Claire Summers is a determined, independent single mother who is doing her best to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Keith Watson is a results-oriented workaholic with no time for a social life. As the executive assistant to a local philanthropic businessman, he's used to fielding requests for donations. But when a letter from Claire's eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk, everything changes. The girl isn't asking for money, but for help finding the long-lost son of an elderly neighbor.
As Keith digs reluctantly into this complicated assignment, he has no idea how intertwined his life and Claire's will becomenor how one little girl's kindhearted request will touch so many lives and reap so many blessings.
Through compelling characters and surprising plot twists, Irene Hannon offers readers this tenderhearted story of family connections that demonstrates how life is like lilacsthe biggest blooms often come only after the harshest winters.
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of over forty books, including That Certain Summer and more than two dozen other contemporary romance novels. Her romance fiction has won a coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, and an RT Reviewers' Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. Her popular Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice suspense series have also won their share of awards, including the RITA, National Readers' Choice, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers' Choice, and RT's Reviewers' Choice. In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Missouri. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com
Read an Excerpt
One Perfect Spring
By Irene Hannon
RevellCopyright © 2014 Irene Hannon
All rights reserved.
It was going to be another late night at the office.
Keith Watson rotated the kinks out of his neck, leaned back in his chair, and grimaced at the intimidating stack of solicitations on the corner of his desk.
Donations from the McMillan Charitable Foundation might produce positive PR for the company, but press coverage for events like that check presentation at the children's hospital always stirred up a plethora of do-gooders—and good-for-nothing handout seekers. If past experience was any indication, there'd only be one or two appeals here worth passing on to David McMillan for consideration.
Keith tipped his coffee mug toward him. Nothing but dregs—and it was too late in the day to brew a new pot.
He could use a caffeine infusion.
Resigned, he set the mug aside. Why couldn't his boss have given this ongoing task to someone else eight months ago instead of dumping it on his desk? Sorting through pleas for money wasn't the most productive use of an MBA/CPA's time—nor did it contribute to the construction company's bottom line. And David McMillan was all about the bottom line.
Or at least he used to be, back in the days when he took a hands-off approach to the foundation and delegated duties like this to the PR company they kept on retainer instead of to his executive assistant.
Who knew why he'd brought this job in-house?
Just one more thing that had changed in the past year.
Heaving a sigh, Keith tugged the stack toward him across the polished mahogany. If he wasn't heading out of town tomorrow, he could push the review off until the morning—but since he didn't have any big Friday night plans anyway, might as well wrap this up and be done with it.
Stomach growling, he checked his Rolex. Six o'clock. If he sped through the stack, he might be able to make it to his favorite Chinese takeout place before ...
"I'm out of here." The administrative assistant he shared with David shrugged on her trench coat in the doorway to his office. "Do you need anything else?"
"I'm set—but why are you still hanging around? I thought Fridays were always date night with your husband?"
Robin made a face. "Not when you have two children who both decided to get the flu on the same day. John picked them up at school right after lunch. My evening will consist of forcing fluids and watching kids upchuck."
He winced. "That's almost worse than going through these solicitations. Almost."
"Trust me, it's worse. Besides, I spotted a couple of interesting requests in the stack that might keep you entertained."
"I'll bet." A bolt of lightning sliced through the dark clouds massed in the April sky outside his window, followed by a boom of thunder that rattled the glass. "But I doubt we'll ever top the guy who claimed he'd inherited a map from the Middle Ages that would lead to a trove of never-discovered paintings by Michelangelo."
Robin grinned. "Yeah. As I recall, he wanted the foundation to fund his trip to Europe so he could scavenge around. What an angle. But he did offer to split the proceeds with us."
She finished buttoning her coat. "So once you dig out from that pile of letters, any exciting plans for the weekend?"
"Other than going to the regional builders association dinner in Des Moines tomorrow night and visiting our office building project in Cedar Rapids on Sunday?"
"Whoops. Forgot about that. Maybe you could take a comp day next week."
"There's too much to do here."
She shook her head. "You need to get a life."
"I have a life. One I happen to like very much."
"More's the pity. Remember, all work ..."
"Tell that to David."
"He's been a lot better about that since his wife died. Too bad it took a tragedy to make him see the light." She sent him a pointed look.
He waved her out the door. "Go home and take care of your sick kids. Once I get through this pile, I'm out of here."
"Until some new, urgent email comes in. But hey ... it's your life." Another crash of thunder boomed through the building, and she cringed, surveying the pelting rain. "Looks like I'll be taking my evening shower en route to my car."
"Plenty of them. All in the coat closet in my foyer."
Keith pulled out the bottom drawer of his desk and retrieved a collapsible version. "Take mine. The rain may let up before I'm ready to leave."
Hesitating, she squinted out the window again. "I doubt this storm will end any time soon. You may need it."
"I'm parked near the door—and I can run fast."
"Sold." She took the umbrella. Tapped it against her hand. "Are you ever caught unprepared?"
"Not if I can help it."
"I wish some of your planning ability would rub off on me. Thanks for this"—she waved the umbrella at him—"and have a good trip to Iowa."
As she disappeared out the door, the office fell silent. The rest of the staff had probably headed out closer to five, anxious to prepare for family events or primp for dates or gather with friends at a happy hour after a long week of work.
For one tiny second, Keith felt a touch of jealousy—but he quashed it before it could take hold. He'd chosen to focus on his career instead of a social life, and he had no regrets.
Jobs were a lot more predictable than people.
Psyching himself up for the task at hand, he picked up the first solicitation and dug in.
Forty minutes later, surrendering to a yawn, he set a plea from a funds-strapped sailing club on top of the large reject pile and turned his attention to the last appeal. Handwritten by an eleven-year-old girl, it had a certain childish charm. But help a woman find a son she'd tossed aside years ago? That didn't even come close to meeting the parameters of the McMillan Charitable Foundation. While some of the requests had required a bit of thought, this was a no-brainer.
He added it to the reject pile, straightened the stack, then stood and stretched. A heaping plate of chicken broccoli with a side of egg rolls was sounding better by the minute.
Another crash of thunder shook the building, and he swiveled toward the window. Day had given way to night, and torrents of rain were slamming against the glass. So much for any hope the storm would let up. Par for the course this time of year in St. Louis, though.
His stomach growled again, spurring him into action. He picked up the large stack of rejects in one hand. With the other, he snagged the only two requests worthy of further evaluation. After depositing them on Robin's desk with a note to send the usual form letter to the rejects and pass the two possibilities on to David, he grabbed his computer and briefcase and headed for the exit.
At the main door, he paused to survey the sheets of rain pummeling the asphalt. Who would have guessed this morning's blue skies would turn gray? Strange how unsettled weather could sneak up on you. Might as well plunge in—and hope for the best.
What else could you do when you found yourself in the middle of a storm?
* * *
At the discreet knock on his half-closed door Monday morning, David McMillan tucked the sheet of paper in his hand under a report on the side of his desk. "Come in."
His executive assistant took a step into the office. "Robin said you wanted to see me as soon as I got in. Sorry I'm running a little late. My flight from Cedar Rapids had a weather delay last night and ended up being rescheduled until—"
"Keith." David held up his hand. "You've been with this company for eight years, and my assistant for the past three. I know your work ethic. Have a seat." He waved the younger man into the chair across from his desk. "How did the trip go?"
"Fine. The rubber-chicken dinner wasn't too exciting, but I made the circuit and spoke with the key players. I also took a quick look at the books in Cedar Rapids while I was there. Everything appears to be in order."
David studied the thirty-three-year-old go-getter across the expanse of burnished wood. Once upon a time—and for a very long time—that had been him. He'd wanted to get ahead, make a mark, create a security net for his family. And he'd succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. His wife and daughter had never lacked for any of the creature comforts.
But if he had it to do over ...?
He brushed that thought aside. It was too late for regrets. What was done was done. But perhaps he could keep another young man from making some of the same mistakes.
And the perfect opportunity had just dropped into his lap.
"Sounds like a worthwhile trip. I'm sorry it infringed on your weekend."
Keith shrugged. "I didn't have any plans that couldn't be changed."
"I bet your mother was disappointed when you didn't make it for Sunday dinner."
The other man shifted in his seat. "She understands my work can be demanding."
"Maybe you can drop in on her some night during the week."
David watched Keith squirm. Right about now, he was probably wishing he'd never mentioned his standing Sunday date with his widowed mother. When it came to his personal life, the man was as closemouthed as a savvy bass on a bad fishing day.
But not likely. Keith always stayed at the office until seven or eight, and his mother lived in South County, a good forty minutes away.
David pulled the sheet of paper from beneath the report. "I found this on the floor next to Robin's chair this morning. One of the cleaning people must have knocked it off over the weekend. From the height of the stack on her desk, it appears quite a few people noticed that check-presentation photo in the paper." He handed the letter over. "Including a little girl."
His assistant spared the note no more than a quick glance. "I'll take care of this."
"That's exactly what I was going to suggest."
Keith sent him a wary look. "What I meant was, I'll make sure Robin sends the standard rejection letter."
"And what I meant was that you should follow up on it."
A couple of beats of silence passed before Keith responded. "This request is from an eleven-year-old. And it doesn't meet any of the foundation's parameters."
"I agree it's outside our charity's normal scope of activities. So it will require some personal involvement—and perhaps a private donation. But it sounds worthwhile. An ailing woman, a long-lost son, a little girl with a compassionate heart—a touching scenario, don't you think?"
A muscle twitched in Keith's jaw, but he remained silent.
David waited him out.
"I could make a phone call. Get a little more information." His tone was grudging, at best.
And David knew why.
Keith didn't consider this kind of assignment to be productive work.
But productivity was measured by goals—and while following up on the little girl's letter might not be productive in terms of Keith's goals, it dovetailed nicely with his own.
"An excellent start. Let me know what you find out and we'll go from there." He leaned forward and drew a pile of reports toward him. "I'd like to get a roundtable together this week with some of the foremen to vet the draft of our bid for that apartment complex rec center. Can you set it up, call in the right people?"
"Of course." Keith rose, scanned the girl's letter ... hesitated. The muscle flexed in his jaw again, but after a moment he continued toward the door.
Leaning back in his chair, David tapped a finger on the arm and watched his assistant exit. Keith was a good man—smart, capable, stellar work ethic, single-minded focus on the job at hand—all qualities that added up to a promising future. When Tom retired next year, it would be easy to slide Keith into the job of controller with nary a blip in operations.
In fact, that had been his plan for almost two years.
Now ... he wasn't as certain.
David swiveled toward the credenza behind him. As always, Carol smiled back at him from the photo he'd snapped on their Mediterranean cruise three years ago. The one she'd insisted they take for their thirtieth anniversary, overriding his protests that things were too busy at work. They were always too busy, she'd claimed—and she'd been right. How many times through the years had he begged off family events with that excuse?
Yet the light of love shone steady in her eyes despite her years of playing second fiddle to his work. Leaning against the railing of the ship, the blue sea behind her, she looked the picture of health and far younger than her fifty-seven summers.
Who could have guessed that one year later, she'd be dead?
His throat tightened, and a film of moisture blurred his vision.
So many missed opportunities to spend time with the woman he loved.
So many missed opportunities to attend Debbie's dance recitals and school plays and volleyball games.
So many missed chances to say "I love you" with attention and time as well as with words and material things.
He shifted his gaze toward the scene outside his window. After the long, cold winter, the tulips and forsythia bushes were finally in bloom. Carol had always called spring the season of hope; for him, it had always been the season of headaches, often filled with costly rain and mud delays.
But these days he chose hope over headaches.
If only Carol had been around to witness his transformation.
And if only Debbie had been receptive to it—not that he blamed her for her coolness. Why should she be grateful for the attention he lavished on his grandchildren when he'd had so little time for her during her own childhood?
He wasn't giving up, though—even if that meant he had to spend more time from now on building bridges instead of pouring concrete.
And along the way, perhaps he could help another young man learn that no matter what drives a person's ambition, in the end the only success that really matters can't be measured by a balance sheet.
* * *
Hefting two plastic sacks of groceries in one hand and her overstuffed tote bag in the other, Claire Summers limped from the driveway toward her front door.
What a day.
The odds had to be astronomical that two of her second graders would throw up, the class's pet gerbil would die, and she'd slip and twist her ankle in the grocery store parking lot—all in the space of eight hours.
Then again, when had the odds ever been in her favor?
"This smells really good, Mom."
She looked down at Haley prancing along beside her, the sack with golden arches cradled in her arms—and her spirits lifted.
Thank you, Lord, for a daughter whose sunny disposition and kind heart are a constant reminder that not all of my luck has been bad.
"Don't get used to it. You know how I feel about fast food." That last-resort meal option was reserved for only the toughest days—and today certainly qualified.
"I know, I know. Home cooked is healthier and more nutritious." Haley parroted her standard words back to her. "But I love French fries!"
Of course she did. What eleven-year-old didn't?
Claire stepped onto the porch of their bungalow, set her tote bag down, and rummaged in her pocket for her key. As soon as they finished dinner, she was going to have to check out the garage door that had refused to budge this morning. "I like them too—in moderation. A little bit goes a long way ... like with Hershey kisses."
Haley scrunched up her face as she followed her through the door. "Yeah. I'll never eat a whole bag at once again. Throwing up all night was no fun."
"For me, either." Claire plunked the grocery bags on the kitchen counter and dropped her tote on the floor next to the small island. Why don't you pour yourself a glass of milk while I get a—"
The phone rang, and she huffed out a breath. A survey or solicitation, most likely. Those calls always seemed to come at dinnertime.
She crossed to the counter. When an unfamiliar name blinked back at her from the digital display, she let the call roll to the answering machine.
Excerpted from One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon. Copyright © 2014 Irene Hannon. Excerpted by permission of Revell.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Spring did not start out perfectly for Keith Watkins. His boss David McMillian, a wealthy contractor, has put him in charge of his benevolent accounts. Keith is to sift through the many requests for help, looking for those worthy of help and attention. Across his desk comes a letter from Haley asking for help finding her neighbor’s son who had been given up for adoption 29 years ago. Keith is less than enthused. David, his boss, wishes him to pursue it. What Keith does not disclose is that he too is adopted and despite being raised by wonderful parents, he always felt his birth mother cast him aside. During the course of his investigation, he meets Haley’s mom, Claire, a lovely struggling single mom. David, a widower, meets Maureen, the lovely Professor who gave up her son years ago. Spring begins to turn out perfectly. This was a sweet story of lessons learned and mistakes made right. It was a story of healing and forgiveness. I received this book from NetGalley for my honest review.
Oh my goodness! This book is a MUST to have on your reading list! It has everything a good book needs to keep you turning pages until there are none left to turn! One Perfect String will hit almost every one of your emotions and leave you feeling inspired! A sweet story that has many twists and things happen that I didn't see coming at all! I just fell in love with little Haley and her sweet heart! Please put this on your reading list! I know you will love it and want to pass it along to someone else :) It's just that good!
Ever wonder what makes a workaholic? Even though he's good looking and likeable, no girl has ever caught Keith Watson's eye. There's no time for romance; he's in love with his work. Truth be told, Keith has some skeletons in his closet that must be brought to light before he can trust or love a woman. His early childhood haunts him. Have you ever considered how anyone could give up her child for adoption? Could you? In this novel, adoption is examined from many perspectives.This well-written story contains some suggestions that make sense. I enjoyed the way Irene Hannon weaves the story of Keith. The pace is believable, and the ending is just right. I highly recommend this one. Thank you to Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group for my copy.
ONE PERFECT SPRING by Irene Hannon is an interesting Contemporary Fiction. Follow, single Mom, Claire Summers, Claire's eleven year old daughter, Haley, Dr. Chandler, who had a son, she gave up for adoption, when she was younger, and Keith Watson, a workaholic and an executive assistant to a philanthropic businessman on their journey of discovery,faith,love and a child's Birthday wish for another. A letter from a little girl could change everything. What an emotional tale of adoption, romance, love, faith, forgiveness, hope, and healing. Do, have a tissue or handkerchief at the ready, you will need it, I am sure, I did. A very emotional but tenderhearted tale of hope, and love, with many twists and turns. I enjoyed ONE PERFECT SPRING. I usually read her Romantic Suspense stories, but I gotta say her Contemporary Romance is just as thrilling and emotional. It will leave you speechless as well as warms your heart and soul. Well done!! Received for an honest review. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Couldn't stop reading sorry it is finished.
This book is NOT free. B/N will chargeyou $10.74
Haley Summers is 11 years old and writes a letter to a business that grants charitable requests to find her neighbors long lost son. Many lives are changed as Keith Watson is tasked with the project. A tale of discovery, romance against all odds, and a rekindling of their relationship with God, you will enjoy reading about Claire Summers, Keith Watson, Maureen Chandler, and David McMillan as their lives are drawn together through the search for Maureen's son. A compelling story that draws you in to the lives of the characters and entices you to continue reading. This novel is very well written and invites the reader into the lives of the characters. Addressing many common issues facing people today such as a distance from God and how relationships evolve this book with appeal to all ages of readers. Publication date: May 6, 2014 Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary Setting: Present day St. Louis, Missouri Rating: A *I received a copy of this book from the publisher but all opinions are my own.
One Perfect Spring is a good reminder that author Irene Hannon can tackle any genre. I thought this book to be a tougching, heart warming and sometimes gut wrenching read. It is also a good reminder that God is always in control. A good, clean read. 4 stars.
Irene Hannon in her new book “One Perfect Spring” published by Revell Books takes us into the life of Claire Summers. From the back cover: Independent single mom Claire Summers is doing her best to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Workaholic Keith Watson is interested only in the bottom line–until a letter from Claire’s eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk and changes everything. As the executive assistant to a philanthropic businessman, Keith is used to fielding requests for donations. But the girl isn’t asking for money. She wants help finding the long-lost son of a neighbor. As Keith reluctantly digs into this assignment in his usual results-oriented style, he has no idea how involved he and Claire will become–nor how unusual the results will actually be. Who could have guessed that a child’s kindhearted request would bring love and hope to so many lives . . . including his own? Through compelling characters and surprising plot twists, fan favorite Irene Hannon offers this tenderhearted story that demonstrates how life is like lilacs–the biggest blooms come only after the harshest winters. “One Perfect Spring” is a terrific read. Haley, Claire’s eleven year old daughter, is only thinking of helping her next door neighbor. This is not the kind of story line you expect from any book which makes it all the more intriguing. Because of Haley Claire and Keith have to begin to work together. Ms. Hannon has taken on issues of how adoption and how it affects both the mother and the child. And also, I think, what we expect from a Foundation negative and positive. On top of everything there is also the romance. “One Perfect Spring” deals with forgiveness, reconciliation, hope and moving forward with your life. This is not a fast read, however Ms. Hannon has given us much to think about. Ms. Hannon is an excellent writer and has given us wonderful characters that live and breathe and that we come to care about as we root for their success. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”
" A soft smile played at the corners of her mouth. Wouldn't it be nice if her dad was right? If a long cold winter could lead to abundance in the spring-for both lilacs and people? It was something to hope for anyway." It often amazes me how one author can write passionately in so many different genres. The first book I ever read by Irene Hannon was Trapped. That was a suspense novel that bordered on "thriller" about a lady and her missing sister. This is an inspirational contemporary romance about a single mother and her beloved daughter. This is a short review of a long book. An older woman who can't find peace until she finds the child she never knew. A young girl who just wants to make a wish come true. One Perfect Spring is the story of people who get together to make a change. And who find themselves changing in the process. Multiple characters- Claire, Keith and Maureen- must deal with the past and look to the future. This book is at once a peaceful and moving read. There is enough detail in the characters inner and outer world that you become invested in their story. And quite a story it is. It's a story about doing the best you can with things you can't change and maybe finding those surprising things like lilacs blossoming when all you expected was leaves. Thank you Revell for our review copy!
Irene Hannon is one of the few suspense authors that I read, but it's her contemporary fiction that holds the greatest attraction for me - and One Perfect Spring lives up to Irene's high standard of quality. Her prose flows smoothly and the characters are likeable, believable people that you could find in your neighborhood. They struggle with the same things we often face - how to make ends meet, serious illness, responsibilities, regrets from the past, strained relationships - even questions and doubts when it comes to faith. Yet God is at the center of this book and hope is present on every page. One Perfect Spring is realistic, bittersweet, poignant, heartwarming - and definitely a page turner. There are four equally-strong main characters and two romantic storylines, each with great chemistry that will please romance fans. I love it when an author features a romance between an older couple, and Irene has done that exceptionally well with David and Maureen's story. On the surface, this story is a romance - but there is so much more to discover as the story begins to unfold. Anyone who has worked hard to provide for their family, but missed many opportunities to show love through time and personal attention will relate to this story. Those who struggle with the life shadow cast by past mistakes will also be touched. I also thought the adoption theme was very moving. I initially had a suspicion as to how this particular storyline would play out, and was surprised when it went in a completely different direction. Plot twists like this add richness to the story, and I quickly realized that my idea wouldn't have been at all realistic. These words of Maureen's stood out to me and seem to encompass the story's overall theme: "Lives should be judged as a whole, not by isolated incidents." Yes, God does redeem the past; God does heal; and God does work His purposes in our lives. I hope many new readers will discover Irene's contemporary romance, especially One Perfect Spring. Highly recommended. Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
The nutshell: A single mom with an 11 year old daughter, a neighbor diagnosed with cancer, and a letter that changed the trajectory of their lives forever. A die-hard, workaholic single guy with a boss whose life became more clear after the passing of his wife and the same letter that intercepted into their lives and collided these four people together. The pro's: What a sweet story of forgiveness, choosing to move forward and living life to its fullest no matter the past. This is a feel-good story that leaves you wanting to live life better, to not miss the little things that God has placed in your path and to love others despite their flaws. The con's: Not much to say against this book. It felt like the relationships moved pretty quick-like, but overall, a great read. Suggestion: If you like books with more depth and meat on them, this is not for you. If you like books with a light, sweet storyline...then this is your gig. Revell Books sent me this complimentary book to review for them. The opinions expressed above are my own.
One Perfect Spring centers around Maureen, Claire & Haley, Keith, and David. David is a successful businessman who has recently realized some things are more important than work. Keith is his protege, and David is worried Keith is missing out on certain aspects of life, like family. Maureen is a professor who recently beat cancer and has been thinking about the son she gave up for adoption, and Claire & Haley are her neighbors and close friends. A letter written by Haley intertwines all of their lives in unexpected ways. I absolutely loved One Perfect Spring. It was the first Hannon title I've read, and I'll absolutely be reading more! I loved the truth and transparency Hannon brought to the characters while also keeping an heir of mystery about them. She allowed the story to develop naturally and didn't rush characters into situations or relationships. It was refreshing to read about adult characters who care more about other people than themselves. The religious aspects of the book were more honest than I often find in books. A strong relationship with God isn't instantaneous, and it's something a christian has to strive for. I felt these characters were interesting, realistic, and genuinely likable. If you're looking for a story with depth, honesty, and inspiration, One Perfect Spring is for you! *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I usually read her Christian Suspence books and LOVE them, so I decided to give her general Christian Fiction a try. I am so glad I did! This book was emotional, moving, touching, a genuine tear-jerker at times. Her characters were easy to connect to and relatable, which can be rare in CF. The message of faith, forgiveness, give your troubles to God, in particular a passage from Jeremiah (29:11) was voiced by a character and has stayed in the present of my mind since finishing this book weeks ago.(Jeremiah 29:11). “ "I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) .A digital copy was provided to me by Revell in exchange for my honest review.
Hayley had the best of intentions when she wrote her letter asking for help with a birthday present for her neighbor. Little did she or those around her know how much those few words were going to change all of their lives. In One Perfect Spring, Irene Hannon takes on the topic of adoption. She weaves an enticing tale that shows some of the effects of this situation for everyone involved, the adoptive parents, the adopted child, and the parent putting the child up for adoption. While this is not a suspense novel it still has Irene's signature fast paced story that includes unexpected twists. The book also contains a couple of very moving love stories. Claire has been burned by love before and she's not sure she'll ever be willing to take the chance again. Then Keith shows up and all her carefully constructed barriers begin to crumble. But Keith has some of his own barriers that need to be dealt with. Then there is Maureen. She's sixty something and never been married. She was devastated by love in her thirties and has sworn never to let it happen again. But in a very providential move David enters her life and she'll never be the same. There is so much to like about this book. It delves deeply into the emotional scars that we contract in our lives and it also shows what a healing balm love can be. If you are a fan of Irene Hannon you're going to be thrilled with this book. If you've never read her work before, you are in for a real treat! I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
First, what a lovely cover, don’t you think? I loved the vibrant colors. I have been wanting to read Irene Hannon for a long time and have finally gotten around to it with this book. This is a story about over coming your past and not letting the past define you. Only Jesus can define us. Each character in this book is dealing with something from their past and trying to move on, heal from it, or forget it. This book is rich in layers and it’s hard to just pin down one thing because there are a lot of characters in this book but their stories overlap in some way. Irene has done a great job making it all connect. Our two main characters, Claire and Keith, are definitely rough around the edges in the beginning but as usually is the case they have wounds they need to deal with. The questions is how will they deal with it? And can they help each other overcome the things that are holding them back? Will they rely on God to help them? Well, you’ll just have to read the book for yourself to see what happens and to meet all these amazing characters, I know you will find something in this book that is a treasure to you :) A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Multiple Christy Award finalist and winner of two Rita awards, Irene Hannon has written another contemporary romance that will satisfy those who crave a good romance story. In fact, One Perfect Spring offers up two parallel stories, one of the reasons I liked the book. With two stories, there is more to keep you interested, but unlike some books which feature whole villages of characters, you will not be overwhelmed with an ever changing landscape of characters. Claire Summer, a single mother, and eleven year old daughter Haley have bonded with their next door neighbor, sixty year old college professor Maureen. When Maureen, recently recovered from cancer, confides to Claire that she once gave up a son for adoption, Haley overhears the conversation and decides to take action. She writes a letter to McMillan Charitable Foundation, the positive PR arm of David McMillan's successful company, asking them to help find Maureen's son, now an adult in his twenties. There the letter is read by the work alcoholic Keith Watson who quickly puts the letter on the discard pile, only to learn the next day that boss David has given the letter a second read and has decided that Keith should start pursuing an adoption search. While the search's purpose is reuniting family, it will surprise you which people make "family repairs" and where romance buds. As our high school's mixed choir said in their recent concert, "Spring is the time for romance." So if it is going to be one perfect spring, there must be romance! What I liked best about this book: 1. Haley adds interest to the story, but she isn't annoyingly over-mature or too infantile for the story. Her presence rings true. 2. David and Maureen are "mature" characters, age-wise, and I liked their presence. As a reader, I am really beyond the romances targeted at the younger crowd. The problems from their past which both are trying to resolve are realistic, the kind of mistakes that those in later mid-life really do regret. Their flaws are not easy fixes and clearly show that we can sometimes be too late to make amends. 3. Both David and Keith are well developed characters, even more so than Claire and Maureen, very unique in romance stories. Too often the men in romance stories are nothing more than testosterone and good looks, or they are portrayed as perfect romantics who understand everything about their women (Have you ever met one of those guys? Really?) These two men have flaws, but are worth being "caught." I received a copy of One Perfect Spring from Revell Publications for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are mine.
Hannon told this story through four different perspectives: Keith, David, Marianna, and Claire. While this could be confusing, Hannon did a well enough job of indicating early on in each new section or chapter whose voice we were reading. The voices themselves were pretty similiar, so Hannon had to distinguish using clues to the character's background, other characters, or just plain saying their name. "One Perfect Spring" is classified as a Christian Romance. I really appreciated how the author portrayed the married couples: hot and steamy! Marriage can, and is, hot and enjoyable! Most people have this perception that once you get married the romance dies away, and it doesn't have too. Even just the small focuses that Hannon put on marriage was a win in my book. Please note that while I say 'hot and steamy' this book is completely appropriate and wouldn't make your grandmother blush. The 'Christian' bits felt rather like an afterthought. Like perhaps Hannon wrote the book, and once completed, went back and added some Christian influence here and there. It was not a main focus by any means. I would feel completely safe recommending this to non-Christian friends who enjoy clean romances. Overall, I have to give "One Perfect Spring" three stars. I was happy with two of the characters, the brief portrayals of marriage, couples with respectful relationships, and the realisticness of the stories. But other parts I found a bit dull or forgettable. Having four perspectives is hard to keep up with, and while Hannon did a decent job, it was still a bit much. I was also hoping for more of a Christian voice throughout the novel. Like I mentioned before, I could easily recommend it to non-Christian and Christian friends alike who might be looking for a light spring, early summer read. --I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Warm and Poignant, Highly Recommended! I'm such a fan of Irene Hannon's suspense that I'm always a bit startled to be reminded that she is just as adept at writing contemporary romantic fiction. I enjoyed That Certain Summer (reviewed here), and One Perfect Spring charmed me from the opening pages. I couldn't help but be drawn to both Claire and Keith, in spite of their determination to keep each other at arm's length. Of course, I immediately fell in love with Claire's daughter and her tender compassion, and the neighbor she is endeavoring to help touched my heart as well. Warm and poignant without being overly sentimental or mushy, One Perfect Spring will bring a smile to your your heart. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”
Haley Summer wants to give her neighbor a special birthday gift so she writes a letter to McMillan Charitable Foundation requesting help finding the son her neighbor gave up for adoption 22 years ago. Haley’s letter causes a chain of events that no one expects or anticipates and brings about changes in her neighbors life, her mom’s life, and the lives of two people at McMillan Corporation, Keith and David. As Keith’s adoptive mom says to him, “we are all shaped by our backgrounds…” Many characters in this book are trying to reconcile their past and move toward a new future. I thought it was a heartwarming story and enjoyed reading about how the new relationships generated by Haley’s letter developed and blossomed. My favorite character was Maureen because she always seemed to have an encouraging word and she exhibited grace and wisdom. My other favorite character was Haley, with her sunny disposition and her candor. In her unfiltered way, Haley was able to express sentiments when the adults were afraid to expose their feelings. And it was her expressions of truth that brought relationships together. I also appreciated that not everything was resolved perfectly, mimicking real life, making the story more believable. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction and a cast of likeable characters. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for an honest review.
Irene Hannon’s One Perfect Spring is a one perfect story, from beginning to end; I didn’t want it to end. The story made it so real life, and yet maybe at times to real. This is a book that once you turn the final page, it will linger with you and you won’t forget. We have not one, but two romances that made me feel like I was one of them. We face head on cancer, and touch on child abuse, and divorce among others. The main characters are rather strong woman and survivors. There is a strong display of Faith shone which tends to lead others to the Lord, in this case a nudge back on the right path. The young lady here, an eleven-year old and quite precocious and loveable begins the story with her kindness and love. She is such a delight and really reminded me of how truthful children can be, and sometimes embarrassing. Oh my!! Say it like it is! There are a few side stories here and some will make you want to cry, the hard decisions of adults, and you see what some of the wrong ones were. A lot of powerful messages here, and as life goes by we let them past, until we run out of time. I for one cannot wait for Ms. Hannon’s next book; it will be on the top of my TBR pile. I received this book through the Revell Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review.
One Perfect Spring By: Irene Hannon This is a excellent book that will keep you glued to it. You got to know if a book is endorsed by Debbie MacComber it is going to be wonderful. The characters are so loveable. Your heart will be going out for them. There are so many things going on in this story adoption, cancer and being a single parent. Claire is a single parent doing her best she can to raise her daughter Haley. Little Haley takes it on herself to write a letter to a very wealthy man. Bottom line on him is he is a workaholic. That is until he gets the letter from Haley. She isn't even asking anything for herself but to help someone else. Now that's different cause most people are always asking for themselves. Will this request bring more then what Haley is asking for? Lives will be changed. I loved this book it is a 5 star book. Well written and I always love books that are God honoring and people relying upon God for answers. I received my free copy from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon Irene Hannon knows how to write romance. One Perfect Spring carried me to that place where nothing else seems to matter except the beautifully written story in front of me. Whether reading about Claire and her daughter, Haley, and the trials of everyday life or Keith’s journey to find peace and understand life, Irene’s well-developed characters and crisp descriptions kept me turning the pages. As much as I enjoyed following Claire and Keith’s story, I loved Maureen and David’s tale of discovery. The stories are woven together like a colorful Jacquard tapestry. If you enjoy well-written stories about love and life, you’ll love One Perfect Spring.