Monday, July 16, 2018

Tour Book Review: Honeysuckle Dreams, by Denise Hunter

Honeysuckle Dreams
(Blue Ridge Romance, Book 2)
Denise Hunter
Trade Paperback,320 pages
Thomas Nelson
May 1, 2018
Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, 

Brady Collins is juggling full-time fatherhood with the booming auto repair business he runs out of his barn. His ex-wife's sudden death has shaken him, but the devastating news that follows leaves him reeling: Sam is not his biological son.

When Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents decide they want custody of the child, Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: the stability of an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiancée.
But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and she’s finally been offered her dream job--in Atlanta. Unfortunately, her arrangement with Brady requires her presence in Copper Creek, and she is faced with missing the chance of a lifetime or standing in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

Both Hope and Brady would give their lives for beautiful Sam. But can they give their trust to one another? With this new novel in the Blue Ridge Romance series, Honeysuckle Dreams shines light on the complicated and beautiful angles of love.

TLC Book Tours provided me with an ARC of this novel, in return for an honest review. 
And I'm honestly enthused about it! 
All opinions are my own.

This novel was one of the sweetest, most totally endearing romance novels I've ever read! These characters became people I felt I had known my whole life, even though I was never brought up in a small town, such as the one depicted in the book. However, Denise Hunter succeeded in totally immersing me in the daily lives of the inhabitants of her fictional  Copper Creek, so much so that I felt their joys and sorrows right along with them. (I even looked up the town on Google, and found that there actually is such a place, in Arizona, but it's a ghost town. The town in this novel is, of course, very much a thriving community.)

The marriage of convenience which, as time goes by, becomes one of true love, has long been a romance novel trope. Yet, I never grow tired of it, because I've found that each author manages to give it new life, inventing new and delightful reasons for the characters to enter into such an arrangement. Hunter has certainly done so here! I followed the progress of the courtship-within-a-marriage of the two main characters, Brady Collins and Hope Daniels, with a smile on my face throughout. And, of course, a happy ending was automatically guaranteed! That's the whole reason for indulging in the reading of romance novels, after all, isn't it? What's a good romance novel without that HEA waiting at the end of the book? 

Both Hope and Brady have gone through tragedy and pain in previous relationships, as well as in life in general. They have been friends for years, but have never seen themselves as romantic partners. Their marriage is born out of Brady's desperate attempt to keep Sam, the son he's grown to love as his. So he puts forth the idea to Hope, who agrees to go along with the charade.

Except that the charade ends up in deep, lasting, true love..... Okay, so it might sound cheesy, even for a romance novel. But in Hunter's skillful hands, this becomes a truly wonderful romantic experience. Brady and Hope gradually come to accept each other as more than just friends, growing closer in the process.

These are characters that I would love to have as next-door neighbors! They are each great people who are mature and sure of themselves, and yet, are vulnerable, and, paradoxically, open to loving and being loved.

One of the aspects of this novel that I found most rewarding was the depiction of the personalities of these two characters.

Hope is no demure, shrinking violet, but a career woman who is after her dream job at a well-known radio station. She knows what she wants, and she works hard to achieve it. Yet, she has the kindness and compassion necessary to help out her lifelong friend, never thinking for a minute that he would turn into her loving husband.

As for Brady, he's a gentle, sweet man, although he's also a very masculine one. The way Hunter describes him, he's every woman's dream in the flesh! Aside from his good looks, he also has a good heart. Furthermore, he wants what's best for Hope, even as she wants the same for him. When she tells him about the interview to get that job she's been working toward for so long, he fully supports her. Not once does he come across as bossy or condescending toward her. Not once does he imperiously demand that she choose either her job or her new family.

The marriage roles of these two characters are well-balanced, too; they have an equal relationship, with neither ever attempng to control or manipulate the other. In short, theirs is an ideal marriage, although Hunter realistically depicts the ups and downs of their adjustment to their new life together.

i also appreciated the fact that there were no graphic sex scenes in this novel. Since one of its categories is Christian Fiction, this is hardly surprising, but I was still happy about that!

The secondary characters (the good ones, that is) are wonderful, as well! I loved them all! First, there's Heather, Brady's former sister-in-law, who turns out to be very supportive toward him, even to the point of going against her parents' wishes and intentions when she feels it to be necessary.

Then there's Cruz and Zoe, whose own relationship is totally endearing. They have a four-year-old daughter, Gracie, born out of wedlock. Having become Christians, they are now planning their wedding. They are both very supportive of Brady and Hope as well. Zoe and Hope have been best friends since childhood.

Then there's Pastor Jack, whose charisma and easy-on-the-eyes presence have somehow not been enough for him to have found a good woman to settle down with.... I really felt for him, and enjoyed his down-to-earth style. In fact, I'd LOVE it if Hunter gave him his own book! 

There are a few other, but unsavory, secondary characters in the book, such as Ned and Patricia Parker, Sam's (the baby's) maternal grandparents. They fought for custody of Sam just because he was their deceased daughter's child, with no consideration of what would have been best for the baby. 

Another character I thoroughly disliked was April, Brady's mother, who never really loved or cared about her son. She causes some trouble in Paradise, and I heartily wished she would disappear as soon as possible. 

I greatly enjoyed reading Honeysuckle Dreams! The people in this novel -- good and not so good -- the setting, the way the story developed, everything flowed together smoothly to make a very satisfying, heartwarming read! I also loved that there were no loose ends left untied by the end of the story, either. This author, previously unknown to me, has now become a new favorite! I will certainly be checking out her other books!

For a perfectly delightful, perfectly endearing, summer read, I recommend picking up this novel! All readers of sweet, clean romance will be thoroughly satisfied! And the cover is perfectly summery eye candy, as well! 


Purchase Links

Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of more than 30 novels, including The Convenient Groom and A December Bride, which have been made into Hallmark movies.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town romances. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

Denise and her husband live in Indiana, where they raised three sons, and are currently enjoying an empty nest. In 1996, Denise began her first novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books contain a strong romantic element, and her husband says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps, too!

To access the complete tour schedule, please click on the button below!


  1. Sounds like such a sweet read and perfect for the summer. Glad you enjoyed this one so much!

    1. Hi, Barb!

      Oh, it is!! And it's DEFINITELY PERFECT for the summer! :) :)

      As always happens with great reads, I'm really sorry the story is over..... :( But now I'm looking forward to reading other Denise Hunter books!

      Thanks for commenting!! HUGS TO YOU AND THE PUPS, AND WOOF, WOOF TO THEM!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  2. Thanks for the awesome review! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :-)

    1. Hi, Denise!

      You're very welcome!! And thanks to YOU for the awesome book!! <3 <3

      Yes, I very much enjoyed this book!! I'm SO happy that Brady, Sam, and Hope are together, and that everything has worked out so well for them!!

      Now I just wish that Pastor Jack will get his own book in the future..... :) :)

      I will be checking out your other books!

      Thanks so much for commenting!! <3 :)

  3. Great review! I don't know why but I just love the title of this book 'Honeysuckle Dreams' :D

    1. Hi, Steph!

      Thank you for the compliment!! <3 <3 <3

      Yeah, the title is lovely! And I also LOVE that cover!!

      Hope you decide to read this book, as it's a very sweet read!!

      Thanks for commenting!! HUGS!! <3 <3 :) :)

  4. This sounds a lovely book to read on the beach, Maria. I'm delighted you enjoyed it so much and thank you for a wonderful, enthusiastic read:))

    1. Hi, Sarah!

      I read it indoors, with the A/C blasting! Lol! Yeah, I haven't been to the beach yet this summer. :) :) But you're right -- it IS a lovely beach read!

      I'm so glad you enjoyed my review! I heartily recommend this book to all those who wear their hearts on their sleeves, like I do! Lol.

      You're very welcome for the enthusiastic read!

      Thanks for the lovely comment!! HUGS!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) ;)

  5. Replies
    1. Hi, Heather!

      You're very welcome!

      Thanks for commenting! <3 :)


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