by Shirlee McCoy
Series: Apple Valley #1
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Contemporary Romance
In Apple Valley, Washington, friends are always near, neighbors have no secrets—even if they'd like to—and long-held wishes have a way of coming true… Interior designer Tessa McKenzie has built a good life far from her Washington hometown. She intends to get back to it—as soon as she sells the cluttered Victorian house and antiques shop she inherited from her sister, Emily. But leaving Apple Valley a second time won't be so easy. There's her grieving nephew, Alex, to consider. And there's Sheriff Cade Cunningham, the adolescent crush who could easily break her heart again if she let him. To Cade, Tessa was simply his high school sweetheart's kid sister. But now there's no denying she's a beautiful and caring grown woman, one he'd like to get to know. Except that Tessa is determined to leave again. If Cade wants to change her mind, he'll have to show her that small-town life has its lovable side—and that he does too. Most of all, he'll have to convince Tess they're good together, and that every step has led her right where she was always meant to be…
Shirlee McCoy’s The House on Main Street the first novel in the Apple Valley series takes us to the small town of Apple Valley, Washington. I love small-town settings and rich characters. McCoy delivered with feisty characters, a friends to lovers trope and a mystery. I found myself completely caught up in this charming tale. Mini review: Mixed with humor, romance and love. A little boy who will steal your heart and mystery made this an enchanting read.
Tess McKenzie, a successful interior designer, left her small town in Washington for the city lights and never looked back. Her life is altered when she inherits her sister’s Victorian house and antiques shop. While her life will forever be changed by the death of her sister, she plans to return to her life. That task proves to be difficult, her grieving nephew Alex and her opinionated Aunt have other ideas. Then there is Cade, who is was her childhood best friend and her sister’s childhood sweetheart. Cade wants her to stay, now he just has to convince her that small-town life has it perks. The tale that unfolds was delightful with characters that made me laugh, shed a tear and swoon.
McCoy created some memorable characters starting with Alex, Emily’s son, and Tess’s nephew. This poor little fellow has lost his parents and now Aunt Tessa wants to move him from his home. Alex has autism, and he added a unique and powerful thread to this tale. Tess is very successful in her career but has quite a few issues starting with her feelings for Cade. I liked Tess, and felt her struggles in dealing with the loss of her sibling and the fallout from her death. She is both strong and vulnerable. Tess’s Aunt is perhaps the most colorful character, a real firecracker of a woman with an odd wardrobe. She is snarky, feisty, temperamental and wears her heart on her sleeve. The outlandish things she did and said kept me laughing throughout the novel. Zimmerman, the next door neighbor, is a cantankerous old fool who causes trouble. Cade, as sheriff is the glue that holds the town together, and townsfolk from the mayor to the Reverend look to him for assistance. I liked Cade, and his attraction to Tess was clear. McCoy hinted at his desires, and regrets letting us see the softer side of him. Friends since childhood Tess and Cade’s trip from friends to lovers was rocky, and tender. I certainly enjoyed watching it unfold.
The House on Main Street takes place shortly before the Christmas holiday adding a nice holiday theme, but it also has elements of mystery, suspense, growth and hope. The romance is slow to build and squeaky clean, but McCoy makes it all very endearing. While the story has an air of predictability, McCoy adds in some clever twists and messages that kept me engaged. Her voice is clear, and she draws you in from the first few pages as the characters and surroundings spring to life. While not heavily detailed I could clearly see the town, the park and Victorian home. The colorful characters are what made this tale so enjoyable and have me yearning to visit Apple Valley again.
Fans of small-town stories with mystery, warm characters and sweet romances will adore The House of Main Street and Apple Valley. The next book, The Cottage on the Corner is set to release in August of 2014, and I look forward to reading it.
Four cups of coffee out of five
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