Monday, December 7, 2020

Still The One: A Deep Haven Novel By Susan May Warren & Rachel D. Russell

Still The One
by Susan May Warren & Rachel D. Russell
Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Series: Deep Haven
ISBN: 978-1953783011

I'll take any opportunity to go back to Minnesota, even if it's through a fictional book! I jumped at the chance to join the launch team for Sunrise Publishing's new series and I was able to read the ARC via my Kindle that they sent me.

Summary:

It's never too late to finish a love story...


Cole Barrett, former Army Ranger, has a new mission objective. Sell his grandfather's house and put Deep Haven, a place that holds too many hurts, in his rearview mirror as fast as possible. Recently divorced, single, and unattached, Cole just wants a new life as a US Marshal. One where he can forget the past and start new.


Unfortunately, there's a tenant in the garage apartment who's refusing to move. Even worse? It's his childhood crush, Megan Carter, and her son.

Wedding planner and single mom Megan Carter loves Deep Haven. To her, it's the place where she makes dreams come true-at least, everyone else's. Her big dream is to purchase the Black Spruce Bed & Breakfast to turn it into a premier event venue and, if she can stay booked for enough weddings over winter, she'll have the needed funds to buy the inn, move out of Grandpa Barrett's garage apartment, and finally give her nine-year-old son, Josh, the life he deserves. She just needs four thousand dollars in the next thirty days. 

Still, she's oh, so close...until Cole Barrett returns to Deep Haven. Even if he's not back to fulfill a silly childhood promise to marry her, but she never expected him to evict her! The last thing she needs is more expenses. Or for another man to walk into her heart...and break it.


When a blizzard strikes Deep Haven, and Megan is overrun with wedding catastrophes, it takes a former Ranger to step in and help. Besides, the more he comes to her rescue, the sooner she'll be able to move out...and he can move on. And that's what they both want, right?


Return to Deep Haven with this magical tale about the one who got away...and came back.


My Review:

How is it possible to feel like I've returned home when I've never even been to Deep Haven? Maybe it's because of the community Susan May Warren has created and the way Rachel D. Russell has jumped in to add more with Still The One.

Being a Minnesota gal, this story absolutely resonated with me. In fact, I read it specifically because I'm from there. I have to tell you, Rachel had me longing for home. I know, I know, you want to hear about the story and the people, but let me get this out of my system first. HA!

Rachel embodied the life and people of Minnesota in Still the One. If you want to know what people are like and what winters might be like, this book will give it to you in spades! I lived in a small town and she captured the community perfectly. Neighbors looking out for each other. People plowing driveways and shoveling sidewalks for others. It's just how we do things. Our small town folks rally alongside one another. I did miss seeing an "ope" here and there. ha ha ha Kidding!

Alrighty, let's talk about the story shall we?

Megan reminded me of a typical Minnesota woman. She's fierce and determined. She's a woman who is ready to take care of business. Single moms know that if something is going to get done, they're the one who needs to do it. For Megan though, it seems it can be to her detriment.

Then there's Cole. Shall we take a collective sigh before we discuss him? S-I-G-H...

Cole is a man's man and on a mission to sell his grandfather's house and be on his way. Rachel describes him in such a way, through Megan thank you very much, that you can't help but know he's well chiseled and looks spectacular in a Henley. He also comes along with a lot of baggage from losing his parents to foster care and then his first marriage. This fella came in like a hot mess.

For me, some of the best stories are the ones with fantastic supporting characters and this one was chock full of them! Those supporting characters are what bring the small town vibe to life! Everyone is invested in each other and that comes out wonderfully in this story.

I also appreciated that there weren't long and winding misunderstandings. I've had it up to here (imagine my hand under my chin) with drawn out, unbelievable ones that make you roll your eyes. In Still the One, Megan and Cole talk things out and don't live in the world of assumptions.

That being said, whew, the tension between Megan and Cole starts when they realize who each other is again after all these years. Cole is selling his grandfather's house, but the problem is, Megan and her son, Josh, live in the garage apartment and she does NOT want to move. To say that Cole's plans derail is putting it mildly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am already set to go back to Deep Haven. I do feel like an outsider since I haven't read all of Susan May Warren's stories set in this series. Now I have to go back and read them so I'm even more familiar with the people and the town. Trust me, you'll want to read them, too. This town will pull you in and you'll never want to leave.

About the Authors:

Rachel D. Russell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers, My Book Therapy's Novel Academy, and is a regular contributor to the Learn How to Write a Novel blog. When Rachel's not cheering on one of her two teens at sporting events, she's often interrogating her husband on his own military and law enforcement experience to craft believable heroes in uniform. The rest of her time is spent cantering her horse down the Oregon trails and redirecting her three keyboard-hogging cats.

Visit Rachel's website at www.racheldrussell.com.

With over 1 million books sold, critically acclaimed novelist Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over seventy-five novels with Revell, Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. Known for her compelling plots and unforgettable characters, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, rom-com and Christmas novellas. 

With books translated into eight languages, many of her novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award.

Of her books, Publisher's Weekly has written, "Warren lays bare her characters' human frailties, including fear, grief, and resentment, as openly as she details their virtues of love, devotion, and resiliency. She has crafted an engaging tale of romance, rivalry, and the power of forgiveness."  

And Library Journal adds, "Warren's characters are well-developed and she knows how to create a first rate contemporary romance..." 

Susan is also a nationally acclaimed writing coach, teaching at conferences around the nation and winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year award. She loves to help people launch their writing careers and is the founder of Novel.Academy and www.LearnHowtoWriteaNovel.com, a writing website that helps authors get published and stay published. She's also the author of the popular writing method, The Story Equation.

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