By Kelly Bridgewater
Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe—a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?
Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.
As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.
Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter is a good mixture of romance and mystery. The novel begins with like a typical contemporary romance novel, but then Hunter ends the novel with a mystery element. Filled with intrigue and betrayal, Blue Ridge Sunrise focuses on the romance between Zoe and Cruz while telling a story of past hurts being rekindled.
The writing was clear and concise. I believe Hunter's greatest strength is her ability to capture her character's emotions spot on. Both of the characters Zoe and Cruz were developed with deep wounds and dark moments in their past. Both the heroine and hero wanted to move on from their past and learn to accept the present with their current choices, even if it includes both of them.
The romance moved a little fast, but then again, Zoe and Cruz had a past that had been resurrected after five years of separation. Zoe and Cruz had to face the reality of their past and change their outlook on the present and the future. As expected, the predictable ending of a contemporary romance did occur with the happily-ever-after.
The plot reminded me a lot of Catherine West's The Memory of You except her story takes place in a vineyard, and Hunter takes place in a peach orchard. Zoe has a daughter, and West's heroine does not. Both stories feature heroines who come back to a family place because of a death in the family, and they are supposed to take charge of the place. Both run into past love and watch the sparks fly.
Overall, Blue Ridge Sunrise is a happy, go-lucky story that I'm sure fans of contemporary romance will devour and love, but for me, this novel by Hunter really did nothing for me. The story was predictable and had the touch of another contemporary romance novel. Even though the this novel was not my favorite by Hunter, I will still give her more chances.
I received a complimentary copy of Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars