Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter | Book Review by Loraine Nunley

Synopsis of the book:

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 review:

This is the first book that I’ve read by this author so I went into the story with an open mind. I love Hallmark movies and the “high school sweethearts – breakup – find themselves back together again – throw in a struggling orchard” felt kind of like a Hallmark movie storyline.

I was a little thrown by the flashback/backstory of Zoe and Cruz’s relationship, which begins just after chapter six and is about ten chapters. Perhaps if the backstory was at the beginning of the book and then we caught up with them years later, I would have liked it better. This way felt disjointed to me and I think it kept me from being to invested in their story.

I liked the romantic tension between Zoe and Cruz later in the book when they have ironed out most of their differences and are dealing with external issues. I also enjoyed the secondary characters of Hope (Zoe’s best friend) and Brady (Zoe’s brother) so I might pick up the second book in this series which is about them.

The issues with the ex-boyfriend kept this story from being like a Hallmark movie. They were a little deeper but the darkness did round the story out a little. I also enjoyed watching Kyle get his comeuppance.

I was disappointed with the relationship between Zoe and her father. I kept expecting something more out of it (good or bad) than the small amount we were given. On the flip side, I did enjoy Cruz’s developing relationship with Zoe’s daughter Gracie.

Lastly, I don’t expect every romance book that is listed as Christian to have a faith message, but I think that Zoe and Cruz would have spoken to me more if they had explored their relationship with God further.

What I enjoyed most about this book:

The romantic tension in the last half of the book was good. The ending was page turning. The writing was well done.

What I didn’t like about this book:

The way the back story was handled, the lack of an evident relationship with God, and the relationship between Zoe and her dad which I felt was underwhelming.

My rating:  2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Would I recommend this book to others?  Possibly. I saw quite a few 5 star reviews so there were many people that enjoyed it. This book was mixed emotions for me, but the writing was good enough that I would be willing to read the next book in the series.

Note: I received this book in a giveaway. I was not required to give a review. All of the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Where can I learn more about this author and their books?

Denise Hunter, author website

-Loraine Nunley


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter

  1. Denise’s earlier books are fantastic! I haven’t been as excited with her last couple of books. There seems to be less faith in them. I definitely recommend working your way through her backlist, though!

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