In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, a war vet and a horticulturist share the inheritance of an old mill.
When Sunny Goodwin receives word of an inheritance in the mountains of Virginia from a father she never knew, she doesn’t expect to gain a family. But the additions of a precocious, all-seeing 10-year-old half sister, a force-of-nature stepmother, and a handsome young man—who might be her brother from an extramarital relationship of her father's—to her recently solitary existence lead to gains of all kinds. The first is the inheritance of property on which sits an old silk mill, which her maybe-brother, Sawyer Hartwell, is restoring. As a horticulturist for the U.S. Botanic Garden, Sunny has no need for the mill or what the family has planned for it, but she does fall in love with another part of the property: a greenhouse, beautiful but sadly run-down and consumed by the nature around it. As Sunny’s relationships with the family, including her finally-revealed-to-be not-brother Sawyer in particular, grow, the pair struggles to reconcile their personal goals with their strong desire for each other. Kauffman (Starfish Moon, 2016, etc.) is masterful at scene painting, which draws the reader into the idyllic setting of Blue Hollow Falls and its surrounding ridges, but her storytelling is lacking. Even had the fact that the love interests are not, in fact, siblings, been verified far sooner than it is, the pacing and conversations are off just enough to be noticeable. The overall story, however, is compelling and cute once readers aren’t worried about incest, and this is the start of a promising series.
A nice story that, while a bit plodding, is fresh in ideas and scenery.