Review: Home At Chestnut Creek by Laura Drake

Posted July 2, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Home At Chestnut Creek by Laura Drake
Home At Chestnut Creek

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three-flames

Series: Chestnut Creek #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Published by Forever
Released on July 2, 2019
Pages: 624
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

I had my eye on this series when the first book, The Last True Cowboy, released, but didn’t have time to fit it in.  I wanted to try a new to me author and her cowboy romance series, but ended up going with this one instead of book one.

Review

Home at Chestnut Creek picks up the story of prickly, secondary character, Nevada Sweet, from the first book as the heroine and a new character for the hero, Joseph Fishing Eagle King.  He had his own struggles, but is capable of handling all the defensive, scared, socially awkward mouthy stubbornness that Nevada dishes up in large quantities.  Their romance is not easy and it was a good slow burn friends to lovers, but so worth it seeing them grow as individuals and then together as they heal.

As I mentioned, I started with book two.  I managed to get up to speed and could read it as a standalone, but at the same time, I recognized that there was some water under the bridge for Carly and Nevada’s friendship from the first book and of course, Carly and Austin were the couple from book one.

Nevada is running and hiding for her life after messing with some bad people that are part of her complicated, troubled past.  She doesn’t want to bring trouble to Carly’s doorstep and she very much would rather depend on nothing from nobody, but her temporary stopover in Unforgiven, New Mexico and working in Carly’s diner becomes much more than a temporary haven not the least of which is because of Joseph Fishing Eagle King, the diner cook and a Navajo with his own past demons to exorcise.

Joseph is cooking at the diner, teaching the Dine children to appreciate their heritage by making sure they learn the language and the ways of their people even while he also has had a long path of learning, knowing he dishonored his heritage for a time.  But, he made his grandmother a promise and he will keep it even as the stranger wheedles her way into his life.  He saw right through her crusty armor from day one and gets it.  A friendship forms and then more which means that he must make a choice as does Nevada since both were determined on other paths.

Home at Chestnut Creek introduces a heroine that is one of those tough nuts to crack and stays that way for a while.  She’s gotten herself into a bad tangle and comes to a place for help, but she’d rather do anything than act like she needs help or other people.  She’s like an abused dog who snaps and snarls and looks with suspicion on any attempt at help or kindness.  Some folks get really bad breaks in life and have seen and experienced more than their fair share so they develop defense and coping mechanisms.  Nevada took some time to unfurl the true person she could be when not backed to a wall and surviving rather than living.  It took a while, but her true nature had me smiling and excited for her.  There were hints along the way which made me able to keep reading and cheering for her when at first I was struck often by the urge to shake her.  It was good to get an alternating point of view between her and Joseph.

Joseph wasn’t obviously prickly and snarly like Nevada and he’s ahead of her in finding his way so he could both recognize her issues and why she was acting the way she was, patiently handle her carefully, and make a connection with her.  He left the reservation and family and heritage for a time and now he is trying to get all that back with better appreciation though it takes a bit for him to understand that he’s doing it for the wrong reasons- guilt and self-punishment- at first.

I enjoyed the careful description of the Navajo culture and seeing what they struggle with in modern times.  The author took the time to write some good scenes with Joseph and the tribe, his family, and the setting descriptions rang true since I had been through that area a while back and could easily see what the author was describing from the small town, to his hogan house and to the reservation in my mind’s eye.

The careful friends to lovers romance was there running through the whole story, but naturally their wounded lives made it a slow go, but then there was the trouble coming after Nevada, too.  That added a good suspense element because the drug cartel played for keeps and she’d stolen their money and made them lose face.  Nevada and Joseph are so great together.  Sometimes the chemistry is there, but now and then I get a story, like this one, where the author fills it all in and shows the rest of the romance from friendship, to understanding, to working on life’s struggles together is all there as well.  Joseph wore down her stubbornness because he knew she was worth it and she was game to take on a man from a different way of life and his dreams.

So, all in all, this was a fab hard-fought contemporary western romance that I can definitely recommend even while I can guarantee that I’ll be back for more Chestnut Creek series.

My thanks to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #94
COYER Summer #13 POC was a main character

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Lindy@ A Bookish EscapeCarole @ Carole's Random Life in BooksLover Of RomanceCarole RaeKimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer Recent comment authors
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Crystal @ Lost in Storyland
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I love series that explore different characters from the same setting. It’s great that you were able to jump into this series without having read book 1, though it does sound like it’d be fun to read this having the background knowledge from book 1. What’s most interesting to me about this book is how the author takes time to explore Navajo culture in this book. I spent some of my early years in California, and we had opportunities to learn about Navajo culture (though I’ve lost it all over the years). Lovely review as always, Sophia! Thanks for bringing… Read more »

Sophia Rose
Guest

Very cool how you got to get to know the culture while living in California, Crystal. This was a good emotional story. Hope you get the chance. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
Guest

I haven’t read this series but this book seems to touch on subjects that I really enjoy and it sounds good.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, it was fab, Mary. And, hey, our heroine was from Vegas. 🙂

Melliane
Guest

Even better now you can read book 1!!!

Sophia Rose
Guest

You said it, Melliane. I’ll definitely be going back for Carly and Austin’s story. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
Guest

I think I’d enjoy this one Sophia. From the setting to the characters. I am going to grab book one though, after my KU 3 months is up..LOL

Sophia Rose
Guest

Haha, yes, I save my personal books until I don’t have KU and work off my KU list like a fiend until its over. I thought book one was on sale during this one’s release, too.

Carole Rae
Guest

Maybe I’ll check out book 1

Sophia Rose
Guest

I’m definitely going back for it. I think it will be as good since I liked the earlier pair as secondary characters in this one.

Lover Of Romance
Guest

I really do love friends to lovers and I had a fun time with book one so I am really eager to grab up book two here. And after reading your review I know its definitely one I will easily get on board with. Although I am not sure I will care for the heroine too much but I love that the hero is so patient with her.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Glad to know you loved book one, Renee. I’m going back for it.

Yeah, you’ll definitely have to wait out her attitude for a bit. She was a tough cookie. 🙂

Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books
Guest

This sounds really good! I did look at this one but am trying not to grab too many books right now. I really like that they explore a bit of his Navajo culture within the story. I will have to keep this series in mind.

Sophia Rose
Guest

That was how I missed the first one. I was full up at the time and didn’t want to push my luck taking too many review books. This one was great for seeing a different way of life down in the Southwest.

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape
Guest

This sounds like such a wonderful romance. I love learning about the Native American Culture, and Joseph sounds like a wonderful character to get the chance to learn specifically about the modern day Navajo. I like that the setting rang true, and that the author took the time to show you the steady progression and growth of this couple’s relationship. Wonderful Review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
Guest

It was one of those romance that was a lot of work for both people which I like now and then b/c it rings true for many people. The Navajo culture was icing on the cake. 🙂