Series: Eternity Springs #7
Published by Ballantine on 11/05/13
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: Mistletoe Mine, Dreamweaver Trail, Teardrop Lane, Heartsong Cottage, Reunion Pass, Christmas in Eternity Springs
Also by this author: Mistletoe Mine, Dreamweaver Trail, Teardrop Lane, Heartsong Cottage, Reunion Pass, Christmas in Eternity Springs, Boone
After tragedy strikes his team, college basketball coach Lucca Romano arrives in the haven of Eternity Springs to reassess his life. Even a winning record and big offers can’t dent the wall of guilt that Lucca has built around himself. Nothing can—except maybe a vibrant new neighbor who won’t give up on him.
Schoolteacher Hope Montgomery believes in miracles. She has to believe—because giving up would mean crumbling under the greatest loss a parent can endure. Hope understands Lucca’s suffering; she lives it herself every day. However, the high school team needs his coaching expertise, so she sets out to draw him from his cold, solitary shell and into the warmth of life in their small Rocky Mountain town. But when a weak moment leads to consequences that shake Hope’s faith, it’s up to Lucca to put aside his heartache and show the teacher that here in Eternity Springs broken hearts can heal—just in time for Christmas.
How can a book be heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time? Emily March manages it in style in her latest romance set in the fictional town of Eternity Springs, Colorado. Hope Montgomery is well named. She’s a warm, vivacious woman who loves her job as kindergarten teacher, bus driver, and basketball coach. But Hope is also coping — silently and alone — with one of the worst things that can happen to a parent. As a mother, I found Hope’s pain and guilt wrenching and utterly believable, and I admired her determination to live as full and happy a life as she could despite her loss. I don’t know if I could be that strong — though it’s a fragile strength which comes crashing down on more than one occasion.
I also understood Lucca Romano, a former college basketball coach filled with guilt, fear, and anger after a car accident killed several of his players. His family (some of whom series fans will recognize from previous novels) have dragged him home to Eternity Springs to heal… but it doesn’t seem to be working until he meets Hope. In some ways, Hope is a little closer to healing than Lucca just by virtue of having had more time, but she still has her bad times, as does Lucca — and when she does, they’re really bad. Hope and Lucca’s journeys toward both healing and giving and accepting love are occasionally rocky, but I loved the ways each of them found to give one another help and courage along the way.
The rest of the Romano family appear frequently, since most of them live in Eternity Springs, and there are subplots involving Gabi’s career and matriarch Maggie’s attempts to rebuild her life after her husband’s death a year earlier. A number of other recurring characters make an appearance, and it can be a little tough to keep everyone straight if you haven’t read the previous novels. (I missed a few, and I can see I’m going to need to go back and catch up.) But the main focus remains on Hope and Lucca, so that’s a minor quibble. Their relationship isn’t without sparks, even a little sizzle, but there’s nothing gratuitous or particularly graphic; it’s their emotional journey, not the physical one, that remains front and center.
Miracle Road isn’t strictly speaking a Christmas novel, since it begins in late summer and culminates after Christmas, but the spirit of redemption and renewal pervades the novel, making it a thoroughly satisfying holiday read.
The Eternity Springs series in order:
Mistletoe Mine (novella)
Miracle Road (this review)
Dreamweaver Trail (coming in summer 2014)