When a favorite customer on his delivery route needs a favor, Tanner Richards agrees to help without a second thought. The last thing he expects is to face off against the man’s spitfire granddaughter.
Crystal Malloy is near her breaking point. Her beloved grandfather constantly skirts the rules at the retirement center where he’s recovering from surgery. She’s caring for his escape artist dog, even if it means abandoning her salon customers, and she has no time for a romantic attraction to the handsome new stranger.
After Tanner’s reassigned to Mystic Creek, Crystal can no longer ignore how much she misjudged the man’s good intentions. She has known too much sorrow to easily open her heart, but she can’t deny that Tanner and his children could gift her with a happiness beyond compare—if only she can forgive herself for the past and accept that she’s deserving of such a love.
This author does slow-paced, down home family, hurting people, and easy going lightly spiced romance like few other’s can. I feel like I’m settling into a comfortable pair of jeans or getting a mug of thick velvety hot cocoa when I pick up one of her books and Spring Forward was no exception.
As the fourth installment in the Mystic Creek series, this book has stepped away from the Sterling family for a bit and takes up the story of two new characters. Not that it matters because Spring Forward, like the other books in the series can standalone just fine.
Spring Forward is actually the story of two couples- an older pair in their winter years and a middle aged pair with some mileage on them. Crystal had a horrific childhood until her crusty grandpa, Tuck, takes her away from it all and raises her on his ranch. Now Tuck is recovering from a bad fall on his hip at an assisted living home where he raises a ruckus because of the marshal-law manager there, his dog Rip is giving Crystal fits, and now she’s gotten Tuck’s friend into trouble for doing a misguided but kind thing. This event leads Crystal and widower with two kids, Tanner, to start a tentative friendship in their shared care for Tuck and Tuck’s stay at the assisted living center gets easier when he makes overtures to a lonely lovely Essie.
Through the story, Crystal is forced to slowly come to terms with her past. She is gunshy of relationships because she has the idea that she’s incapable of not killing or harming any living thing she touches whether its people or animals. She tries to push Tanner away and refuse responsibility for a stray kitten, but its time to face her past if she wants any chance at the future.
For the most part this one would appear to be a string of little scenes and events though there are a good amount of conflict high notes spread throughout. I was cheering Tuck and Crystal on against the Hitler type running the care facility and holding my breath when Crystal was home alone against an intruder.
The romances were sweet and tender, but had their spicy moments that were not quite closed door. I loved following the growing relationships of both couples and loved them together. That said, I felt like this was more a women’s fiction story because though it was prominent, the romance only felt like one of the central elements instead of The element, if that makes sense. I don’t say this because I didn’t like it, but more to give others an idea of what to expect if unfamiliar with the author’s writing style.
There is emotional depth and good development through and through. This book gave me the feels. Rip and Tuck’s antics cracked me up, Tanner had me swooning with his handsome looks, hardworking responsible single dad self, and Crystal’s pain and internal scars nearly broke my heart.
All in all, I enjoyed cozying up to this story and spending many delighted hours engaged between the covers. This is good heartwarming, humorous and very touching small town contemporary romance.
My thanks to Penguin for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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