book, Book Review

Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

About the Book:Book - Here to Stay
Author: Melissa Tagg
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author, Publisher / Fiction Addict
Publication Date: 2014
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Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Series: Where Love Begins, Book 2
Rating: 5 out of 5

Coming back to a character we’ve already met as a secondary persona can be something of a risk if not placed in the most skillful hands. Not because readers don’t like catching up with those characters (we do!), but because sometimes your idea of them doesn’t match up with what their more subtle (even mysterious) presence as a sidekick character begins. Returning home to Whisper Shore Michigan wasn’t an easy choice for Blake Hunziker, who has lived a nomad’s life for years, but what he didn’t expect was a hero-like welcome upon his return – especially from his parents. When small town living gets in the way of forgetting, and Blake crosses paths with old friends who blame him for the tragedy they were left behind to heal from, Blake is also reunited with Autumn Kingsley the girl who dreams of travel. Autumn not only runs the only inn in competition with the Hunziker family’s upscale hotel, she is also the one girl his family wouldn’t approve of. So why then, are the two of them continuously drawn to each other?

One of Christian fiction’s sparkling new talents, Melissa Tagg returns to her cozy corner of fiction, inviting us to again, swoon over the adorableness of Blake, who just so happened to play a significant role in the author’s well-received debut, Made to Last. In his introduction (from MTL), Blake coped with his role – and the past – by diverting to humor and become the sometimes-comedic sidekick, which is something that can be iffy for a hero who is meant to anchor an entire novel – finding that balance between “funny” and hero-ready can be tough. But fortunately, from his experiences, Blake has grown into a mature, well-meaning person who, yes, has moments of comic genius but rises to the status of hero with all the proper creds. Similarly, Autumn is a special leading lady. In her, there is an image created that many of us will relate to – between her love of a night in with a good book and her wish to travel the world, it’s not hard to see why readers would see themselves reflected in Autumn.

To be honest, I had a difficult time getting “into” this book. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, it was more as a result of coming off a reading stretch that was overwhelming. Happily what Melissa’s “style” is so good at is charming her readers – so completely we’re loathe to leave any of the worlds within the pages of the book. She has a smashing voice for contemporary romance one reason being, she tosses in cute pop culture references (something any frequent visitor to her blog will instantly “get”) and her sense of humor is unparalleled. Expertly weaving in the backstory of these characters – most especially Blake, and making the title of Here to Stay shine through in every vignette of this sophomore novel (as well as suggesting, the author is indeed going to enjoy longevity) means this is easy to fall in love with, everything from the setting (hello, quaint) to the character’s grounds this story – oh, and as a fun bonus, we get to catch up with the famous Randi Woodruff. Visiting Whisper Shore is like tugging on your favorite sweater – both familiar and comfort comingles to sweep us up into a sweet prodigal story with more than one complication; complications that make the story building stronger and allows the characters to shine as genuine. Basically, contemporary romance readers are definitely clamoring for Melissa Tagg to be here to stay. For a long time to come.

A version of this review appeared on Fiction Addict.

Synopsis: Blake Hunziker has played nomad for five years and landed in his fair share of trouble too. But now he’s finally returning to his hometown–the Lake Michigan tourist town of Whisper Shore. Counting on a not-so-warm welcome, he’s surprised at not only a positive reception but also a job offer. Determined to settle down and prove himself responsible, he agrees to the catch that comes with the job offer–coordinating the annual Christmas festival–even though he has no idea how he’ll pull it off.

Autumn Kingsley, inn owner and experienced organizer of the Christmas festival, has always dreamed of traveling the world. Now she has a job opportunity in Paris and a surprise potential investor coming to town who just might take on her family’s inn and finally leave her free to go. The only problem is that she has just two weeks to whip the inn into shape.

Their families have a long history of not getting along, but when Blake comes to Autumn for help with the festival, she actually agrees…in exchange for his help with the repairs to her inn. They may have struck a simple deal, but complications are quick to pile on when the guy who’s had enough of running away and the woman who can’t wait to leave join forces. – Goodreads

Coming Next from Melissa Tagg: Melissa’s next novel takes place in the world of moviemaking, and will arrive Spring 2015!

Sincere thanks to the author, Melissa Tagg (and Bethany House) and Fiction Addict for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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