Saturday, November 14, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: Jessie Belle by Jennifer Peel

Jessie Belle (The Women of Merryton, Book 1), by Jennifer Peel
2015, 317p, Clean Contemporary Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the author for an honest review

Nestled in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, lies the quaint town of Merryton, Colorado. You will never find finer people or better friends. But try keeping a secret in Merryton and you will soon find that the good townspeople are better than any private investigator or undercover journalist. The men and women of Merryton are like living barometers, and when a storm is brewing in the life of one of their own, they are sure to get to the bottom of it--and forecast it on the Merryton grapevine.

Jessica and Blake Summers know a thing or two about what it’s like to be the latest and greatest news on the vine. Their thirteen year marriage has had more than its fair share of heartache and loss. Then the past comes knocking, in the form of a teenage girl, a daughter Blake never knew existed. The news sets the Merryton grapevine on fire.

In the wake of this revelation and firestorm, Blake and Jessica are forced to reevaluate their own relationship and priorities, all while learning that raising a teenage girl is not for the faint of heart. But in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, they discover that Madeline may just be what the doctor ordered to heal their broken hearts and mend their own tattered relationship.

Will they have the courage to look forward and find a greater love than they could ever imagine? Or will past hurts and the town grapevine tear them apart?

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Jennifer Peel is the mother of three amazing kiddos. Wife to her one and only for the past twenty-one years. Lover of late night talks, beach vacations, the mountains, pink bubble gum ice cream, tours of model homes, and southern living. She can frequently be found with her laptop on, fingers typing away, indulging in chocolate milk, and writing out the stories that are constantly swirling through her head.

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I looked forward to something, too. I turned my attention back to my husband, who was walking my way. Maddie and Katie had already skipped off and were sitting at the counter talking to the café cashier.
“What are you doing here?”
“Why do you always ask me that when I come here? I thought it was obvious by now.”
“I know how you love dessert,” I teased.
He shook his head at me. “I do love something here.”
“The fireplace?”
“It is nice.”
“If you’re interested I can give you the name and number of the builder.”
“I heard he’s busy with his wife.”
“She can be a handful.”
“You have no idea.”
I loved the playful conversation, but I realized we were having it in front of a captivated audience. My little ladies were still there and looking like they had landed front row seats to the best show in town.
I reached out and took Blake’s hand. “Follow me,” I whispered. I pulled him to the hall that led to the back offices. As soon as we turned the corner I backed up against the wall and looked up into those beautiful eyes of his that were shining down on me. “So what are you really doing here?”
He placed his hand above my head and leaned down toward me and barely brushed my lips with his. “I’ve missed you this week.”
“Are you done at the Andersons’ place?” I asked a little out of breath. His kisses had that effect on me.
“You’ll be done before the game, right?”
“I’m not going to miss the game.”
That was good news. We were playing Riley’s Insurance and I had a good feeling this year. We hadn’t lost a game yet and this was the best team we had ever had. “Are you working late tonight?”
“Unfortunately. I have to head back in a few minutes.”
“I’m glad you stopped by, then.”
He leaned in and his lips found mine. My hands landed nicely on his chest as our lips fell into sync and the pressure built until his mouth invited mine to open. When the invitation was taken, he groaned low and pressed my body against the wall with his own. My hands moved up his chest and back through his hair. For a minute I forgot we were at the café and why I had any issue at all with physical affection. I had missed us.
With the sound of a glass breaking in the distance, we were brought back to our senses and our lips unlocked. I let out a deep breath. “Uh, wow.”
His hand found its spot back above my head as he leaned toward me, but there was now some space between us. “I second that.”

Jessica and Blake are married and are having some issues. Right at the beginning, Blake drops a bomb on her: He has recently heard from her former roommate, Sabrina, who is dying and has just informed him that he has a thirteen-year-old daughter, Madeline. This is devastating news to her, but even more so since they have not been able to have children of their own.

Needless to say, the tension between them escalates as Jessica tries to come to terms with this news and what it will mean for them. She makes a decision to work on herself. There are ups and downs along the way as they figure out their relationship.

Jessica and Blake were dealing with a situation beyond their control: infertility. Rather than bringing them together, it was tearing them apart. Their situation was heartbreaking and there were dramatic moments. I did feel frustration with each of them at different times, but it was good to see that they were each willing to put some effort into their relationship. They were real and flawed which made them easy to relate to.

Even though this is a fairly heavy subject, there were some light moments and humor. When Madeline came, Jessica decided she was going to channel her inner Maria von Trapp and that made for some funny moments. It was an adjustment for them to have a teenager all of a sudden and it wasn't smooth sailing, but each of them grew throughout the book.

So, Jennifer Peel does it again! I have loved every book of hers that I've read and this was no exception. Once I started, it was hard to put down. It was an emotional read and I'm happy to say that I loved the ending! I'm already looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

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Unknown said...

Thank you for being part of the tour and for the terrific review! I'm happy you enjoyed the book!

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