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“Hunter’s snappy dialogue and heartwarming prose will appeal to fans of Jan Karon and Mark Simses.” —Booklist review of Sweetbriar Cottage
Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe—a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?
Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love, Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.
As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.
About the Author
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest. To learn more about Denise, visit her website DeniseHunterBooks.com; Facebook: AuthorDeniseHunter; Twitter: @DeniseAHunter; Instagram: deniseahunter.
Read an Excerpt
Zoe Collins never expected to step foot in Copper Creek again. But the one thing that could bring her back had happened.
She stepped out of the dark sedan, a little wobbly on her heels. Brady, her brother, quietly took her elbow as they followed their father across the manicured cemetery that would become Granny's new earthly home.
She drew deeply of the early spring air, fixing her eyes on the surrounding mountains and pine forests. Copper Creek was nestled down in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains. Some might say the town was a throwback to simpler days, but for Zoe the memories of home were a conflicting cocktail of bliss and misery. Heavy on the misery.
Her boyfriend, Kyle, had stayed at the hotel with her daughter, Gracie. Zoe's long-buried grief and guilt warred with an intense feeling of relief at finally being alone. She would focus on the latter, she decided, filling her lungs with the familiar sweet smells of home: hyacinths, sunshine, and freedom.
As they neared the tent, Zoe's best friend came toward her.
Hope Daniels hadn't changed a bit — still a natural beauty with that dark, wavy hair and those sparkling green eyes. When she smiled she was the spitting image of Rachel McAdams. But today that wide grin was nowhere to be seen.
Zoe slipped off to intercept her and found herself swallowed in a hug like only Hope could give. One part love, two parts boa constrictor.
"Hey girl," Zoe squeezed out.
"I'm so sorry I couldn't make the funeral."
"No worries. It's so good to see you."
Though Hope only managed the Rusty Nail on the weekend, a round of spring flu had taken out some of the waitstaff so she'd had to fill in. Radio was her true love. She hosted a daily call-in program called "Living with Hope" on a local station, using that psychology degree she'd worked on so hard.
"How are you holding up?"
"All right, I suppose."
Hope released her, allowing Zoe to draw a full breath.
"Oh, I've missed you," her friend said. "Five years is too long — and hardly a phone call," she scolded. "Never mind. I'll chastise you later at a more appropriate time."
"Good job. Your filter's come a long way."
"Not really. Stick around a minute." Hope's gaze flitted toward the tent. "Now where's that sweet little angel I've been dying to get my hands on? It's a sad state of affairs when I have to make do with Facebook and Instagram."
"I thought the funeral might be a bit confusing for a four-year-old, and I didn't really want her to meet Dad here, so I left her with Kyle."
"I can't believe you're still with him."
Zoe tilted a look at Hope. "And you wonder why I never call. Kyle's been there for us, Hope."
"We'll talk about it later. Appropriate time and all that."
"I can hardly wait." Zoe's eyes swung to the tent. "I hate that I wasn't here to lend a hand with arrangements. We just couldn't get away from Nashville any sooner."
Hope pressed her lips together, obviously suppressing another thought. "Well ... you know your grandmother. She had everything in place, God rest her soul. There wasn't much to do. How's Brady holding up today? He was kind of a mess the day she died." Zoe glanced at her brother, now under the tent. The black suit made the best of his tall, sturdy frame and short dark hair. He was chatting with their dad, and she tried not to be jealous of the easy relationship they shared. Zoe'd had only sporadic contact with Brady — or anyone else for that matter — since she'd left.
Granny. It was too late now. Guilt pinched hard. But she shook off the feeling.
"How's Brady been doing since the divorce?" Zoe asked.
Hope shrugged. "As expected, I guess. I don't know how he ever put up with that woman, but he sure loves baby Sam. He gets him every other weekend, you know."
Audrey had left Brady, no doubt breaking his heart, while Zoe had been AWOL. Yet another person she'd let down.
"He wanted custody, but Audrey fought him and won. I swear she just did it out of spite."
From what Zoe knew of Audrey, that was probably about right. But she didn't want to think about her brother anymore. It was too close to the topic she was avoiding.
"How's the orchard faring in Granny's absence?" she asked.
"Last few years she barely even oversaw it. She dealt with the retailers, but otherwise it's practically run itself, what with all the help." Hope opened her mouth as if she had something else to say, then bit her lip instead.
Zoe closed her eyes and could almost smell the peaches, ripe to harvest. Feel the fuzzy skin and taste the sweet juicy flesh. She'd spent every spare hour at the orchard, growing up. It had been better than home, especially after her mama died. She'd have liked to spend a couple quiet hours there. Too bad Kyle was in such a rush to get back to Nashville.
"I never thought it would be her heart, of all things," Zoe said.
"I know, right? She seemed fit as a fiddle. Just last week I walked in on her perched at the top of a sixteen-foot ladder. I said, 'Granny Nel, what are you doing?' and she said, 'Changing a lightbulb.' I said, 'Get on down from there! You're twelve feet off the ground!' And she said, 'Which is the perfect height to change this bulb.'"
Zoe gave a wistful smile. "Sounds like her."
Regret raged inside like spring floodwaters. Zoe had left because she thought she'd let down Granny and everyone else. She hadn't realized that leaving would be the ultimate disappointment to them. The regret threatened to pull her under, but she fought to the surface. She was doing that a lot lately. One day soon she was going to lose the battle.
Hope squeezed Zoe's forearm. "Hey. Enough with the sad eyes. Granny Nel wouldn't want you crying in your soup."
Zoe blinked back tears, looking past Hope at the cars still pulling up to the curb. She scanned the crowd, hope and dread duking it out for the lead. She quickly turned back to her friend.
"You're right. Tell me about what's going on around here. With you? What'd I miss?"
"Oh, you know Copper Creek. Nothing much changes around here. I'm still doing my radio program and working at the Rusty Nail on weekends."
"You're being too modest. I saw that snippet online about the rising popularity of 'Living with Hope.' You won an award, right?" Hope shrugged. "I love what I do. But it's just a local program."
"Not for long. You're on your way, girl."
"We'll see about that. But how about you?" Hope nudged her. "Opening for cool bands and all that."
Kyle's band, Brevity, had opened for some well-known artists. It was a rush, performing for a large audience.
"Well, I'm only a backup singer."
"Please. Your vocals are amazing. You know, Last Chance is playing at the Rusty Nail tomorrow night. You should sing a couple songs with them."
"Oh, we won't be around that long. We're leaving after the interment."
Hope's face fell. "Are you kidding me? You just got here last night. I waited almost five years for you to come back."
"Sorry. There's a gig we need to get back for." And as nice as it was to catch up with Hope, there were other people she was less keen on seeing.
The stragglers were making their way toward the tent, a small wave of darkly clothed humanity. It was almost time to begin.
She squeezed Hope's hand. "I'd better go. We'll catch up later."
She turned toward the tent, making her way over the bumpy ground, and nearly stumbled as her eyes caught on the person she'd been watching for.
Cruz Huntley had never looked better. His crisp white shirt contrasted with his Puerto Rican skin, and the suit coat accentuated his broad shoulders. He looked up just then, and his dark eyes pierced hers.
Her heart was like a kick drum in her chest as she got caught in his gaze for a long, painful moment. Was he remembering the last funeral they'd attended? And everything that had happened that day?
His lips curved in a thin smile.
She tore her eyes away. Fixed them on the white casket propped under the tent. On the spray of colorful flowers arranged over the top. She shook Cruz from her thoughts. She wasn't going there today. Never mind that she hadn't set eyes on him in forever. Never mind that he'd once stolen her heart — t hen broken it so thoroughly.
You're a stupid girl, Zoe.
Under the tent she took a seat between her brother and dad, trying to ignore the coldness that radiated from Daddy in waves. She'd tried to hug him when she'd seen him at the funeral home, but he'd only stiffened in her arms. She'd drawn away, the sting of rejection burrowing deep.
He'd never been Granny's biggest fan. His mother-in-law had been too spirited for his liking, and she'd only encouraged Zoe's independence. It had been a sticking point among the three of them that only grew worse when Zoe's mom died.
But she wasn't going to dwell on her relationship with her dad. Today was about Granny. About laying her to rest.
Zoe emptied her lungs, letting that thought sink in. Letting the ache swell in her chest until it spread outward. As if sensing the sudden rush of pain, Brady squeezed her hand. She squeezed back.
The thought hit her like a sledgehammer as Pastor Jack stepped forward to say a few final words. Her grandma was gone. And with her, all the love that had sustained Zoe even from afar.
Somehow it didn't feel real. Somehow she'd thought Granny would outlast them all. But nothing lasted forever. Not even love.
It had been less than five years since Zoe had walked away from him, but Cruz wasn't sure he would've recognized her on the street. She sat graveside, under the tent between her brother and dad, her shoulders rolled in on themselves. Her hair, auburn then, was now blond, and her natural curls had been tamed into sleek locks that fluttered in the late March breeze.
Cruz skirted the headstones, joining the gathering crowd. He'd slipped in late to the funeral and sat in the very back of the church, work having kept him longer than he planned. He hadn't offered his condolences yet.
A moment later Pastor Jack began the graveside service, speaking loudly enough for his voice to carry to the back of the large crowd. Nellie Russell had been a town favorite. A feisty woman with a keen sense of justice. She'd given him a chance, hadn't she? When others thought he was just another loser from the wrong side of the tracks. He'd loved her as though she were his own grandmother.
The service was short but heartfelt, and when it ended Cruz stood on the outskirts, waiting his turn to approach the family. His best friend, Brady, seemed to be holding up well, accepting condolences with a stoic smile and a firm handshake. This was a big blow on the heels of his divorce from Audrey.
It was Zoe, though, that his eyes kept returning to. Chin tucked, eyes turned down. Meek was the word that came to mind. No, he wouldn't have recognized her on the street. What had happened to his lioness? His leona? He had a bad feeling he knew.
She knuckled a tear from the corner of her eye, and a wave of protectiveness swept over him. Where was Kyle now? He should be here holding her hand. The trio had arrived in town yesterday in a red Mustang. That bit of news was too juicy for the grapevine to miss: return of the hometown boy and girl made good gossip.
He eased to the front of the line as people slipped away, his heart going like a jackhammer. Almost five years since she'd swapped him for a dream. Since she'd left and broken his pathetic schoolboy heart.
She was still a beauty, with her flawless skin and lean build. Still had those long legs, though she'd grown into them now. She was no longer the gangly colt.
Her lashes swept up just then, her green eyes landing on him. A direct hit. Her face softened for the briefest of moments, her lips parting.
His heart seized up as a dozen images flooded into his mind. Zoe hanging out his passenger window, red hair snapping behind her like a proud flag. Leaping from the high bank of Sutter's Bend, her squeal carrying on the sultry breeze. Hopping onto his back as they ran through the orchard, her laughter ringing out like the most beautiful melody.
He blinked away the memories, feeling disoriented as Zoe came back into focus.
Her eyes were shuttered now, and her lashes swept the tops of her cheeks, a tight smile forming on her lips. She received condolences and made small talk. And then it was his turn.
She turned toward him. Her eyes sparked, and her chin tilted up. "Hello, Cruz."
Ah, there was his leona. Though why on earth she was peeved at him, he didn't know. He brushed the past aside as he clasped her hand. "Sorry for your loss, Zoe. She sure was a special woman."
"Yes, she was." Her voice was like velvet, soft and quiet, her drawl all but gone. Her eyes everywhere but on him.
She pulled her hand from his.
"Granny Nel loved you an awful lot, you know. Talked about you all the time. She was very proud of you." He didn't mention how much it hurt to hear Zoe's name spoken so often — or in tandem with Kyle's.
Zoe blinked rapidly and folded her arms over her stomach. "Thank you for saying so."
"Brady didn't tell me you were coming."
"He didn't know for sure."
Cruz felt the sting of guilt. She and her brother had been so close once upon a time. It was Cruz's fault the wedge was there. His fault there'd been a wedge between him and Brady too. It had taken months to restore their friendship after Zoe left.
The moment stretched on, awkward and uncomfortable, the words they'd said before she left a messy pile on the ground between them.
Zoe had been dreading seeing Cruz again since the second she'd left him. Which didn't explain why her heart squeezed tight at the sight of him or the way his touch sent a shiver racing up her arm.
"How've you been, Zoe?"
She'd forgotten the low scrape of his voice and the way it made her insides hum.
"Good. Just fine." She wanted to see those amber flecks in his brown eyes again, but she'd gotten good at avoiding eye contact with men. "You? How've you been?"
"Not bad. Not bad."
"Glad to hear it."
If there was an award for most boring conversation of the year, they were a shoo-in.
"Congrats on all your success," he said.
She didn't feel like a success. Whatever she'd achieved had come at a high price. And she was no longer sure it was worth it. "Thank you."
She wondered if he ever Googled her or checked the band's social media pages. God knew she'd had to stop herself from keeping tabs on him. Kyle would've found out, and there would've been hell to pay.
"What have you been doing with yourself?" she asked.
"Excuse me, Zoe," Joe Connelly said as he stepped closer.
She released a pent-up breath at the welcome interruption.
"I'm sorry to intrude, but I have a two o'clock appointment." Joe looked every inch the attorney in his pressed suit and sideswept hair. "We need to schedule a meeting to go over the will."
"Oh," Zoe said. "I'm afraid I'm leaving today. I have an event to get back for. I thought Brady could just handle everything?"
Joe made a face, then checked his watch. "You should really be there for this. Listen, I have an opening at four o'clock. Would that rush you too much? I know you must want time with your family." She'd planned to introduce Gracie to her dad — not that he'd asked. "Suits me fine. I'll let Brady know. Thank you, Joe."
He took her hand. "Your grandmother loved you very much, Zoe. She made no bones about that."
Too bad Zoe had all but thrown that love back in her face. A burn started at the back of her eyes, and her throat tightened. "Thank you."
With a final nod he was gone.
And it was only then that she realized Cruz had left too. Had slipped away as quickly and silently as his love.
Connelly Law Offices was about as homey a place as such a business could be. The lobby and halls were painted a warm taupe, the walls sported Georgia landscapes, and the air smelled of freshly printed documents and new carpet.
Joe ushered Zoe and Gracie into a room, Kyle on their heels, and said, "I'll be right in."
An oblong mahogany conference table dominated the space, its surface bearing a few battle scars.
Zoe tugged Gracie along as they joined her brother at the table. Zoe was conscious of Kyle's looming presence and the tension he'd hauled into the room with him.
Brady's gaze lit on Kyle, probably noting his long tousled hair and careless style of dress that actually took longer than one might think to achieve.
Her brother's jaw went rock-hard. "What's he doing here?" Kyle set a hand at the small of her back. "Somebody has to look out for Zoe's best interests."
Excerpted from "Blue Ridge Sunrise"
Copyright © 2017 Denise Hunter.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Even though Zoe is trying to keep it together for Granny's funeral, everything seems so unreal. Coming back to Copper Creek isn't easy. With many thoughts coursing through her, Zoe must try to find a balance with all of those she once knew. Kyle had stayed at the hotel with her daughter Gracie. Even though Kyle was being some what supportive, Zoe knew that some things weren't exactly good between them. Cruz couldn't keep his eyes off of Zoe. When Zoe spotted him, his heart "seized up." How could she be going through this alone? Sometimes it takes only a moment to rekindle what once was. Unfortunately, that moment comes the minute Kyle chooses to hurt Zoe and scare Gracie. Now Cruz will find a way to protect both of them, whether Zoe accepts him back in her life or not. Blessings can come in so many ways. Sometimes it can be someone having your back. Often times, it is a gesture of friendship. Many times it can be a "helping hand" when you are restarting your life. For Zoe, it all begins which Granny's leaving her the peach orchard. This will be her opportunity to walk away from her singing career, Kyle, and her past. Truth will be the only obstacle. As life unfolds, most of us must find the inner strength and determination to move forward. Zoe will need faith to take this leap. With characters that are truly simple, yet, completely complex you will recognize the strength and the hope. Even when we take a leap of faith to begin again, we still face challenges. This story provides the promise that "faith" is the ingredient in which one finds their way home. Enjoy, MrsK
Zoe never planned to return to Copper Creek, but life has different plans. When her grandmother dies, Zoe returns home for the funeral and plans to leave right after. And then she is told she has inherited her grandmother’s orchard. Zoe’s world is turned upside down. She has a daughter to raise, an abusive boyfriend to face, and a man from her past whose heart she broke. Will this move to the orchard be the best choice or one more part of her daily nightmare? This story was very engaging. It kept me hooked. Denise Hunter, as some of you may know, is one of my favorite authors and there is a reason for it. Her stories are real. They are sweet, tender, soul-searching. They are forgiving. This one is no different. *I received this book free from Thomas Nelson and The Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. What I have expressed are entirely my own thoughts and I have not been compensated in any financial way*
I want to start by saying I am a Denise Hunter fan. I gave this book a four because I couldn't give a 3.5 star. The story starts with Zoe Collins returning to town for her grandmothers funeral. You learn right away that she has left home almost 5 years ago to run off, pregnant and not married, with another guy Kyle. They preform in Kyle's band, travel and live together, and now have become boyfriend and girlfriend. I read the second book Honeysuckle Dreams in this series first, by mistake. The same situation happens to Zoe's brother Brady. He believes he got a girl pregnant after too much drinking and a one night stand. Brady's real mother is not present in his life because she is a drug attic and left when he was younger. Maybe I am not being fare to Denise Hunter, if so I apologize. I enjoyed reading the book and I think Denise is an excellent writer. I think the last few books of hers that I have read are not the faith based style that I am use to. To me they step over the edge of qualifying under Christian Romance. Again, Denise is an excellent writer and I enjoyed this book.
According to the other reviews I feel differently, as I feel this is a story of a prodigal daughter who is trying to get her life on track after foolish mistakes and risks taken. Is it edgier...yes....is it true to life...yes. Not everyone lives a Christian life from birth and have to find their way back to their roots and need love and understanding, not harsh holier than thou judgement. I loved this book and felt it was well written and realistic. I could identify with the abuse and how Zoe lost who she was because of it. It was realistic and spot on. I loved how the characters developed and Bella is such a sweet bonus. Perfect example of how poor choices dictate our destiny unless we yield to our faith. I couldn’t put it down and loved the flashback chapters so I knew the full backstory. I’m not a big contemporary reader, but I loved this book. I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Enjoyed reading this book.
Each time Denise Hunter releases a book, I know I'll love it. With that being said, Hunter's book seem to be getting more and more edgy for the Christian Fiction genre. Zoe and Cruz have a long history, but since Zoe was Cruz's best friend's little sister, they never openly pursued a relationship. Their relationship was kept secret, and Zoe left town. Cruz never got over Zoe, so when she returns to take possession of the orchard she inherited, both are faced with big decisions. Hunter deals with sweet and precious second chances and unconditional love, while wrestling with the realistic consequences of past sin. While we all have to deal with consequences of sin, I feel like the character's faith was definitely watered down, and could have been handled in a more positive way. I felt the relationship between Zoe and her ex, Kyle, was a little over-the-top dramatic, but then again, there are crazy people in this world, so it could happen. The tension was also necessary from a literary standpoint, so I understand why it was handled the way it was. I can't wait for the next book in the series! I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review, which I have provided here.
BLUE RIDGE SUNRISE by Denise Hunter. Thomas Nelson Publisher Expectation of others believe Zoe was born to run the orchard, she had a life before returning to Copper Creek. Same with her love life, now she is having to deal with her first love Cruz and her boyfriend Kyle. Tension is on the rise, and fills the pages. You get to know the characters they are well described, you wonder about the outcome. Her books are filled with good details and plot, that don’t disappoint readers. Given ARC by Thomas Nelson , for my voluntary review and my honest opinion
This is the first book that I’ve read by this author so I went into the story with an open mind. I love Hallmark movies and the “high school sweethearts – breakup – find themselves back together again – throw in a struggling orchard” felt kind of like a Hallmark movie storyline. I was a little thrown by the flashback/backstory of Zoe and Cruz’s relationship, which begins just after chapter six and is about ten chapters. Perhaps if the backstory was at the beginning of the book and then we caught up with them years later, I would have liked it better. This way felt disjointed to me and I think it kept me from being to invested in their story. Full review at my website. 2 1/2 out of 5 stars. I received this book in a giveaway. I was not required to give a review. All of the opinions I have expressed are my own.
This is actually the first Denise Hunter book that I have read. It was great! It is written in the here and now. I've read other reviews that point out that this book is not Christian fiction; however, I tend to disagree. The issues in this book, unfortunately, involve issues that some Christian families deal with today. Never say that it won't happen in your family because it can. This book was easy to read in just a few sittings and I had a hard time putting it down. I look forward to reading more of Denise Hunter's work.
Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter Zoe is living her dream of being a musician when she is called back home by her Granny’s death. She has been gone for five years and plans to attend the funeral one day and return to Nashville the next. However, her Granny’s will holds a surprise—she is now the owner of the family peach orchard. In a surprising turn of events, she decides to stay and run the orchard in Granny’s memory. She hopes to avoid the man who broke her heart five years ago, but as it turns out, he is now the orchard’s manager. Can the orchard survive and can Zoe remain there with the painful memories of her first love? This is not the type of book that I usually read, but how could I resist when I took part in a survey to determine the book’s cover? It was an easy read, not really a surprising one, but I did enjoy it. Although I didn’t identify much with Zoe, the plot twists did make me want to find out what would happen to the characters. The author left room for another book, perhaps featuring some secondary characters. If you enjoy a pleasant story line with a not-too-surprising ending, I think you will enjoy this book. I received a free copy from the fiction guild and this is my honest review.
Zoe returns to Copper Creek with her boyfriend and her daughter to attend her grandmother's funeral. She is expect3d to remain and run her grandmother's peach orchard. Growing up, she loved to help Granny work with the peaches. Does Zoe stay or leave to continue her music career? Mysterious things begin to happen with Zoe and her former boyfriend, Cruz, being accused of arson.. This was a very good book, just not quite as good (for me) as her others. What I didn't like was that it would go back and forth between the present and past with nothing clearly indicating whether it was past or present.
Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend, Kyle, for the funeral of her grandmother. She discovers her grandmother has left the farm to her. Will she stay in to run the farm or will Kyle convince her to sell it? Has Kyle got sinister intentions for Zoe? A good story.
I received this book from The Fiction Guild. I was not required to give a favorable review. This is another book from Denise. Her writing draws you to each of the characters and it has done this with this. Zoe feels is a rebel. Her mom understands her but her father wants her to do as he says and that makes her feel small. Her brother Brody is close to her & so is her grandmother. But being the rebel she is she falls for her brothers friend but doesn't want to tell anybody. Singing is her passion, but her dad doesn't understand. Her mother get killed in accident visiting her brother in CA, and now it is just them. Kyle comes along and wants her for his backup singer for his band. But there are doubts between her and Cruz. She leaves town, but she doesn't tell him she is pregnant. But she comes home 5 years later for her grandmothers funeral. She has lost touch with everyone but her brother. But she get a shock. Her grandmother left her the family peach orchard. She can now leave Kyle and find herself & Gracie a home and maybe Gracie's daddy who is still in town. Little did she know he was working for her grandmother. Can they make it work.
Zoe's Granny loves her and encourages her independence. Her father wants to control Zoe. Cruz, Zoe's brother's best friend, grew up on the wrong side of the track and is in love with Zoe. Zoe's father never thought Cruz was good enough for his daughter. When Cruz believes a lie about Zoe, she makes some disastrous decisions and leaves her home town with Kyle to pursue a music career in Nashville. Five years later a very different Zoe returns home for her Granny's funeral with her daughter. Granny leaves Zoe her peach orchard hoping she will return to her roots. Will a more mature Cruz and Zoe find their way back to one another? Can Zoe make a success of the orchard? Will Kyle lure Zoe back to sing in his band? This is a story of forgiveness and second chances. It is a little sensual, so I would not recommend it for younger readers.
Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter Ever picked up a book and felt that comfortable feeling, that knowing feeling?. Knowing that as soon as you started reading you would be transported to another place, another time, another world? This is one such book. Immediately I was no longer in my world of work and worry, but instead I transported to Zoe’s world of Copper Creek, Georgia. Zoe returns home for her granny’s funeral with her boyfriend and her little girl Gracie. Zoe plans to leave as quickly as she came, but something changes in her when she finds out her granny left her the peach farm. Maybe this is her chance to get her life back and stand on her own feet, without her boyfriend’s constant berating. Blue Ridge Sunrise transported me to the town of Copper Creek and introduced me to some stubborn, warm-hearted real characters. I enjoyed my visit and I look forward to my next visit with the next book. Note: I do not recommend this book for younger readers. While it is a clean read, it’s heavy on the sensual.
Blue Ridge Sunrise is the first book in Denise Hunter's Blue Ridge series. In this book we get introduced to Zoe and Cruz and their friends and family. This book focuses on Zoe and Cruz. Zoe was madly and love with Cruz as a teenager five years earlier. She left abruptly from their town breaking Cruz's heart. She only returned to the town because her beloved grandmother had died, leaving Zoe her orchard. In the time that Zoe had been gone she now has a young child and a controlling boyfriend. She decides to stay there and manage the farm much to chagrin of her boyfriend. There are some rocky roads ahead as secrets are reveal. I was pleasantly surprised to this book has a bit of suspense in it being that suspense is my favorite genre. Someone does not want Zoe to succeed in the orchard business but who could it be? I was pleased at how the book ended. There were some clues in the book as to who the next hero and heroine will be. I'm thinking it could be her brother Brad and her best friend Hope. It will be next year before the book is released and I can't wait. Blue Ridge Sunrise is due to be released on November 7, 2017. Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Company for providing me a digital copy of this book to read and review.
Blue Ridge Sunrise is the first book from Denise Hunter's whole new series, Blue Ridge Romance. I read this book in one sitting. I loved it so much, I did not want to put it down. I felt an instant connection to Zoe. I knew what she was going through - the heartache, past secrets and regrets. This is a wonderful story of forgiveness, letting go, and moving on, while in a beautiful setting. I most definitely believe this is a must read and highly recommend it. 5 plus stars. I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
Blue Ridge Sunrise is the latest novel by Denise Hunter and is the first in the new “Blue Ridge Romance” series. As a Georgia girl myself, I’m lovin’ these books set in my home state! While this is in its own series, I was delighted to find references to the characters from Sweetbriar Cottage and The Wishing Season. Like any other by Ms. Hunter, I gobbled this up in practically one sitting; it did not disappoint! Zoe has always felt out of place in her own family. She went off to pursue music instead of a law degree, fell for the farmer as a teen instead of a rich young businessman or something, and had a baby at nineteen. Having now returned to her hometown after the death of her grandmother and inheriting her grandmother’s peach orchard, what will she do with her second chance? Will she stick with her current overprotective, abusive boyfriend, or is there a second chance with her first love? Will she settle down and run the orchard or continue to pursue fame? Although this had some similar vibes to Becky Wade’s Meant to Be Mine, it became its own story. Once I got the characters straight, it was fairly predictable, but still worth reading. It was cute, it was suspenseful, it was southern. And it oozed charm. The setting drew me in, obviously, but I stayed in the story because I fell for its characters. (Having just bought a bunch of peaches to enjoy while reading this story didn’t hurt either.) I really, really enjoyed seeing the characters grow and come out of their shells, learn to forgive and to let go of the past. This is a story with a lot of heart that you should not miss! 5 stars! Thank you to Net Galley and to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Denise Hunter writes stories that I have a hard time setting down. They capture me! That was definitely the case with Blue Ridge Sunrise. The story centered around two people who loved each other, but were seperated years ago because of misunderstandings and lies. I enjoyed reading about Zoe and Cruz both in the present and in the past. They made mistakes, went too far physically, and ended up hurting each other. I really enjoyed seeing them make their way back together again and set right what had gone so wrong. I thought that the author handled the difficult topic of a controlling and emotionally abusive partner very well. I was a bit surprised by the way events unfolded with the abusive ex-partner, Kyle, but I was satisfied with the way it played out. Although this was a clean story, there was mention of the characters having become physically intimate in the flashback. It is only stated, not explicitly described. There are also a couple of references to the fact that Zoe was intimate with her ex-boyfriend Kyle. There was a light faith thread to the story, however, it leaned more toward clean fiction than inspiration fiction in my opinion. I enjoyed this novel and look forward to the next in the series. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
I thought this was a Christian novel, but it is not. It does have God mentioned a couple of times, even few prayers are said when in trouble, but the characters, their lives or the story does not demonstrate a personal relationship with God. Also, there is pre-marital sex with consequences, yet that is not ever talked about it regarding their faith and it is applied that it has happened, with others, after the youthful incident. Just to get that message clear out there. I always review the books in their own category, so if this is not Christian romance novel, am I going to treat it as a contemporary romance novel? The story was engaging, there was some family drama, life lessons, problems with the ex, and trying to find their place in life mixed with the second chance romance. I liked the main characters, Cruz Huntley is a strong male lead with admirable character. He was a bit of a hothead as a young man, but he has grown to be a responsible, caring, generous man of good principles and forgiving mind. I loved his dedication to 'Bella' and his open heart and mind towards the sudden changes in his life. Zoe Collins had made some serious mistakes in her life yet I understood where she was coming from, how her father's behavior had driven her to doubt her own worth, and how low she was at the time when she found out she was pregnant. She is her own worst enemy with the doubts and worries of her character and abilities. Her growth through the story is remarkable, yet it takes a big step back right when I thought she had gained some ground. The constant shadow of Kyle and the lies that were easily believed shadow the new start in Zoe's life. The danger the threats from Kyle provided some spice and intensity to the tale, bringing it all to a high climax towards the end, with lives in danger. I liked the story, the plot had some surprises that not only gave this tale new turns but took the whole series forward. I just kept waiting for the revelation that would have come from the characters finding faith in God, growing in faith, and seeing the errors of their past. Since that moment never really came, I was left wanting at the end. Maybe if I would not have expected this, I would have enjoyed the story more, but as it is now, I give it ~ Three Spoons
Blue Ridge Sunrise is a fantastic story about Star-Crossed love. You have two true love's who were together when they were younger - Zoe and Cruz - but when she hurt him so bad in a way you just can't believe. She then leaves town until her grandmother dies and she has to take care of the peach farm - she goes back to the farm - she shows back with her child and Kyle the man she cheated with on Cruz with - will she be able to handle seeing Cruz again? Do the Sparks reignite? Will she keep the farm? Can she handle being on the farm again? I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all the opinions expressed are all my own.
Denise Hunter used to be one of my favorite authors, I've read every single one of her romances she's written over the years. I've heard that Thomas Nelson is becoming more edgy and that is apparent with the last few romances Ms. Hunter has put out. Zoe is a wild child. The book starts when she's fifteen and she's got the stuff and is hot to trot. She has Cruz lusting after her, but he's her brother's best friend. When Brady goes off to college, Cruz promises to keep his eye on her... and he does. That, and other things. Then Zoe runs off to join a country band and sing backup. When granny dies, she comes back home with her four year old daughter in tow... Okay, you can see where this is going. Zoe is not a character I like or identify with. With the exception of Granny and her brother and one girlfriend she's pretty much burned all her bridges behind her, too. Even her own dad is reluctant to help. Even Cruz hates her, but she's still hot... And of course they are forced together because... The ending was rather rushed and unsettled. Telling. Not a satisfactory end. Faith message was weak. She sings in church, says a prayer or two , and it's called good. Lives like the devil the rest of the time. I wanted to like this book. But I didn't. And I hate to say this, but it might be the last Denise Hunter book I ever read. That kind of breaks my heart. I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
Fast-paced, deep character backstory, amazing premise ~ awesome read! Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter is fabulous. The novel starts with the amazing premise of Zoe returning home for a funeral and reading of the will, only to discover that maybe she isn't ready to leave Copper Creek for good. The backstory is deep and wide, allowing the author to explore deep feelings and hurts. The plot is fast-paced and the characters three-dimensional. Blue Ridge Sunrise was a quick and fun read!
Denise Hunter never fails to deliver! Emotionally charged and suspenseful, I couldn’t put Blue Ridge Sunrise down until I turned the last page. Our leading lady is one stubborn girl (ahem, I can relate) and she bears the consequences for her decisions as we journey through from her 15 year old self to her wiser 24 year old self. Amidst the interesting business challenges surrounding the orchard and the lovely romance that runs throughout, what resonates for me is the reminder to value oneself for who God made one, we are defined neither by our failures or our successes but by His love. Though fictional, I love the thread of the scripture “God works all things for good” which is the backbone of this story, redemptive hope flows throughout. A warning: with the many descriptions of peaches and their accompanying delicious recipes, don’t be surprised if this one leaves you hungry! I thoroughly enjoyed it, 5 out of 5, and can’t wait for the next one from Denise Hunter.
Denise Hunter is one talented author whose wonderfully descriptive prose immediately assaults the readers' senses as we journey to the foothills of Copper Creek, Georgia—with its fresh air, pine forests, the glorious aroma of hyacinths, and small hometown feel. After five years of being gone, Zoe Collins returns for her grandmother's funeral with her jerk of a boyfriend, Kyle, and I emphasize the word JERK! Cruz Huntley, Zoe's first love, notices her spunk and zest for life has dissipated and the fact that she lets herself be controlled by Kyle is disturbing. Zoe makes some of the worst decisions ever, but I totally "get" her. Sometimes when a young woman grows up with a controlling, cold father figure she tends to make a lot of misjudgments in her life. When the hunky (and I emphasize the word HUNKY) Cruz learns Zoe's secret, will the tension rise between them even more? And will another of Zoe's foolish decisions put her life and those around her at risk? This book got many mixed reviews mainly because of a lack of a spiritual thread and so I kept my eyes peeled for that while reading. God is mentioned many times and reconciliation with Him is found for one of the characters. Cruz also makes mention of the fact that he didn't know where he would be without God. I wonder if these reviewers read the same book as I because I found it heartrending, funny, romantic, suspenseful...all the things that make up a wonderful "I can't put down" novel! I read this in two short evenings and loved it! Denise Hunter has written another winner in my book! (Pun intended.)