by Jan Elder
Hunter Gray is very intrigued by his new neighbor. His escape artist cow, Marigold, engineers an introduction…but it’s not quite the first impression he was hoping for. Baffled by the nagging suspicion he’s seen this woman before, he plots to win Cassidy’s heart at every opportunity.
With the object of her unrequited love living within shouting distance, Cassidy prays for strength to forgive and forget. And Hunter? He just wants to get back to his own dream to grow his farm and get to know the pretty girl next door. If she’ll let him.
Grab your favorite chocolate candy and snuggle in for a sweet and endearing story. From the very beginning I was drawn into this lovely tale of romance, forgiveness, and a bit of comedy. Jan Elder has created an absolutely delightful cast of characters that will have laughing and crying along with them. Hunter is a terrific guy who just wants to serve God and win over the elusive Cassidy. The only problem is he doesn't realize how badly he hurt her when they were in high school. He is so sweet and tries everything that he knows to do in order to get Cassidy to warm up to him. However, Cassidy is so scarred from the past that she does not want to let Hunter in at all. Will Hunter be able to break through her defenses or will Cassidy's "walls" succeed in keeping Hunter at a safe distance?
I received a complementary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
JAN ELDER is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories other women can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, introducing the reader to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story.
Happily married for fourteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.
How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?
When I first parked myself in front of my laptop, preparing to write A Semi-Sweet Summer, I was waxing nostalgic. Shortly before that, I joined a Facebook group, people from a church I had attended when I was a teenager. Memories flooded through me and a myriad of feelings, some quite strong, rose up to assault me. There were a great many pleasant remembrances, but what I recall the most about being in those “stuck in the middle” years was that there was a great deal of anxiety, the sensation of being so very different—certainly not part of the “in” crowd.
A large part of this book harkens back to my teenage years, my thoughts swinging to a boy I had the biggest crush on in high school. He was three and a half years older (I still remember his birthday) and he was definitely in the “elite” segment of our church youth group—the cool kids I so longed to be a part of. Sorry to say, I followed him around like a puppy, learned all of his favorite foods, chosen hobbies, etc. I try not to think I actually stalked him, but I was very aware of his presence, and searched for ways to be near him.
In A Semi-Sweet Summer, I tried to transfer some of that raging angst into fodder for Cassidy’s discomfort in finding her unrequited love living right next door. Cassidy never really fit in, hardly that enviable cheerleader, not a person that anyone would notice. Rather, she sees herself as sort of an ugly duckling. Now she’s back ten years later and it’s a tough situation. By this time, my characters have grown and changed from the people they were in high school. They are well on their way to the path God has set before them. And by the end, they are very different—kinder, gentler folks who have learned a bit more of what it means to truly love.
I like to think that God can use our experiences to help others through similar situations. Maybe this novel will provide some hope or closure for those who have been in the same boat, and spur them on to get past the pain. And hey, who doesn’t love a good story about baked goods, happy cows, and chocolate truffles?
As for me? The funny thing is, my husband has the same first name as my first love. He even has the same color hair, the same easy grin as that other guy. I guess one could say I am attracted to a certain type. But oh, my sweetheart is so much better. My guy is the man God had waiting for me. The other was only a pale imitation, just practice for the real thing.
ASC Book Reviews, October 12
Have A Wonderful Day, October 13
Avid Reader Book Reviews, October 14
Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 15
Red Headed Book Lady, October 16
Remembrancy, October 16
Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, October 17
Ashley’s Bookshelf, October 18
A Greater Yes, October 19
Carpe Diem, October 19
autism mom, October 20
Redeemed Hope Dweller, October 21
Inklings and notions, October 22
Quiet Quilter, October 23
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 23
Karen Sue Hadley, October 24
Through the Open Window, October 24
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 25
Reading Is My SuperPower, October 25 (Interview)
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