Series: Haven Point #2
Published by HQN Books on 6/30/15
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher through NetGalley
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Also in this series: Snow Angel Cove, Evergreen Springs, Riverbend Road, Snowfall on Haven Point, Serenity Harbor, Sugar Pine Trail, The Cottages on Silver Beach
Also by this author: A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise, Snow Angel Cove, The Christmas Ranch, Evergreen Springs, A Cold Creek Christmas Story, Riverbend Road, Snowfall on Haven Point, The Holiday Gift, Serenity Harbor, Sugar Pine Trail, The Rancher's Christmas Song, The Cottages on Silver Beach, Sleigh Bells Ring
McKenzie Shaw would do anything for her beloved hometown of Haven Point. It may be small and struggling, but it's never let her down…unlike gorgeous, infuriating Ben Kilpatrick. He was her childhood hero until he closed his family's factory, leaving the town's economy in shambles. Now he's back—his tech firm is considering opening a local facility. For Haven Point's sake, McKenzie has to grit her teeth and play nice.
What could a town filled with painful memories ever offer Ben? He left Haven Point behind years ago, for good reason. Yet seeing the town through the eyes of McKenzie—its fiery young mayor—he suddenly has his answer. If only he can resolve the animosity crackling between them, Ben may have found the place where he can build ties and find healing…a place where love arrives when it's least expected.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
After Snow Angel Cove introduced Haven Point, a Montana lakeshore town with a depressed economy but a strong sense of community, I wondered how soon we would meet everyone’s most hated former resident, Ben Kilpatrick. Ben’s decision to close the boat factory that employed a third of the town was bad enough. His neglect of the remaining business properties he owned – a good portion of Haven Point’s downtown – only made things worse. McKenzie Shaw, recently elected mayor of Haven Point, has never forgiven him.
Now Ben is back, and he’s not any happier to be there than mayor McKenzie is to see him. Too bad he’s renting the house next door – and she’s also never gotten over her childhood crush on him.
The romance in Redemption Bay is fairly predictable, but it’s written with such charm and warmth and features such likeable characters that the predictability hardly matters. I enjoyed my second visit to Haven Point almost as much as my first. Rika, McKenzie’s cinnamon standard poodle, doesn’t add quite as much heartstring-tugging cuteness as Maddie, the little girl in Snow Angel Cove (review), but she’s a welcome addition to the cast. We do get a chance to see Aiden, Eliza, and Maddie again, and there’s a second-chance romance between two secondary characters, but most of the action is firmly centered on McKenzie and Ben. They are drawn to each other despite McKenzie’s anger and distrust, and Ben’s evident reluctance to get involved – with her or with the town. As you might guess, Ben has personal reasons for staying away so long, and McKenzie’s life hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, either. Their pasts help each of them to understand and sympathize with the other. But it’s not until disaster threatens the whole town that Ben begins to understand McKenzie’s devotion to the place, and to rethink his own relationship to Haven Point.
I always enjoy RaeAnne Thayne’s heartwarming romances, as much for their idyllic Rocky mountain settings as for the romantic relationships. Thayne is really good at creating small mountain towns – not perfect places, but communities where the majority of people care about others and pull together in an emergency. I’d love to vacation in Haven Point – or even live there. I’m looking forward to my next visit to the town!