Happy Book Birthday, The Wishing Season!


Photo credit: Denise Hunter

Book blurb:

Living side-by-side, a fledgling chef and a big-hearted contractor find a delicious attraction.

Trouble is, their chemistry could spoil their dreams.

Spirited PJ McKinley has the touch when it comes to food. Her dream of opening her own restaurant is just one building short of reality. So when a Chapel Springs resident offers her beloved ancestral home to the applicant with the best plan for the house, PJ believes it’s a contest she was meant to win.

Contractor Cole Evans is confident, professional, and swoon-worthy—but this former foster kid knows his life could have turned out very differently. When Cole discovers the contest, he believes his home for foster kids in transition has found its saving grace. All he has to do is convince the owner that an out-of-towner with a not-for-profit enterprise is good for the community.

But when the eccentric philanthropist sees PJ and Cole’s proposals, she makes an unexpected decision: the pair will share the house for a year to show what their ideas are made of. Now, with Cole and the foster kids upstairs and PJ and the restaurant below, day-to-day life has turned into out-and-out competition—with some seriously flirtatious hallway encounters on the side. Turns out in this competition, it’s not just the house on the line, it’s their hearts.

My review:

If you’ve eagerly anticipated another visit to the fictional community of Chapel Springs, rejoice, reader friends. Denise Hunter delivers once again with The Wishing Season, her newest release in her Chapel Springs Romance series. This is the third book in the series and can be read as a stand alone, although I highly recommend starting at the beginning with book one.

My favorite aspect of Denise Hunter’s writing style is her ability to take the reader deep into the story from the very beginning. PJ and Cole, the heroine and hero of the novel, are at odds from page one, both striving to make their dreams come true and win the coveted prize: possession of an historic home known as the Wishing Mansion. PJ longs to make the building her new restaurant and eventually a bed and breakfast, proving to her family and everyone else that she’s capable of being a successful chef and small business owner. Cole wants to make amends for his perceived failures and create better opportunities for other kids exiting the foster system, the very system he came from. Both must make their case for ownership, proving their efforts are worthy to the homeowner and her committee.

I really enjoyed the story because PJ and Cole’s chemistry is almost palpable. While they are both one another’s greatest obstacle in reaching their goals, it isn’t long before their attraction for one another is undeniable. Yet both are wounded and dealing with guilt and shame, too. I think one significant characteristic of a great romance novel is when the hero and heroine are both burdened with similar ‘baggage’. The reader wants to root for them to triumph in the end because their struggles are so relatable.  They might be fictional characters, but they wrestle with doubt, regret their past mistakes, yet can’t seem to give up on the love that is before them. Denise Hunter crafts a wonderful story in The Wishing Season. It’s a swoon-worthy romance nuanced with deeper layers of  coming to terms with the lies we believe about ourselves and embracing the gifts we often think we aren’t worthy or receiving.

Well done, Denise Hunter. I can’t wait to read Ryan McKinley’s story next!

Readers can connect with Denise Hunter via Facebook and her website, which includes an excerpt of The Wishing Season.

Thank you Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley, for a complimentary digital copy of this book.

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