Series: Honeymoon Harbor #1
Published by HQN Books on May 22, 2018
Source: the publisher
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There’s no place to fall in love like the place you left your heart
Welcome to Honeymoon Harbor, the brand-new, long-awaited series by beloved New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross, where unforgettable characters come face-to-face with the kind of love that grabs your heart and never lets go.
Working as a Las Vegas concierge, Brianna Mannion is an expert at making other people’s wishes come true. It’s satisfying work, but a visit home to scenic Honeymoon Harbor turns into a permanent stay when she’s reminded of everything she’s missing: the idyllic small-town charm; the old Victorian house she’d always coveted; and Seth Harper, her best friend’s widower and the neighborhood boy she once crushed on—hard. After years spent serving others, maybe Brianna’s finally ready to chase dreams of her own.
Since losing his wife, Seth has kept busy running the Harper family’s renovation business and flying way under the social radar. But when Brianna hires him to convert her aging dream home into a romantic B and B, working together presents a heart-stopping temptation Seth never saw coming. With guilt and grief his only companions for so long, he’ll have to step out of the past long enough to recognize the beautiful life Brianna and he could build together.
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.
After reading and loving Home to Honeymoon Harbor by JoAnn Ross yesterday, I quickly finished Herons Landing, which is the first full-length novel in the Honeymoon Harbor series. Herons Landing features Brianna Mannion and Seth Harper, who end up working together on a restoration project for a historical home in the area.
There are several things about this book that make me enjoy it: the small-town setting by the water and the family relationships being the major ones. But I also loved that the coming-together of Brianna and Seth was the result of the pair working together on a home restoration. I’ve read several books in the past where restoration or building was a major plot point, and I’ve always loved them. Every time.
Brianna comes back home to Honeymoon Harbor after working for a few years out-of-state in the hospitality/hotel industry. This is prompted, in part, by realizing the home she has loved her entire life is up for sale. Brianna decides to buy the house and relocate, and she also decides that a few changes need to be made to the home to make it worthy of her dreams. This is where Seth Harper enters the story. The Harper family has been in the business of building and restoring properties for generations, and Seth is probably the best in the entire state of Washington. It’s a no-brainer to Brianna that she wants him to work on her home. The complication is that Seth used to be married to Brianna’s best friend Zoe, who was tragically killed while serving military time overseas.
While this could have been awkward and had the potential to make the slow-burn romance between Brianna and Seth a problem, I think it was written into the story really well. Seth, from the beginning, has some issues with his grief (and understandably so!) but it is clear from the story that the entire community and his family are supportive and hoping that he will be able to move on with his life eventually. When Brianna returns, most of the town ends up nearly pushing the two together because they knew she had feelings for him before he ever partnered with Zoe. Brianna also grieves the loss of her best friend, but it was nice to see these two able to work through this together. I haven’t personally experienced this situation, but it felt plausible and real to me as I read.
I love stories that are descriptive of the small-town atmosphere and the residents with their sometimes-nosiness and gossip. Herons Landing fit into that category exactly. I loved the backstory of the Harper and Mannion families and the feud that was between their families prior to the start of the book (which is covered well in the prequel novella Home to Honeymoon Harbor), and I love where both of these families are with that situation today. In the prequel story, I learned about Sarah Harper and John Mannion – set back in the 1980’s – and their second-chance romance, so it was nice too see that Herons Landing is picking up the story with the generation that came after them.
I feel like I have a lot to look forward to with this series, particularly with the secondary cast consisting of some great family members. In particular, I hope to see more from Brianna’s brothers – perhaps they’ll be featured in books to come. It’s just always nice to be able to start out with a series as it is published. I love the anticipation between book releases, even though sometimes the wait can be excruciatingly long. It looks like the second novel in this series will be out later this year (October 2018, to be exact) and even though I don’t really know who will be featured in that story yet, I’m already ready for it.