Mountain Meadow Homecoming series
by Laura Browning
A haven in his arms….
Welcome to Mountain Meadow, Virginia, where homecomings lead to happily ever after…
Tabitha MacVie has come to Mountain Meadow to meet the sister she never knew, and find the family she longs for. What she discovers is a close-knit community determined to close ranks against the new art teacher, especially once she catches the eye of the town’s most eligible bachelor. Tabby tries hard to keep Joe Taylor at a distance. But staying away from the handsome preacher isn’t easy once he opens his arms to her….
Tabby is the answer to Joe’s prayers. Too bad the spirited beauty believes she doesn’t belong in Mountain Meadow—or with him. Still, Joe can’t resist offering her shelter against the local gossips, or giving her a strong shoulder to lean on when her family hopes are dashed. And when Tabby’s life is suddenly on the line, Joe will do anything to save the woman who stole his heart.
Some may not like the love at first sight between Tabby and Joe, but it didn’t bother me. I really liked how the two seemed to have a special understanding of each other that quickly turns into something more. Tabby definitely has reason to be hesitant to get involved with anyone, but especially a man of the church. Her childhood was absolutely horrible and left scars that ca be seen, but also some that can’t. Coming to Mountain Meadow though may prove to be exactly what she needs. While there are people who are causing her trouble, she may just find the family that she truly needs – one who will love and accept her as she is.
I think that Browning does a good job of depicting a single, young preacher in a small town. The things that the others expect of him – from setting him up with their single relations (or themselves) to what they expect from his wife – are pretty spot on from my experience. Small towns aren’t always Mayberry or Stars Hollow. They usually are full of gossip and with some small-minded people who have no issues causing troubles for others. Joe gets himself into a little trouble when he lets his emotions take control and rushes things with Tabby. I love the way that he handles the outcome, using his faith and morals as a guide. Once he re-centers he provides a great amount of calm and understanding when it is needed.
Unfortunately this is one of those times when I think that it actually made a difference that I didn’t read anything else in this series. There’s a history among Tabby’s family that, while Browning does her best to explain, really needed to have been experienced to truly understand. Don’t get me wrong – I really liked this story even as my first book and I think you could too, but I think that I needed that additional info to really get the nuances. But with well-developed and interesting characters and fluid writing, I’m putting them on my TBR list right now.