Book Talk Tuesday: Restoring Heritage Series

Happy Tuesday and talking about books. This isn’t a normal book review. It isn’t even a two-fer. It’s a four-fer. Or a two+two-fer.

I had the opportunity recently to read Tari Faris’s new series, Restoring Heritage. It consists of a prequel novella, then two novels, then an interim novella, while we wait for novel #3.

The books are set in the small town of Heritage, Michigan and like all the best series have characters who pop in and out of each others’ stories.

Heritage seems to be dying. Businesses are leaving, storefronts are empty, and houses are vacant.

In P.S. GOODBYE, Caroline and Leah Williams are trying to keep their family business afloat. Caroline is also trying to start a new business as a life coach. So when a wounded former Special Forces operator returns to town needing a job, they agree to help out each other. But it can’t be that simple, can it? No, it can’t.

The first full length novel, YOU BELONG WITH ME, is Luke and Hannah’s story. Best friends and next-door-neighbors in high school, they’re now all grown up and still friends, even though both of them want more, but believes the other doesn’t see them “that way,” and that they aren’t worthy of the other.

Hannah is a Realtor, desperate to save the historic homes and shops of Heritage, and somehow redeem her family’s tarnished name. But her every plan and idea is stymied by a local developer wanting to buy the downtown buildings and put in a strip mall.

Luke has his own reasons for helping Hannah and growing closer to her, then retreating. It takes news that shatters everything he thought he knew about his past to bring him to embrace his future. The local pastor, Nate, two sisters Janie and Olivia, and Hannah’s brother, Thomas, are secondary characters.

Novel #2, UNTIL I MET YOU, is Nate and Olivia’s story, along with Nate’s brother, a newcomer to Heritage and another newcomer. This is a story of second chances and redemption, and I’m afraid to say much more would be to give away too many spoilers.

The final installment (so far) is a Christmas novella, WHILE IT WAS SNOWING. This is about one of Olivia and Janie’s brothers Gideon and his friend and co-worker, Dan. That is Danielle. He suddenly realizes she’s a–gasp–girl–when he sees her for the first time at a wedding.

Danielle can’t get wait to get out of the dress and back to Gideon treating her like one of the guys. Although if she’s honest with herself, she kind of liked how he looked at her. Like something inside him was finally seeing her.

All four stories work great as stand-alones, but they mesh together well, too. I really enjoyed them. Faris does a fabulous job at weaving in spiritual truths without preaching. The stories are well constructed and well told.

I highly recommend them!

What’s your favorite small town series?

Media Monday: Sweet Magnolias

A new-to-me Netflix series, Sweet Magnolias, was my weekend escape. I’m halfway through Season 1, and I understand it ends on a cliffhanger, so I’m trusting there will be a Season 2.

SMSweet Magnolias is set in Serenity, South Carolina and is about three women, friends since high school. Maddie, newly divorced, mom of three. Helen, single, attorney, accomplished. Dana Sue, longer divorced, mom of one, restaurateur. They go into business together, renovating a historic home and turning it into a spa. The series follows their lives, their romances, their families.

I haven’t read the books the series is based on, by Sherryl Woods. I’ve heard good things about them, but honestly, my To-Be-Read (TBR) mountain is teetering so high, I don’t dare add any more to it. At least until I get the current stack to a more manageable height. If you love small town Southern romances with strong female characters and deep friendships, I feel safe in saying you’d love the books.

The series is good, even if I can’t personally compare it to the books.

SH

I like the characters. I loved Brooke Elliott, who plays Dana Sue, as Jane Bingum in Drop Dead Diva back in 2009-2014. She was ditzy blonde model who was killed in an accident and sent back to life on Earth in a smart, brunette attorney’s curvy body. Ms Elliott was brilliant in that.

I’m enjoying this as a new find.

Anyone have something new to recommend?

My Netflix and Amazon Prime lists are not quite as bulging as my TBR stack.