One Day in Apple Grove by C.H. Admirand

APPLE
One Day in Apple Grove by C.H. Admirand
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (303 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Caitlin Mulchahy doesn’t have much time for socializing now that her sisters’ handyman business is thriving. For Dr. Jack Gannon—former Marine medic—keeping the residents of Apple Grove healthy is a welcome distraction from the haunting memories of his time served in Iraq. Although the two have lived in the same small town their whole lives, Cait and Jack barely know each other. That is until a stray puppy leads them to the same place at the same time. But it will take more than one adorable canine to get these two together—it’ll take a whole town.

Hometown hero returns to live a normal life after serving in the military – sounds like something a soldier would do. But how often does a person read about him rushing out to save a puppy to end up with a master carpenter named Caitlin? That adorable little puppy is part of a masterful plot by the author to bring about a wonderful well-told romance for readers to enjoy.

If a reader is looking to escape overwrought angst, diabolical criminals and only wants a sweet and satisfying romance story, then this tale fits the bill. I had no idea about Ms. Admirand’s storytelling voice and I was pleasantly surprised. It was refreshing because it hones in on three basic things, Jack, Caitlin and Jameson, the puppy. This is a character driven romance and they were a delight to get to know.

As a reader can well imagine, coming back from war when one has seen action and loss of life is a major adjustment. Many times there are not only physical injury but emotional/mental as well. That is Jack’s conflict.

Caitlin’s is more about balancing the family dynamic, which seems to be changing, and her feelings for Jack. Her character is faced with trying to balance her dreams of her youth to the dreams and expectations of the woman she’s become.

Jameson just wants a happy and loving home. The key is ‘loving’. It’s through the little furry dynamo that a reader has the door opened to the growing relationship between the hero and heroine. And the author didn’t’ miss a trick when it came to the care and wellbeing of the beloved canine. Jamie wasn’t a prop but a part of a growing little family. His importance plays a key role later on and is the cause of the only outside conflict. It’s short but effective and powerful.

Unlike the puppy, it took Jack a lot longer to figure things out because he had so much healing to do. He knew the basics and did what he could but it was the vocalization of what happened and facing it that he didn’t know quite how to go about. I really felt for him. He was such a wonderful and giving person – there for everyone and anyone that needed help. Yet, he had a really hard time accepting help for himself.

Enter the secondary characters. Caitlin’s dad is one smart man, same with Jack’s. That family dynamic is what I believe makes this an extra special story. There’s respect, genuine caring and no added drama about dysfunctional families. They have their quirks, to be sure, but there is a love that has nothing to do with the physical which permeates this book. I found it enchanting. Then throw in the community at large and how they interacted and I got that warm and fuzzy feeling. This was a real place, with real people and they come together when it means the most. The author captures that small town atmosphere perfectly.

Yes, Caitlin and Jack do get together in the sheet sense but it’s mild and sweet compared to some I’ve read. And a couple of the scenes actually lead to more emotional and revealing writing regarding the conflict. It’s all good.

One Day in Apple Grove is a special treat of a romance that’s not to be missed. It made me feel good after reading it and reinforced my belief that love between average people motivates them to do above average things in pursuit of the happily ever after.

Sometimes the book inspired laughter, other times introspection but it was always entertaining and engrossing. This was a great people story and worth taking the time to read – especially if a reader is softhearted like me who likes puppies to have happy-ever-afters too.

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