This is a hauntingly sweet love story which mingles the past with the present and merges them together to create a new life for two lost souls.
Julia runs the Peach Orchard Inn trying to keep herself busy and block out the pain of losing her only son. Her sister is in a bad relationship and is struggling with alcohol issues, and her ex-husband flaunts his new younger wife and their new baby in front of her in a cruel unfeeling way.
Eli has come to Honey Ridge, summoned really, when he learns the mother of his child has died. Young Alex is now his responsibility, but Eli has not had a chance to establish his own self after spending seven years in prison. But, the sweet lady who runs the Peach Orchard Inn has given him a job and a place to stay and that's a start at least.
When both Julia and Eli begin discovering brown marbles lying around right when they need a little comforting, they start to compare notes. It's a mystery that will lead them all the back to the civil war days and the story of star crossed lovers.
What a wonderful feel good story! The civil war story featuring Charlotte and her son, Ben, is a tragic one, but it's a story that helps Eli and Julia forge a bond.
While the main focus is on events transpiring in present day time, the story does alternate between the past and the present, telling Charlotte and Will's story alongside Julia's and Eli's. I enjoyed emerging into the past for a time and then coming back to the present to see what had happened while I was away.
Eli and Julia both have troubled past and both are dealing with the emotional fallout of pain, mistakes, and tragedy. The faith, and trust they have in one another will lay the groundwork for a solid relationship between them and open doors for others to heal old wounds, which will lead them both to a second chance in life.
Everyone needs to read a good old fashioned story about redemption, hope, and second chances from time to time. With the world always focused on negativity it is refreshing to read a story that depicts normal people who made mistakes or suffered loss find a way to turn their lives around for the better with a little love, faith and trust. We all need second chances in life at times but sometimes that task requires a little more courage than at others. Julia's ability give Eli the benefit of the doubt made all the difference the world and helped him recapture his self-worth and boost his confidence, not only in regards to his relationship with Alex, but with Julia too.
Julia has a lot on her plate, but finds in Eli a quiet strength that convinces her he is a good man, and one she can lean on, who will listen patiently, is kind, and is falling hopelessly in love with her.
The old Civil War letters and Charlotte's story was very authentic and well written, but harsh and sad at times. But, you will love Charlotte's fortitude and her son Ben will capture your heart.
This story has a little bit of mystery, a slight paranormal tint, a little bit of history, and a sweet contemporary romance. This story is a clean read and could be read by older teens and young adults as well.
New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight welcomes you to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, and a house that's rich with secrets and brimming with sweet possibilities
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.