Series: Bluebell Inn #3
Published by Thomas Nelson on October 20, 2020
Source: the publisher
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From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom and A December Bride (now beloved Hallmark Original movies) comes the third and final novel in the Bluebell Inn series!
When a mysterious man turns up at Grace’s family-run inn, it’s instant attraction. But she’s already got a lot on her plate: running the Bluebell Inn, getting Blue Ridge Outfitters off the ground, and coping with a childhood event she’d thought was long past.
A gunshot wound has resurrected the past for secret service agent Wyatt Jennings, and a mandatory leave of absence lands him in Bluebell, North Carolina. There he must try and come to grips with the crisis that altered his life forever.
Grace needs experience for her new outfitters business, so when Wyatt needs a mountain guide, she’s more than happy to step up to the plate. As their journey progresses, Grace soon has an elusive Wyatt opening up, and Wyatt is unwittingly drawn to Grace’s fresh outlook and sense of humor.
There’s no doubt the two have formed a special bond, but will Wyatt’s secrets bring Grace’s world crashing down? Or will those secrets end up healing them both?
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Autumn Skies marks the end of another great series by Denise Hunter. I have enjoyed every word of the three Bluebell Inn books. Reading this series has been an absolute please. Ms. Hunter writes stories that are so full of hope and grace, and this one is among my favorites from her.
Autumn Skies follows Grace Bennett and Wyatt Jennings. Grace is the youngest of the three siblings that took over restoration of the Bluebell Inn before becoming innkeepers there. In past books, we’ve watched Grace grow up as her sister Molly and her brother Levi told their stories in previous books. Grace’s story begins with her working the front desk at Bluebell Inn, just business as usual, when the handsome and serious-looking Wyatt walks in to reserve himself a room. Wyatt has come back to Bluebell while he is taking an extended vacation from his job with the Secret Service. After he sustained an injury while protecting the Senator, he needed some time to clear his head.
Wyatt actually has another reason for coming back to Bluebell. When he was much younger, he was involved in an act of violence that resulted in the death of his mother. In coming back to the town where it happened, Wyatt hopes to be able to heal from that event. Grace is able to help him move through this process, first as a guide while hiking in the nearby mountains, and then by listening as he tells his story. It turns out Grace has a story of her own that she needs to work through. She was also involved in an act of violence that resulted in loss of life, and she has had survivor’s guilt since that time.
Perhaps the story sounds a little bit heavy, as I have described it? But it really isn’t. Ms. Hunter has had this way of weaving a little bit of mystery in each one of these Bluebell Inn stories, which has actually been really fun. Having both Grace and Wyatt moving through past trauma, while also on a hunt for something, gave a lot of depth to each of the as characters and to the beginnings of their relationship. Both are very likable. Of course, I also love the way Grace interacts with Molly and Levi, her siblings. They have such a great relationship and I particularly loved the way Molly teased with Grace about how handsome Wyatt was and how protective Levi was of his youngest sister.
The setting is perfect. I live in North Carolina, so I’m extra fond of this lakeside down in the western part of the state. It feels like actual places that I’ve been to many times before and honestly, Ms. Hunter is always great at creating a vivid, life-like, charming setting in her books. (I also really love her Summer Harbor, Maine setting in her Summer Harbor series, which are some of my favorite books!)
Getting to the end of this series makes me feel a lot of things. I am so happy for all of these characters and I’m thrilled at where they are in their lives as the series concludes. But I will miss them until I reread these books in the future. I think Autumn Skies was my favorite of these three books. It works well as a standalone, but I 100% recommend reading all three in order so you can grow to love these characters chronologically, the same way I have.