Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise HunterSweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter
Published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing on June 13th 2017
Genres: Christian, Clean & Wholesome, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Small Town & Rural
Pages: 320
Goodreads

“Sweetbriar Cottage is a story to fall in love with. True-to-life characters, high stakes, and powerful chemistry blend to tell an emotional story of reconciliation.”—Brenda Novak, New York Times bestselling author.

When Noah and Josephine discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job and settled at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

“Sweetbriar Cottage is a wonderful story, full of emotional tension and evocative prose.”—Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love

As a blogger with the Fiction Guild’s Elite Reader Program. I am very fortunate to be able to receive some pretty awesome books from some very awesome writers. Today’s book is just one of those books and writers.  If you wave a book near my mom, Gloria and I, and we can see Denise Hunter wrote it, we BOTH want to read it and we BOTH know it’s going to be a great book because Denise Hunter is one of our favorite contemporary romance authors.  Sweetbriar Cottage did not fail us either.  

This story is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Georgia in a little town called Copper Creek.  The main characters are Josephine and Noah Mitchell but Noah’s friend Pastor Jack plays a strong part.  Denise Hunter writes in a way that makes you feel as if they are your friends and you want the best for all of them.

Right after they met, coming from different backgrounds, they were attracted to each other and married in a short time without really knowing each other.  Josie brings a lot of baggage into their marriage that she has not told Noah. Because of this Noah’s strong faith in God will be tested. The demise of their marriage is revealed gradually throughout the story both in their current circumstances and also through flashbacks.

Josephine and Noah thought they were divorced but the divorce papers had not been signed by the judge.  A letter from the IRS informed Noah that they were still married.  Thinking they were divorced for over a year, both of them had gone on with their separate lives.

Josie was not organized and had to hunt for her copy of the divorce.  Finding the papers and wanting to finalize this she delivered them to Noah’s isolated horse ranch.   When she was ready to return home her car would not start and a raging ice storm was approaching fast.  Being stranded with her ex-husband that she still have feelings for was not easy for Josie.   Noah does not want to spend time with Josie but this storm allows Noah to get to know his wife in a way that he did not know before.

When one of the horses gets out both Noah and Josie must head out into the storm where the snowmobile runs out of gas and they risk their lives trying to get back to the ranch.  In this storm, Josie finally admits her baggage that led to their divorce.  They were faced with death in the storm and both must decide to love each other or to end the relationship.

This is a story of forgiveness, unconditional love, and second chances with true-to-life characters and powerful chemistry that blend together weaving an emotional story of reconciliation.  There are some great spiritual truths in this story, but Denise Hunter has a great way of not making it feel “preachy” or stiff in any way to readers.  I really enjoy reading this book, but when I see one that is written by Denise Hunter I am sure I will love it.

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including “The Convenient Groom” and “A December Bride” which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. 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. 

In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband have three boys and are rapidly approaching an empty nest. 

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I received a paperback copy of this book without cost from the publisher through The Fiction Guild, a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan Elite Reader book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, or in this case, my mom’s.

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