Women’s fiction travels back in time

Historical romance travels back to the Smoky Mountains in 1914 in “Mountain Homecoming” by Sandra Robbins.

Rani Martin loves her home in Cades Cove in Tennessee. She doesn’t understand why her friend’s husband is moving away to look for a job or why the lumber company seems to want to tear down all the trees in the lovely valley, and hates those who work for them. When an old friend of her parents, Matthew Johnson, returns, she is prepared to hate him based on his former job alone. But Matthew turns out to be charming and her family welcome him back home and encourage her to do the same. But despite their 11-year age difference (which everyone keeps pointing out), Rani starts to fall for Matthew. And Matthew seems to return her feelings, but the age difference and his reputation as an abusive man’s son, makes him loathe to court her. When an opportunity comes for Rani to stretch her wings by traveling outside of her beloved Cove, she takes it. Will she find romance in the big city? Will Matthew ever give their love a chance?

The daughter of the main characters from Robbin’s last book, “Angel of the Cove,” it was nice to see the story continue on through a new generation in the gorgeous Tennessee setting. The “objections” to the romance seemed a bit forced, but the chemistry between the characters was great. This is a lovely romance to spend an evening with.

“Mountain Homecoming” is published by Harvest House. It is $13.99 and 299 pages long.

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A man tries to reclaim his land and gets a complication in the form of a fiery redhead in Mary Connealy’s “Swept Away.”

In 1868, Luke Stone is trying to reclaim the ranch stolen from his father by a ruthless rancher with the help of several of his friends, including a kindly doctor. He stumbles upon a young woman who almost drowned in a wagon train crossing accident. He feels like he cannot just leave her there to die, so he takes her along with him on his mission. Ruthy was glad to get away from her “adoptive” parents, a family that used to live near hers who also took her farmland after her parents died and made her work for them. Expected to marry their son, Ruthy’s freedom has come at a painful price, but she is intrigued by the handsome man who has saved her. Though there is an attraction there, Luke doesn’t seem like he’s thinking of romance at all, and seems to have a one-track mind about his ranch. Will he look beyond his revenge?

This is a great Western story with a cast of empathic characters that will have readers hoping for a happily ever after at the end!

“Swept Away” is published by Bethany House. It is $14.99 and 318 pages long.

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A beautiful story of friendship is told in bestselling author Lucy Dillon’s “The Secret of Happy Ever After.”

Michelle and Anna meet by chance one day in a cafe after Michelle moves to town. Years later, the two are best friends despite their differences. Michelle is a buttoned-up business professional while Anna is a stay-at-home stepmom to three children and a giant dog, longing for a baby of her own. When Michelle gets a business opportunity to rent out the shop next door for a year as a bookstore, and then take it over outright to do as she wants, she jumps at the chance. Book-loving Anna would be the perfect manager for a year to sell out the inventory and give Michelle a chance to turn it into a linens store after the year lease is up. Meanwhile, Michelle’s lothario of a brother finds romance with Anna’s oldest stepdaughter and causes havoc, with shakes even Anna’s marriage to the core. And when Michelle takes a chance with a local lawyer, will she let her guard down for him? Will either friend get a happily ever after? Or will secrets that come out ruin everything, including their friendship?

This charming book rings true for many readers, with Michelle and Anna both being different, but highly relatable characters. Readers are going to want to see their happily ever after.

“The Secret of Happy Ever After” is published by Berkley. It is $16 and 468 pages long.