Sophia Rose is here with her review of Riverbend Reunion by Carolyn Brown. Fans of women’s fiction and romance will want to check out this Texan tale about friendship, romance, second chances and small-town scandals!
by Carolyn Brown
Genres: Women's Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Back home is the best place to start over in a heart-stirring Texas romance about friendship, second chances, and small-town scandals by New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown.
Riverbend, Texas, doesn’t look like the crossroads of anywhere. But for four high school besties reuniting after twenty years, it’s a place to unpack a lot of baggage.
Risa’s headed for divorce, Mary Nell’s been kicked to the curb by her leech of a boyfriend, and Haley was just blindsided by a shocking family secret. But restless army veteran Jessica Callaway, looking to plant roots, has an idea: corral her fellow former cheerleaders and renovate an abandoned church smack-dab in the middle of three dry counties into a bar. Throw in a grill and Wade Granger—a onetime nerd turned surprisingly crush-worthy investor—and their lives are on tap for a turnaround. Amen to that.
Except for one hitch: the white-clapboard dream is causing a ruckus. With a renewed bond, hard work, and the promise of romance, Jessica and her friends aren’t backing down. For Riverbend, this is going to be a homecoming—and a scandal—to remember.
Sophia Rose’s Review
Four high school besties grew up and scattered, but twenty years later, they have all returned to their hometown looking for home, looking for a second chance, and finding more than they could ever hope for. Carolyn Brown’s country charmer celebrates friendship, feistiness, and family in a small town setting.
Riverbend Reunion is a standalone crossover of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. A little country Texas town is the backdrop and the cast of characters represent two ex-military fighting PTSD and lonely as the last in their families, a divorced woman tossed out by husband and unwanted by her own mother to raise her twin teen girls on her own, a school counselor with family secrets, and a woman who helped her husband get to Nashville only for him to ‘out with the old’ on her, and finally, a feisty old gent who will shoot any of the male varmints who broke these women’s hearts. Carolyn Brown excels at multi-generational characters, relationship building, everyday life with a pinch of spice and humor, and conflicts that make it interesting though the tone stays heartwarming and comfortable. This book has all of that.
The main characters are the four women and the plot focuses on them coming home from various past failures to get back on their feet and heal. Jessica’s romance with Wade Granger is also at the forefront. I loved meeting them all, learning what happened in the intervening years since they left high school and home, and seeing them take a slightly outlandish idea and make a go of it.
I loved all the characters- the four women, Mary Ellen’s widowed dad, quiet Wade, the two bubbly teen girls, and oh yes, Risa’s annoying self-righteous mama. The story is told from the women and Wade’s perspectives and keeps a light and fun tone, even though there is some drama to be dealt with. The pacing is easy-going, and the plot is all about this group taking the abandoned church property and turning it into a bar while helping each other face down and fix their problems. I was engaged from the beginning and wanted to see these gals and Wade get past the pain and troubles to something special. There are a few confrontation moments and I had no doubt they would best their opponents, but I appreciated that the author made them vulnerable, but still strong and capable survivors. Family is where you find it and I loved seeing them figure that out.
All in all, it was a fabulous, touching, and often funny read. Loved being with this group of characters and seeing their dreams come together in the quirky bar. Definitely recommend to those who want something light and heartwarming that will leave one smiling.
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Rachel @Waves of Fiction
You know I’m a fan of CB too and this one sounds so good! I love her feisty older characters so much! I’m off to see where I can get this one. Wonderful review, Sophia! 🙂
You’ll love it, Rachel 🙂
Vanessa @ Blushing Geek
Ahhh, just my kind of read <3 Thanks for this awesome review Sophia 🙂
Glad I could introduce you. This was a fun one, Vanessa. 🙂
Carolyn Brown is such a master at these kinds of books. Terrific review, Sophia!
She really is, Wendy. Thanks!
The Texas setting alone has piqued my interest! It sounds like a great summer read!
Laid-back, easy going reading was perfect to beat the summer heat. 🙂
I do enjoy Carolyn Brown’s books and this one sounds delightful. Her characters and humor always pull me in. Great review, Sophia Rose.
Oh yes, they are such feel-gooders. Thanks, Carla!
Oh it lools like a really nice one there! It’s the first time I hear about it!
Very fun! Hope you get the chance, Melliane.