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About the book:
A story of love and second chances. She wished she could go back and change things . . . but life doesn't give do-overs. Could anything but good-byes be waiting on the other side of Sweetwater Gap?
Josie Mitchell's sister Laurel thinks she's come home to pitch in with the apple harvest and save the family orchard. Her brother-in-law Nate thinks she's there to talk the overworked, very pregnant Laurel into finally selling the family business. The orchard's new manager Grady Mackenzie just thinks she's trouble with a capital T. They're all right . . . and all wrong. Because no one really knows what drove Josie from home in the first place. Why she's never come home before, even for her own father's funeral. Why she pushes herself so hard... and what she's running from. And nobody, not even Josie, is prepared for the surprising new fruit she'll find on her last trip home.
My, my, Sweetwater Gap was a heartwarming romance that went well beyond my initial expectations. Denise Hunter writes great romance novels--and I expected that--but this was her best yet. Few authors do allegories well, and if you look at Sweetwater Gap and Surrender Bay from a purely allegorical point of view, it's impossible to not be impressed with the amazing job the author did with both of them.
I have never read a story with a more emotionally effective and believeable plot that exemplifies Christ's redemptive work on the cross related to our utter unworthiness of his sacrifice. Sweetwater Gap drives that point home in a fresh way and does so in a very effective and memorable manner. All I can say is...WOW. I can see why the Women of Faith picked up this book. It's perfect for that type of inspirational conference.
What amazed me most about this novel was the author's ability to take an utterly selfish and self-condemning act and make the reader totally see their own heart through the story. The character was sympathetic despite what she was doing. NOT an easy task. Ms. Hunter executed that perfectly. The story slowly revealed the conflict and at the same time revealed a little bit more and a little bit more of her heart, thus making for perfect characterization. And the slowly developing trust in their romantic relationship was so believeable and gratifying it will make you want to sigh as the hero and heroine take baby steps toward each other and risk their hearts. He had valid reasons for not trusting women, but it didn't feel contrived like it does in some romances. His issues seemed totally valid, as did hers.
In short, Sweetwater Gap was powerful, emotionally evocative, and the type of story that will not only touch your heart, but have you wanting to talk to your friends about the story because it was so incredibly well done. This is a book that I could even *gasp* read twice, and still enjoy every page. Did I mention that Denise Hunter writes amazing kissing scenes? They are always SO heart-engaging that they sweep me away EVERY time. Highly recommended.
Sweetwater Gap was published by Thomas Nelson and released in December 2008.