By Kelly Bridgewater
When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married.
When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.
As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?
Denise Hunter's Sweetbriar Cottage is a heart-warming tale of love, acceptance, and leaving the past behind. Hunter is a master at diving deep into issues that plague people today. Sweetbriar Cottage centers around a ex-married couple who never stopped loving each other, but circumstances forced them apart. Hunter dove into the emotions of the heroine and the hero and brought these characters to life. With a fast moving plot, I truly allowed myself to pass the time with Noah and Josephine. Hunter is great at bringing the setting to life for me with her use of descriptive language. I had no problem visualizing the cabin and the horse barn surrounded by inches of snow. The story does slip into Josephine's past, so I could understand more of the situations that drew Noah and her apart. Hunter labeled each chapter when she slipped to the past and then moved back to the present to keep me grounded in the action. The problem I had with the novel was the cover. Once you read the book, you will notice that the entire story takes place during a huge snowstorm in Georgia, so why does the cover show a sunset in a blooming meadow? The publisher should have went with a snow covered scene. Overall, the story had a redemptive heroine and a selfless hero who I rooted for while their romance pushed to the final chapter. Fans of Hunters other's works should pick this book up. It will fit nicely with her other books on your shelf or your Kindle.
I received a complimentary copy of Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson Publishing, and the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
How would you feel if the cover was misleading to the setting, action, or appearance of the characters? Would it affect how you viewed the story? Or is it just the cover and your imagination should run wild once the book opens?