I recently finished the second book in Denise Hunter’s Bluebell Inn Romance Series, Carolina Breeze. I loved the first one, Lake Season, despite one major frustration with the main character, Molly. This one was a little the same. I loved it, but I ended up giving it four stars instead of five for a few parts that bugged me. It may just be my own pet peeves, though. I’ll go over them and let you draw your own conclusions. Overall, however, I highly recommend this entire series, and I am looking forward to reading the final book, Autumn Skies.
The premise of the entire series is that three siblings decide to fulfill their parents’ dream of opening an inn after their death in a car accident. Levi, Molly, and Grace are the three siblings, and even though they are all very young, they finish renovating the Bluebell Inn and run it themselves. The inn is - obviously - in the North Carolina mountains. Levi is in his mid to late twenties, Molly is in her early twenties and left college to help at the inn full time, and Grace is just graduating from high school in Carolina Breeze. Book one was about Molly, this book was about Levi, and the final book is about Grace.
In Carolina Breeze, movie actress Mia shows up alone at the Bluebell Inn for her honeymoon. Now, immediately, I had to willfully suspend my disbelief. In the first book, a famous bestselling author stays at the inn, and now a famous actress stays there? How are these famous people hearing about this barely surviving inn run by a trio of - well, practically kids? Apparently, Mia and her ex-fiance wanted to be off the grid, but it still seemed a little far-fetched. Oh, and both famous people have old family connections to the Bluebell Inn. How convenient.
Anyways, famous actress Mia shows up, and the Bennett siblings go out of their way to keep it a secret. Levi especially goes above and beyond for Mia, whom he is obviously falling for. Just like in the first book, our main couple discovers a mystery at the inn. This one involves a diamond necklace that could be hidden somewhere in the inn. This diamond is so valuable, it could help save the Bennett siblings from the crushing debt they have incurred trying to get the inn off the ground. This book didn’t get into the mystery part of the story as much as the first one did, however, and there weren’t any flashbacks.
One of the things I liked best about the book was Levi. He was not only a wonderful hero for Mia to fall for, but I could relate to the pressure he felt as an eldest sibling. Though I groaned and shook my head at the way he meddled in his sibling’s lives, I could also understand why he was doing it. It came from a loving place, though it causes a few major conflicts in the story.
I also loved the continuation of Molly and Adam’s story from the first book. They were so adorable, and the two of them in this book made me squeal with happiness. I won’t give you any spoilers, though ;)
As for Mia, the entire time I was picturing Alexa Panavega. I think it’s because Mia grew up in Hollywood but became a Christian later in life. Her physical description sounded like Panavega, too. Since Hallmark likes to make Hunter’s books into movies, maybe Alexa can play Mia one day :)
I liked Mia, and I understood her motivation, but I did wonder how she came to faith in Christ, especially considering her upbringing. Mia was raised by a self-centered, attention hungry B-list actress. It mentions an older lady who worked for Mia’s mom and was like a second mother to her, but the character wasn’t really in the book much. It sort of implies that this woman and her daughter influenced Mia. The only thing I could gather is that they led her to Christ or took her to church or something? It’s never really clear, however.
Despite all that, Mia’s relationship with her mother, who recently passed away, and the wounds from the father who left her are the most moving sections of the book. The most emotional part that literally had me sobbing involved revelations about Mia’s past. I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just warn you: when Mia starts going through her mother’s things, get your tissues ready!
Overall, none of the issues I had wIth this book prevent me from highly recommending it. I never mind far-fetched premises. They’re sort of standard with romances, after all, and if they bothered me that much, I wouldn’t watch Hallmark movies! I say give me a celebrity going on her honeymoon alone so she can fall for the sexy innkeeper any day over a depressing book. You should all know that about me by now! So check out this four star Denise Hunter romance and escape to the beautiful North Carolina mountains. Especially since they are all on sale right now! (See affiliate links below)
I am a former English teacher turned homeschool mom of three who writes Christian romance novels on the side. You know, in my huge amount of spare time.