Agraponte has a history with Adela. A history he’d like to rekindle. When he interviews Adela, sparks fly—both good and bad. In Adela’s struggle to put her past behind her, she’s tentative about a new relationship, but David hopes she’ll stay at Romero’s long enough to give him a chance.

Sandra always dreamed of managing Romero’s one day, but her chances of proving herself to her aunt are slim with her famous TV-chef cousin taking all the attention. Can’t her aunt see that Adela’s just passing through on her way to her next big gig? Still, as much as she resents it, Sandra may need Adela’s help if there is going to be a Romero’s left for her to manage.

When Adela gets a TV offer that’s sure to shoot her career to the stars, her choice may hold more than just her future in the balance. Can David and Adela find a way to save Romero’s and hold onto their own dreams, or will Adela’s opportunity push them apart?

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Dawn Dixon can hardly believe she’s on a groomless honeymoon on beautiful Cape Cod . . . with her mother. Sure, Marnie Dixon is good company, but Dawn was supposed to be here with Kevin, the love of her life (or so she thought).

Marnie Dixon needs some time away from the absolute realness of life as much as her jilted daughter does, and she’s not about to let her only child suffer alone–even if Marnie herself had been doing precisely that for the past month.

Given the circumstances, maybe it was inevitable that Marnie would do something as rash as buy a run-down ice-cream shop in the town’s tightly regulated historic district. After all, everything’s better with ice cream.

Her exasperated daughter knows that she’s the one who will have to clean up this mess. Even when her mother’s impulsive real estate purchase brings Kevin back into her life, Dawn doesn’t get her hopes up. Everyone knows that broken romances stay broken . . . don’t they?

Welcome to a summer of sweet surprises on Cape Cod–a place where dreams just might come true.

One Fine Day by Rachel Hauck and Carrie Padgett

All she wants is a fresh start…

Chloe Beason LaRue left Hearts Bend after high school, determined to never look back. She shed her unrequited crush on Sam Hardy, moved to Paris, went to pastry school, found a good job, fell in love, and got married. She was happy in France. Then her husband tragically died. Now, Chloe just wants to move forward…but when her mom’s health is in jeopardy, Chloe heads right back to Hearts Bend where she’s hired as head baker for Haven’s, the premier bakery in town. She has no idea that moving home will push her right into the arms of the man who broke her heart.

He’s not looking to fall in love…

Nashville Titans quarterback Sam Hardy has too many broken memories in Hearts Bend to Return. But when he’s sidelined by an injury, he desperately needs to invest in something to safeguard his future. Haven’s Bakery is up for sale—and his business partner believes the deal is too good to pass up. He has no idea that the owners have hired the one girl he can’t seem to forget…and the last thing he expects is to be her boss.

But it’s a recipe for romance…

Back in Hearts Bend for the first time in ten years and thrown together at Haven’s Bakery, Chloe and Sam have a second chance at first love. Indeed, the more time Sam spends selling pastries, the more he sees a new future. But when Paris beckons Chloe back, where does her heart belong? Can they find the recipe for leaving regrets behind and start something new?

Escape to Hearts Bend for a sweet story of romance, faith, and an unexpected happy ending.

Anchored Hearts by Julie Arduini

Can two go-getters surrender their need to control and find a happily-ever-after?

Jordyn Bell Hart succeeds in everything she does. Her promotion to morning show co-anchor blossoms her career in the same way her mother’s work had. Jordyn keeps tabs on her family and enjoys helping them grow. When life around her starts to change, can she surrender her desire to control?

Spencer Collins knows how to balance a busy life. He has his work as a reporter, his time caregiving for his grieving father, and looking out for his little brother. When he learns he’s the new co-anchor of a morning show with Jordyn Hart, can he handle working with a celebrity who brings a lot of challenges to life on and off the set?

Love in Second Bloom by Sandra Ardoin

She’s searching for direction. He’s trying to change his. Are they beyond renewing the future together they once believed in?

At a crossroads in her career, Erin Ward works as a groundskeeper in a small town filled with precious, romantic memories. With Shaun Hadley’s surprise arrival, Erin dreams of a second chance at romance with the guy she broke up with in college. But Shaun isn’t the same man she once loved, and she blames herself.

As an easygoing college computer geek, Shaun let Erin’s rejection light a determined fire under him. Today, he’s a successful businessman seeking to relax. Letting go of his workaholic ways is harder than he’d imagined, even when it threatens both his health and a renewed relationship with the love of his life.

What hope do they have when Shaun can’t slow down, and Erin refuses to stand up for herself and their future…again?

Celebrate springtime in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains in this second chance romance, part of the Love at Christmas Inn series.

The Road Home by Cathe Swanson

She has a second chance at life. Will she embrace a second chance at love, too?

Christopher Wright came home from Afghanistan a changed man. He’s found peace as an over-the-road trucker, but he’s never forgotten the woman he grew close to overseas – or the promises they made to each other. But when a newspaper article leads him to the Unity Plenkiss Community Center, the elusive Tally isn’t happy to be found – and she’s definitely not interested in picking up where they left off.

After two years on the streets, Tally Zemmer has found a home and begun to heal, building a new life for herself. Christopher’s reappearance is a reminder of her scars and the ghosts that followed her home from Afghanistan. But he’s the one man who knows her secrets and still cares for her. They have a special connection, shared faith, and experiences no one else can claim.

Can they find a new road home together?

Royally Married by Jill Boyce

Dr. Claire Thomson, queen of Amorley, has banished all the dragons in her life—or so she hopes. Her wedding to Ethan Kane, the love of her life, looms on the horizon, yet unwelcome houseguests of her stepmother, Lord Chicanery of Maltenstein and his son, Hans, threaten her upcoming wedding with new obstacles.

New questions abound about the integrity of the crown and the necessity of its future. If Claire cannot prove her loyalty to Amorley and disavow her involvement in a nefarious plot to defraud the country’s coffers for personal gain, then she may have to postpone more than just her wedding. She may have to leave the life she’s come to love in her father’s homeland as Parliament calls the monarchy into question.

Dangers lurk in the castle, and if Claire’s not careful, she will lose more than her crown; she will lose her life. If she survives, will Claire and Ethan finally make it to the altar and solidify her position as queen? Can she protect the monarchy and those she loves from the evil plans of her enemies? Has time finally run out for Claire on her quest for her happily ever after?

Her Mountain Refuge by Laurel Blount

Going home could mean risking her heart…

She needs help to start over…

But can she ever trust again?

Widowed, pregnant and under her controlling mother-in-law’s thumb, Charlotte Tremaine needs help—but she doesn’t expect it to come from her estranged childhood best friend. Yet after a fainting spell lands her in the hospital, Sheriff Logan Carter whisks her away to his foster mother’s mountain home to recover. But when her secrets follow, can she face her painful past with Logan at her side?

The Rancher’s Family Legacy by Myra Johnson

Is he home for good?

A future he didn’t want…

Could become the family he needs.

Building contractor Mark Caldwell is ready to inherit his grandfather’s horse ranch and put his traumatic past behind him—if he can survive working in Texas Hill Country for a year. But when his dog bonds with local caterer Holly Elliot’s son, Mark can’t refuse Holly’s request to be her son’s mentor. Can they put aside their differences long enough to open their hearts?

Guarding His Secret by Jill Kemerer

Telling the truth could set him free

He’s hiding something…

Can a special K-9 encourage him to reveal all?

When a family crisis leaves rancher Randy Watkins caring for a surprise baby nephew, he turns to longtime friend Hannah Carr for help. But Randy has a heart condition—a secret he’s determined to hide…until Hannah’s clever retired service dog threatens to expose it. As friendship turns to something more, can Randy trust Hannah with the truth?

A Mother for His Son by Betty Woods

A little boy’s love changes everything…

A temporary home…

or the start of happily-ever-after?

Back in the little town of Sunrise, Texas, to help her grandmother, Dallas chef Rachel Landry plans to use the time to heal her broken heart. She has no need to help handsome neighbor Mac Greer with his guest ranch. But her growing affection for his little boy could be just the push she needs to once again see the possibility of something more…

Surviving the Wilderness by Maggie K. Black

Treacherous terrain, a kidnapped little girl.

And time is running out fast…

When masked figures take his daughter, Master Corporal Jeff Connor will stop at nothing to rescue her—even if it means working with stubborn wilderness guide Quinn Dukes. But their past disagreements don’t matter when Quinn risks everything for his little girl. As Quinn’s thrown into the line of fire too, Jeff will do everything in his power to uncover the kidnapper’s identity…and protect them both.

Crime Scene Cover-Up by Sharon Dunn

Facing the past
is the only way to catch a killer.

After years of chasing the Arson Killer, FBI profiler Arielle Olson follows the trail straight back to the scene of her husband’s death—and into the murderer’s sights. Now she must rely on Sheriff Neil Cobain…even if she suspects he’s withholding info about the night she was left widowed. And they must put aside the past long enough to end a killer’s deadly game.

Hiding in Montana by Laura Scott

A fugitive at large…

This K-9 is on his trail.

To save a woman from being kidnapped, Officer Chris Fuller and his K-9 partner, Teddy, have no choice but to let the fugitive they’re tracking get away. But when the escaped murderer returns to hunt tour pilot Lexie McDaniels again, Chris knows the attempted kidnapping wasn’t a chance encounter. Lexie won’t be safe until he catches the criminal…but are her secrets what is endangering them all?

Tracing a Fugitive by Hope White

Rescuing a stranger…

Could get her killed.

Discovering a wounded man on a mountain trail, Rose Rogers and her precocious search and rescue dog, Oscar, must get him to safety—especially when bullets start flying their way. Only, guarding army veteran Noah Greene from the hidden gunmen lands her right in the middle of a manhunt. With targets now on both of their backs, outrunning danger could be beyond their reach.

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters

In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those five scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession–and a target on her back.

SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she’s his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.

As Elinor follows the clues her grandfather left behind to a top-secret nuclear project, Kekoa has no choice but to step in. When Elinor learns he has been spying on her, she’s crushed. But with danger closing in on all sides, she’ll have to trust him to ensure her discoveries stay out of enemy hands.

The Fragrance of Violets by Susan K. Beatty

Life crushes us with its weight sometimes.

Fiona’s father abandoned her when she was twelve. So when she learns that he’s the groom’s father in the wedding she’s been assigned to manage, all the old hurts resurface. Maybe if he’d just explain himself and ask forgiveness, she’d get over the pain he left her with—pain she obviously hadn’t left behind after all.

When Nason discovered he wasn’t Fiona’s biological father, and when her mother tried to sabotage his marriage, he felt like he had no other option but to leave and never look back. Running into her again—awkward to say the least. And he can’t understand why she feels betrayed—why she expects him to seek forgiveness.

As if life weren’t complicated enough, Fiona meets Trevor, which sparks a possible romance. New faith, an overdose, and revelations combine with Trevor’s discipleship and shows her how forgiveness really works.

What will it take for Nason to swallow his pride and see how his actions hurt an innocent child?

All That Fills Us by Autumn Lytle

Mel Ellis knows that her eating disorder is ruining her life. Everyone tells her rehab is her best option, but she can’t bring herself to go. Broken and empty in more ways than one, Mel makes one last-ditch effort to make hers a story worth telling. She will walk her own road to recovery along the lesser-known trails of the North American wilderness.

Though she is physically and mentally unprepared to face the difficulties that lay ahead, she sets off on foot from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and heads toward Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State. During the long journey, she meets strangers with their own stories, as well as ghosts from her past who can no longer be ignored. But though the land she travels threatens her success at every turn, it’s her own dark thoughts she’ll have to overcome in order to find peace in the life and the body she has been given.

With pitch-perfect timing and delightfully witty self-awareness, debut author Autumn Lytle masterfully leads readers on a journey down the hard path toward healing.

The Forgotten Life of Eva Gordon by Linda MacKillop

Eva wants to run away from her life–if only she could remember how

Failing memory has forced Eva Gordon to move in with her granddaughter, Breezy. But Eva hates the bustle of Boston. All she wants to do is move back to her quiet, cozy Cape Cod home and be left alone.

Then Breezy announces she’s getting married, and they’ll be moving to her new husband’s rundown family farm, where he lives with an elderly uncle. They’ll be one big family–but only Breezy and Brent think it’ll be a happy one.

It’s all too much for Eva. Too much change, too much togetherness, too much of an over-crowded life she never wanted. But as her desire for privacy collides with her worsening memory, Eva may find herself in a pickle she can’t get out of. Can an unlikely cast of misfit characters step in to woo Eva from her self-imposed isolation?

Fans of A Man Called Ove will appreciate Eva’s predicament, and enjoy the poignant, hilarious, and intergenerational rescue effort to save her from herself.

Out of the Blue by Susan L. Tuttle

Falling in love again wasn’t on her checklist, but he’s about to pencil it in.

Nate Reynolds’s ugly history has dogged him long enough. He has spent years reforming himself, but there has to be a purpose for all the pain in his youth. When he discovers the perfect campground for rehabbing juvenile delinquents, he sees his chance for redemption. Even if it means butting heads with the owner’s granddaughter, Gwen Doornbos, a woman who, for all her sharp edges, possesses a heart similar to his. The more time he spends with her, the more he envisions a future he once thought impossible.

Four years ago, Gwen Doornbos lost her husband at the hands of a troubled teen. Her dream of ministering to kids died with him, and she returned home to help her grandfather run their family summer camp until his retirement. That day has finally arrived, except her grandfather has other plans for Camp Hideaway, and they include the irritatingly handsome Nate, a do-gooder with more brawn than sense who insists on bringing the past right to her door.

When an accident requires Gwen to temporarily assist Nate, she discovers that the campers challenge her in ways she’s not ready to face. Yet if she can find the courage to stay, the darkness that has shrouded her for so long may lift to reveal a love arriving out of the blue.

Potiphar’s Wife by Mesu Andrews

Before she is Potiphar’s wife, Zuleika is the daughter of a king and the wife of a prince. She rules the isle of Crete alongside her mother in the absence of their seafaring husbands. But when tragedy nearly destroys Crete, Zuleika must sacrifice her future to save the Minoan people she loves. 

Zuleika’s father believes his robust trade with Egypt will ensure Pharaoh’s obligation to marry his daughter, including a bride price hefty enough to save Crete. But Pharaoh refuses and gives her instead to Potiphar, the captain of his bodyguards: a crusty bachelor twice her age, who would rather have a new horse than a Minoan wife. 

Abandoned by her father, rejected by Pharaoh, and humiliated by Potiphar’s indifference, Zuleika yearns for the homeland she adores. In the political hotbed of Egypt’s foreign dynasty, her obsession to return to Crete spirals into deception. When she betrays Joseph—her Hebrew servant with the face and body of the gods—she discovers only one love is worth risking everything.

A Healer’s Promise by Misty M. Beller

She was called to be a healer, but her skills–and heart–have never been so challenged.

Levi Masters’s time as a British spy hasn’t ended, though his country’s war with America has. After overhearing a scout reveal a discovery that could give America the upper hand in future conflicts, Levi is sent on one last mission. While trekking through the Canadian Rockies in pursuit of his former enemy, he is taken captive by warriors from a hidden mountain village.

Village healer Audrey Moreau is more curious than afraid of the outsider, and she’s drawn to his commitment to honesty even at his own expense. Despite her arguments for his release, the council remains at an impasse. Compelled to help him escape, she sneaks him out of the village. But when Levi faces a life-threatening injury and the fierce mountain winter closes in, Levi and Audrey are forced to discover just how far they’ll go to ensure the safety of the other and the love growing between them.

Written on the Wind by Elizabeth Camden

He carries a dangerous secret, but can he survive long enough to expose it?

Count Dimitri Sokolov has been charged with overseeing construction of the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway, but during this work, he witnesses an appalling crime, the truth of which threatens the Russian monarchy. In an effort to silence him, the czar has stripped Dimitri of his title, his lands, and his freedom . . . but Dimitri has one asset the czar knows nothing about: his deep and abiding friendship with Natalia Blackstone. 

Natalia is the lead analyst for her father’s New York banking empire and manages their investment in the Trans-Siberian Railway. Her bond with Dimitri has flourished despite the miles between them, but when Dimitri goes unexpectedly missing, she sets the wheels in motion to find him. Once they join forces, they embark on a dangerous quest in which one wrong move could destroy them both.  

From the steppes of Russia to the corridors of power in Washington, Dimitri and Natalia will fight against all odds to save the railroad while exposing the truth. Can their newfound love survive the ordeal? 

When the Meadow Blooms by Ann H. Gabhart

If any place on God’s earth was designed to help one heal, it is Meadowland. Surely here, at her brother-in-law’s Kentucky farm, Rose and her daughters can recover from the events of the recent past–the loss of her husband during the 1918 influenza epidemic, her struggle with tuberculosis that required a stay at a sanatorium, and her girls’ experience in an orphanage during her illness. At Meadowland, hope blooms as their past troubles become rich soil in which their faith can grow.

Dirk Meadows may have opened his home to his late brother’s widow and her girls, but he keeps his heart tightly closed. The roots of his pain run deep, and the evidence of it is written across his face. Badly scarred by a fire and abandoned by the woman he loved, Dirk fiercely guards his heart from being hurt again. But it may be that his visitors will bring light back into his world and unlock the secret to true healing.

Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart explores the tender places within the human heart in this character-driven story of trusting God to turn our burdens into something beautiful.

To Tame a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund

They share a passion to heal what is broken, but it’s their own hearts that need to be made whole. 

Brody McQuaid is a broken man, and he knows it. While his body survived the war, his soul did not. Besides loving his little niece, his only sense of purpose comes from saving the wild horses that roam South Park. Ranchers in the area have taken to killing the horses, which are competing with their cattle to feed on the open grass.

Savannah Marshall is a veterinarian on her family’s Colorado ranch. She longs to keep her father happy following the tragic death of her older brother, including marrying a man of his choosing. But days before her wedding, she gets cold feet and disappears to South Park. As she learns more about the destruction of the horses, she joins Brody in an attempt to save the wild creatures. But when Savannah’s family and the resentments of the area cattlemen catch up with them both, Brody and Savannah will have to tame their fears if they’ve any hope to let love run free.

When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

How will she choose, knowing all she must sacrifice?

Libby has been given a powerful gift: to live one life in 1774 Colonial Williamsburg and the other in 1914 Gilded Age New York City. When she falls asleep in one life, she wakes up in the other. While she’s the same person at her core in both times, she’s leading two vastly different lives.

In Colonial Williamsburg, Libby is a public printer for the House of Burgesses and the Royal Governor, trying to provide for her family and support the Patriot cause. The man she loves, Henry Montgomery, has his own secrets. As the revolution draws near, both their lives–and any hope of love–are put in jeopardy.

Libby’s life in 1914 New York is filled with wealth, drawing room conversations, and bachelors. But the only work she cares about–women’s suffrage–is discouraged, and her mother is intent on marrying her off to an English marquess. The growing talk of war in Europe only complicates matters.

But Libby knows she’s not destined to live two lives forever. On her twenty-first birthday, she must choose one path and forfeit the other–but how can she choose when she has so much to lose in each life?

Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White

Sabina Mancari never questioned her life as the daughter of Chicago’s leading mob boss until bullets tear apart her world and the man she thought she loved turns out to be an undercover Prohibition agent. Ambushes, bribes, murder, prostitution-all her life, her father sheltered her from his crimes, but now she can no longer turn away from the truth. Maybe Lorenzo, the fiancé who barely paid her any attention in the last two years, has the right idea by planning to escape their world. But can she truly turn her back on her family?

All his life, Lorenzo’s family assumed he would become a priest, but he has different ideas-marrying Sabina and pursuing a career in the law. Despite his morals, he knows at the core he isn’t so unlike his mafiosi father and brothers. Has he, in trying to protect Sabina, forced her into the arms of the Prohibition agent bent on tearing her family apart? How can they rebuild what has so long been neglected and do it in the shadow of the dark empire of the Mafia?

Shadowed Loyalty, set amid the glitz and scandal of the Roaring Twenties, examines what love really means and how we draw lines between family and our own convictions, especially when following one could mean losing the other.

A Promise Engraved by Liz Tolsma

Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?
 
Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.
 
Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and secret love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. If he discovers the secrets of her painful past, he will never have anything to do with her. But then comes the Battle of the Alamo. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?
 
Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hewland takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring that helps her discover who killed her parents. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Mullins, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to the ring end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?

Vivid by Ashley Bustamante

DANGER LURKS BEHIND EVERY COLOR

Ava Locke dives into the mysteries of forbidden Yellow magic and discovers a dark path filled with secrets and injustice.

When Ava Locke was five years old, she began a journey to join the Benefactors—the leaders of the magical continent of Magus. Twelve years later, she unwittingly started down the road to betray them.

On Magus where colors fuel magical abilities, yellow is banned in an effort to protect people from its mind-controlling capabilities. When a rogue Yellow magic-user named Elm escapes imprisonment Ava becomes innocently fascinated with his story. Once this mysterious Elm shows up at her school, Ava pushes her interest to the next level by helping him evade the Benefactors. Ava grows increasingly conflicted as her intrigue leads her down a dark road of secrets about her world. As she learns more about Yellow magic’s potential to control its victims, Ava now must question whether her rash decisions are all her own or if someone else is pulling the strings.

Book Recommendation – Pinky Promise by Valerie Comer

Book Description:

Kelly Bryant’s young daughter wants a daddy and sets her sights on her new best friend’s single father. The man may be charming, sweet, and a believer, but Kelly is embarrassed. She extracts a pinky promise from her six-year-old to stop proposing to men on her behalf.

Ian Tomlinson isn’t looking for a wife but does need care for his daughter during spring break the week after his move to Riverbend. He hates to ask Kelly — and plant ideas in the girls’ minds — but he’s rather low on options.

How can two single parents fall in love for real with a pair of mini-matchmakers pushing from both sides — pinky promises or not?

“A cheerful and fun story that just makes you smile!”
“What a funny, cute story!”

If you love Christian contemporary romance series that focus on engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith — clean, wholesome, sweet, and inspirational romances — you’ve come to the right place!

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Pinky Promise, Book 2 in Valerie Comer’s Riverbend Romance novella series. Kelly and Ian are single parents who each have an adorable six year old daughter who share a birthday. Kelly works for the town, looking after the gardens, and Ian is her new boss who has just moved to Riverbend.

Elena and the new girl at school, Sophie, bond straight away and decide they are twins. Ian encounters a childcare problem that leads to Kelly looking after the girls during spring break. Kelly makes a pinky promise with her daughter, Elena, to not ask Ian, or anyone, to become her daddy.

The story is adorable and a lovely romance develops between Kelly and Ian as they navigate the complexities of blending families and a precocious pair of six year olds who are determined to play matchmaker. I recommend Pinky Promise to contemporary romance readers who like fun single parent romances with cute six year old best friends who want to become sisters via their parents marrying.

https://www.amazon.com/Pinky-Promise-Christian-Romance-Riverbend-ebook/dp/B00UULL89G?&linkCode=ll1&tag=30minbibstu-20&linkId=523b52ab4c11cba407421914879424a5&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl

Book Recommendation – Fake Engagement Mistake by Lisa Renee

Book Description:

Paul agrees to a fake proposal with his friend’s younger sister, Becca to appease her parents instead of sending her to college. As as teen, he often annoyed her, but now the five year age gap between them doesn’t seem so big. How they see each other changes when they’re forced to spend more time together.

When Becca suggests they kiss to convince the locals that the relationship is real, she gets way more than she bargains for.

Prequel Novella to the Christian Romcom series set in Clear Creek County, but a complete story in itself.

Sweet and Clean plus lots of kissing!

Next novel in the series is Fake Identity Mistake.

***Fake Engagement Mistake*** is currently available for a limited time in Love, Faith & Tender Kisses box set at all the ebook retailers: books2read.com/u/mlAODA(opens in a new tab)

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Fake Engagement Mistake, Lisa Renee’s short rom com novella set in a small mountain town in Colorado. Becca works outdoors in the ski fields and loves her job. Her parents are pressuring her to go to college in Denver, and she’s looking for a reason to avoid going to college. Paul is an accountant who’s single, five years older than Becca, and a lifelong friend of her older brother.

Becca gets the bright idea to fake an engagement with Paul to justify her staying in town. Her parents have known Paul for years and consider him suitable husband material. A fun story unfolds as secret crushes from the past are reawakened and Becca and Paul consider if their engagement could be for real. I recommend Fake Engagement Mistake to contemporary romance readers who like short rom com novellas with the fake relationship trope and a light faith element in the story.

Book Recommendation – Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

Book Description:

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she’s handed a strange present at the latest wedding–a 1950s magazine article of “ways to get a husband”–she decides there’s nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can’t get any more single, can she?

Her brother’s roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love–Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Husband Auditions, and I especially loved the romcom premise for the story set in Portland, Oregon. The story opens with Meri arriving on her brother’s doorstep in a bridesmaid’s dress with a suitcase and a plan to stay there for the summer. Meri’s last single friend is married, and she needs a new permanent place to live. Meri is unimpressed by her friend’s grandmother who gave her a 1950’s magazine article with 101 tips on how to catch a husband.

Kai is best friends with Meri’s brother, Charlie, who’s about to leave to work in Ecuador. Kai is intrigued by Meri’s marriage dilemma. He offers to help Meri find a husband by creating a YouTube channel and filming her search using the 1950’s tips to attract a man. Kai is looking for film content to use as a demo for picking up a new job on a tv series based in Portland.

Meri thinks Kai is lazy, and Meri’s brother warns her about how Kai is not marriage material. Kai has Hawaiian heritage, and he works the graveyard shift at the local tv station in Portland. Kai shares Charlie’s home with Gemma, a beautiful blonde screenwriter and actor who’s never short of male attention. Kai, Charlie, and Gemma are old friends from film school.

Meri is a nurse and she falls into a routine of filming with Kai after work. The filming situations are hilarious, the interest and interaction from their YouTube followers is immense, and I smiled my way through the story. Meri and Kai secretly develop feelings for each other, and a beautiful friends-to-more romance develops as they get to know each other.

The story is in first person, present tense. I loved seeing the characters challenge each other, consider what makes a healthy marriage, and grow in faith during the story. I recommend Husband Auditions to contemporary romance readers who like light-hearted romcoms with LOL moments and a relevant faith element in the story.

Book Recommendation – 12 Days of Snowmen by Sarah Monzon

Book Description:

Twelve days. That’s all Lucy Nel has left before her foster daughter, Abby, goes back to live with her biological mother. Twelve days to make this the best, most memorable Christmas of Abby’s young life. Lucy plans to provide a snowman for each day—no easy feat with Florida’s unseasonable temperatures. When an attractive new coworker nursing a wounded heart offers to help Lucy, she reluctantly accepts his generosity, determined not to let his friendship sway her from giving Abby her undivided affection.

Can twelve days of snowmen turn into a lifetime of love?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this adorable Christmas novella. Lucy is a former foster kid who wants to give back by being a foster parent. Abby has been in Lucy’s care for three years, and her name for Lucy is Mama Lu. Lucy learns that Abby’s mother will be regaining custody of Abby in twelve days. Lucy is devastated, and she puts together a plan for twelve days of Christmas snowmen for Abby to make the most of the time they have left together.

Jonathan has started working with Lucy at the living museum in Florida. The meet cute in the staff break room is hilarious, and Jonathan is drawn into Lucy’s twelve days of Christmas plans for Abby. A fun romance develops that leads to a satisfying ending. Summer and Trent (from Finder’s Keepers, Book 1 in the Carrington Family Romance series) make a cameo appearance in the story. I loved experiencing Christmas in Florida, which is similar my Aussie Christmas summer climate.

12 Days of Christmas, unlike the full length novels in the series, is fully contemporary and not split time. I recommend 12 Days of Christmas to contemporary romance readers who like fun, short, and sweet Christmas romance novellas.

Book Recommendation – Turn to Me by Becky Wade

Book Recommendation:

His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.

Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.

Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.

As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Turn to Me, book 3 in Becky Wade’s Misty River Romance series set in Georgia, despite my initial reservations. When I start reading a contemporary Christian romance, I’ll usually connect with and like one or both of the main characters. I’m in their head, seeing and experiencing the story world through their eyes.

I was intrigued by the story premise of Turn to Me and the mystery of the treasure hunt, but I didn’t initially warm to Finley or Luke. They both brought a great deal of sadness, angst, and emotional baggage from their complex pasts and family situations to the story. It took time to unpack their complicated history and backgrounds. As I read on and gained a greater understanding of their life circumstances and choices, I could empathise with their situation and cheer for them in the story.

Luke was recently released from prison after serving seven years for felony theft. Finley’s father passed away while he was serving a sentence for involuntary manslaughter. He was friends with Luke in prison and trusted Luke. Her father’s dying wish was for Luke to keep Finley safe while she undertook her birthday treasure hunt that her father had set up before he was incarcerated.

Finley is an animal loving, flower child vegan who runs the Furry Tails animal shelter in Misty River for abandoned dogs that need new forever homes. The puppies in the story are adorable. She’s a Christian who lost her beloved fiance in a car wreck five years ago, and she believes God’s plan for her is to stay single and care for her animals.

When Luke arrives in Finley’s life, and she learns he’s the reclusive one from the Miracle Five who survived the earthquake in El Salvador almost twenty years ago, she views him as a project to fix and bring back to faith. Finley provides Luke with a job at the animal shelter, and they work together to solve the treasure hunt clues.

Luke and Finley share an undeniable attraction, despite their many differences. Luke wants to finish the treasure hunt as soon as possible and leave behind his home town of Misty River. He’s wrestling with guilt from his life choices, and believes he’s not worthy of Finley. When circumstances in the story put them in danger, they’re forced to reconsider their future plans and feelings for each other.

I liked the fun romantic subplot featuring Ben, from the Miracle Five, and Akira, who works with Finley at Furry Tails. I recommend Turn to Me to contemporary romance readers who like romances with swoony kisses that address challenging topics and include strong faith and mystery elements woven into the story.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for the advanced reader copy.

Book Recommendation – Retying the Knot by Liwen Y. Ho

Book Description:

If your marriage didn’t work out once, marry the same person again … said no couple ever.

Piper

Here’s the scoop—I married my former study partner for money’s sake. I promise you it’s not as bad as it sounds. Peter needed a wife in order to receive his dad’s inheritance … so I did what any friend would do, I said yes. 

Peter

A marriage on paper—that’s all the guts I had to ask for. Of course, if Piper had wanted more, I would’ve gladly given her myself and all the puppies and chocolate in the world. Instead, I surprised her by paying off her med school bills, then took my broken heart and moved to another country.

Piper

So, here’s the part that does sound bad. I got pregnant (the details of our wedding night are a bit fuzzy). His mom hated me (still does). And we left our baby to be raised by her over-the-top grandmother when we parted ways. I told you it was bad. But now Peter’s reaching out to me and it’s making me wonder …

Peter

Do I have regrets? Absolutely! Turning forty made me realize I can’t waste a chance to make things right with the two most important women in my life. I’ve reunited with our daughter and now it’s time to win over Piper. If only she wasn’t already engaged to another man …

The Fab Forties series was written by an over-40 author with readers of all ages in mind. This rom-com is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone and help you escape reality. So, sit back, relax, and be prepared to laugh! 

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I loved the story premise for Retying The Knot (The Fab Forties, Book 1) and enjoyed reading this fun rom-com set in San Jose in the San Francisco Bay Area. Peter and Piper were best friends during college when they were studying medicine. Piper offered to marry Peter to help his family secure an inheritance. The fake marriage produced a daughter and a breakup that resulted in Peter’s mother raising their daughter. Piper became a paediatrician in NYC and Peter worked as an ophthalmologist in China for many years.

The story opens fourteen years later with Piper travelling from NYC to the Bay Area to reconnect with her daughter, Mimi, while Peter’s mother is overseas in China. A delightful and hilarious romance unfolds as Piper and Peter are forced to deal with their messy past and their more-than-friends feelings. Mimi is in therapy which means Peter and Piper can’t avoid thinking about their faith, their future, and their complicated co-parenting situation.

I recommend Retying The Knot to readers who like contemporary romances with a relevant faith element and main characters in their forties who have complex family relationships to untangle. I’m looking forward to reading more books in The Fab Forties Series.