Memories of motherhood and marriage are fresh for Julia Presley—though tragedy took away both years ago. Finding comfort in the routine of running the Peach Orchard Inn, she lets the historic, mysterious place fill the voids of love and family. No more pleasure of a man’s gentle kiss. No more joy in hearing a child call her Mommy. Life is calm, unchanging…until a stranger with a young boy and soul-deep secrets shows up in her Tennessee town and disrupts the loneliness of her world.
Julia suspects there’s more to Eli Donovan’s past than his motherless son, Alex. There’s a reason he’s chasing redemption and bent on earning it with a new beginning in Honey Ridge. Offering the guarded man work renovating the inn, she glimpses someone who—like her—has a heart in need of restoration. But with the chance discovery of a dusty stack of love letters buried within the lining of an old trunk, the long-dead ghosts of a Civil War romance envelop Julia and Eli, connecting them to the inn’s violent history and challenging them both to risk facing yesterday’s darkness for a future bright with hope and healing.
Publisher and Release Date: HQN Books, March 2015
Time and Setting: American Civil War, 1864 and Present Day
Genre: Romantic historical fiction/contemporary fiction
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Jill
This is a lovely dual timelines story featuring two romances; one centred around Peach Orchard Inn, Tennessee in the present day and the other at Peach Orchard in 1864, during the Civil War.
It’s been six years since Julia Presley lost her son. Renovating Peach Orchard Inn and bringing the peach orchard back to life has brought her a measure of peace. After seven years in prison, Eli Donovan, broke and homeless, receives news that he has a son. With the boy’s mother dead, Eli decides to stay in Honey Ridge and is offered work by Julia at the inn, helping with the restorations.
The Civil War:
In 1864, Charlotte Reed Portland, mistress of Peach Orchard Farm has been married since the age of sixteen. Her dutiful life is interrupted by the arrival of Union soldiers led by Captain William Gadsden. Charlotte finds in Will a confidant and friend, a balm for her loneliness that her husband cannot fill.
Tying these two timelines together are light supernatural elements. Combining two gentle romances, this is a really delightful story of forgiveness and healing amidst tragedy and pain. Recommended for readers who enjoy romances free of sexual descriptions, and dual timeline stories.