The House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward
Rating: 4 Star
Description: When Abby Foster inherited a crumbling estate in a little town in Maine her idea is to sell it and get back to her life in Nova Scotia as quickly as possible. Except that the crumbling estate starts revealing the secrets of the family she didn't know she had. And the people of Jewell Cove welcome her and make her feel at home faster than she thought possible. There's also the pesky little issue of handsome contractor Tom Arsenault.
Why I Picked This Book: They're fixing up a house and it's got a ghost! I can't resist that plot! Especially when there's a dash of family secrets.
Pros: Oh that house! I feel like my family let me down by not having a mysterious aunt who I never meet who leaves me a sizable bank account and a huge mostly furnished house. There's even a furnished library! With books! If you can't tell my favorite parts involved fixing up the house and watching Abby slowly unearth information about her family as she tries to figure out what caused a split that happened between her great-aunt and her grandmother. The pacing on this part was very good and Alward did a fantastic job of giving us the story piece by piece. I liked Abby and it made sense that she was hesitant to feel attached or start to think of Jewell Cove as home. I also liked that when she told Tom about the things she was seeing in the house he took her seriously. He admits that it sounds hard to believe but he doesn't dismiss her as seeing things or dreaming. I do like that we got to meet a number of characters in Jewell Cove without it feeling like character overload. I met enough to really get the feel of a community and big family without it feeling like I needed to know the back story of everyone in the entire town.
Cons: I wish the timeline had been clearer on Tom's past relationship. It was made to sound like the relationship had been when he was much much younger but than something was said that made it seem like it was much more recent. Things did get a bit clearer towards the end but it just felt a little unclear for much of the book. Also, while I did find the ending satisfying the setup to the ending was kind of odd. Abby was expecting something from Tom but it felt like she was maybe testing him an unrealistic amount.
Overall: While the romance is nice this isn't a book I would read just for the romance. What made this book a fun read for me was the mystery of what happened to the Foster family and watching Abby find her place in Jewell Cove. And the house! The house was amazing.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely! Especially after the setup at the end of this one. I'm glad I had already gotten my hands on the 2nd book! Now I'm just hoping Josh has a book soon.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes though I recommend reading it more as a women's fiction than just a romance.