Top positive review
I don't have to "ACT" like this book is great - it really is!
Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2015
I have been really loving this Pine Harbour Series. Even though I thought the first two books were great, I wasn't looking forward to this one as much. Why? Because the male hero, Ryan, isn't a part of the two main families in the series and he didn't excite me a whole lot in the first two books, where he was a background character. Also, I'm just not somebody who's into the whole celebrity thing, and the idea of this widower in small-town Canada pairing up with a Hollywood movie star just didn't sound very realistic to me.
Okay, now it's time for me to tell you how stupid I am, because this book was phenomenal! Ryan isn't just some bland background guy. He is a fairly recent widower, with three young children. He is still reeling from his wife's unexpected death and is trying his darnedest to be a great father to his kids, and constantly feeling that he's coming up short. He is hurting and vulnerable and lonely. He loves his kids unconditionally and will do anything to keep them protected from any more hurt.
There is a movie about to be filmed in Pine Harbour - we heard about the planning for it in the first books. Now it is finally time to get the show on the road, and the movie people start coming into town for filming. The cottages they are staying at are owned by Ryan's in-laws, and his house is a short ways up the lane. Holly Cresinski is the first person to arrive, a few days early. She finds no hot water when she goes to shower, and contacts Ryan for maintenance. In conversation, Ryan makes a casual comment about how he'll need to deal with the drama of "those fancy Hollywood types" Holly replies that they're not really that bad, but she isn't about to tell him she is better known as Hope Creswell, a major star in the movie. Ryan sees Holly near his house most nights when she goes out for an evening run. He thinks she is just some random nobody helping out on the movie set, and she finds she is enjoying "pretending to be herself" instead of Hope Creswell.
Okay, so that's the basic setup. As can be guessed, Ryan and "Holly" find themselves falling for each other. But he knows this is a woman who is in town for only a limited period of time, and doesn't know she's a famous star. And Ryan wants to protect and keep his children out of the spotlight at all costs. This is looking like an impossible situation. Will the small town "lumberjack" (as Holly calls him) and the Hollywood star be able to make things work?
Dang this is such a good book! It was one of those where I found myself reading early into the morning of the next day because I couldn't put it down. Everything seemed so real, not contrived. The affection between Ryan and Holly developed little by little over time - it wasn't one of those stories where the H/H know each other three days and WHAMO they're hopelessly in love.(A pet peeve of mine). One of the things I love so much about Zoe York's books is that she doesn't just tell the story, but really gets into the deepest feelings of each of her characters. You can feel their pains, doubts, fears, and joys. And yes, this unlikely pairing that I doubted at the beginning of the book turned out to be very believable by the end. I don't know how much more you can ask for from an author. Well done!