Ryan Howard is still reeling from the death of his wife and struggling to hold life together for himself and his three kids. When Holly Cresinski (aka, actress Hope Creswell) walks up to his door and into his life, a girlfriend is the last thing on Ryan’s to do list. But Ryan teaches Holly to do things for herself and, despite the guilt he has over the feelings, he can’t deny his attraction to her. Can Ryan and Holly overcome lies, guilt, betrayal, and fear and find their way to happily ever after?
Read on for my review!
“Could a town look kind? Because Pine Harbour did.”
If you’ve read the first two books in this series, Love in a Small Town
and Love in a Snowstorm (read my review here), you know that this, Holly’s first impression of Pine Harbour, is so very true. I absolutely love the world that Zoe York has created in Pine Harbour, and I really kind of want to move there now (Hey Zoe, can we make that happen?). Love on a Spring Morning doesn’t disappoint in carrying forward the beauty and homey-ness of Pine Harbour established in the first three books.
“Milk to drink. No complaints, no whining, or I’ll cancel Christmas.”
One of the biggest and most immediate appeals this book had for me was the realism of parent/child dynamics. I believed everything Ryan said to or did with his kids, because they’re the kinds of things I say to and do with my own kids. That, to me, is huge. As a parent, if I’m going to be reading a character with kids, I want it to be believable. Let’s face it, parenting is at once hard as shit and funny as hell, and Zoe York manages to capture that beautifully.
“But this wasn’t about seeing a good-looking man. This was about seeing one doing something as mundane as cooking his kids dinner. He’s like the town, she thought to herself. Real and normal and unlike anything she’d ever had before.”
Love on a Spring Morning also has a lot of emotional complexity lending it depth and truth. The hero, Ryan, is managing well considering his new single dad status, but he certainly does NOT have his emotional baggage handled (and really, I can’t blame him). I hope to never find myself in Ryan’s situation, but if I did, I hope I would manage it half as well as Ryan. Let me explain: Yes, I often found myself bristling at things that Ryan would say or do to Holly, but when I think about it? He is, at heart, a protective father. His kids have been hurt beyond measure by the death of their mother, so Ryan puts their well-being before his own in an effort to save them from any further pain. So, while I, as a reader, wanted to be annoyed with him, I found that I couldn’t, in good conscience, blame him for being a good dad.
Part of what makes a “perfect” relationship perfect, in my opinion, is complementing one another. Where Ryan is closed off and hesitant, Holly is open and enthusiastic. She’s also way more understanding than I would be, which is exactly what Ryan needs. Holly wants to be loved and appreciated for who she is, not what she does, so she hides certain aspects (like fame and fortune…) from Ryan, making every interaction more tense as you wonder if this will be the moment he discovers the truth. And while I wanted to throttle her for every missed opportunity to come clean with Ryan, a part of me also understands and respects that she would want to revel a little in the affection that she gets from Ryan totally on her own merits, and not because she’s Hope Creswell. And really, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a cute,”lumbersexual” man who appreciates a woman for who she is?
Love on a Spring Morning was, I think, the most difficult Pine Harbour book yet, and not because it’s bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is so full of real life, that sometimes you have to set it down and breathe. But in the end? What you get to take away is so very beautiful. Get your copy here!