Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor, #1) by JoAnn Ross
Series: Honeymoon Harbor #1
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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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.
Herons Landing by JoAnn Ross is the first book in her Honeymoon Harbor series. I took a break from small-town contemps for a while, but Ross is a favorite and this new series appealed to me. I ended up really enjoying it, though the beginning was somewhat problematic for me.
Brianna grew up in Honeymoon Harbor in the Pacific Northwest. For years she’s been working her way up the ladder at high-end hotels as a concierge. Her current assignment in Las Vegas is a challenge, but when Herons Landing, an old Victorian in her hometown she’s always coveted, comes on the market, she realizes she hasn’t been happy in her work in a long time. An incident at work the same day pushes her to make some changes in her life so she can finally realize her dream of owning her own B&B. The only contractor she wants to work with just happens to be her former crush – and her best friend’s widower.
Seth married Zoe right out of high school. They’d been together since they were 13 years old. She was his best friend and his soul mate. Losing her really devastated him. While he’s able to function, go to work, even spend time with friends.. he’s drowning inside. When Bri comes back to town, he’s not in a good place to spend time with her. But the more they’re forced to work together, the more he heals. It isn’t long before he realizes Bri is just what he needs…but he’s determined to protect his heart from ever suffering that way again.
I really loved the town and citizens of Honeymoon Harbor. Bri’s family, their friends and the entire town really came to life. There were several times I cracked up at their antics, or got a little nostalgic for my own hometown. I also really loved Bri herself. She was feisty, level-headed and not afraid to go after what she wanted. She really made the whole book for me. From the beginning I just wanted to see where Bri was headed.
My heart hurt for Seth. Despite his wife being gone for over two years, he still hasn’t been able to process his grief and begin healing. His anger and guilt over surviving came across very well, and really touched me. Conversely, it also frustrated me in the beginning. The first 6 or so chapters were dedicated a lot to Zoe, which made me question how well the romance would work. Thankfully, 1) Bri and Seth talked about things like adults, and 2) once they started getting physical things turned in his mind and he wasn’t always thinking about Zoe or feeling guilty over it.
Overall this was a quick, fun read. I really enjoyed the town of Honeymoon Harbor and the romance.
3.5 out of 5