A couple of years ago, I wrote a review for Made to Last by Melissa Tagg and enjoyed the lighthearted romance immensely. Then, I read Three Little Words, which is a free novella and our introduction to the Walker family from Tagg’s latest series. While reading Three Little Words, I came across a familiar character from Made to Last, who was at a completely different stage of life, and I had no idea how he got there! I realized I had missed a book in between the two novels, so I’ve had Here to Stay on my wish list for awhile but had too many other books waiting to be read to justify buying it. I have finally gotten caught up and just happened to receive this book as a gift a few weeks ago. Perfect timing!
All Autumn Kingsley has ever wanted is to travel the world, but she is stuck in her small hometown of Whisper Shore, Michigan, running her family’s inn. She has an opportunity to leave, but she feels guilty about leaving the inn and her faithful staff. Then a completely unexpected and unwanted person returns to town and invades her space.
Blake Hunziker is as close to a prodigal son as I have found in fiction. There are a couple of differences though. First, he left because he felt guilty, not because he wanted to squander his father’s money. Secondly, he worked and provided for himself while he was away. Nevertheless, he returns home ashamed of his current reputation and still harboring guilt over his brother’s death. He has a long road ahead of him to mend relationships with those affected by his brother’s death.
Kingsleys and Hunzikers are modern-day Capulets and Montagues, and Autumn and Blake only team up because they each need the other’s help. Blake wants to earn the respect of the town but doesn’t know where to begin organizing an event he hasn’t attended in several years. Autumn wants to impress an important guest who will be staying at her inn, and she could definitely use Blake’s help sprucing up the inn. They agree to help each other for the good of the town and the inn, but somewhere along the way, walls begin to come down, and the reasons they hated each other aren’t quite so clear anymore.
This is a beautiful tale of redemption and forgiveness, but it’s also a story full of hopes and dreams and how those dreams often change as we go through life. Romans 8:28 fits this book perfectly–“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We suffer through many disappointments often to discover that God had something better in mind for us than what we had planned. Other times, He allows us to experience pain or loss, so that He can bless us in a new and different way. This also reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11–“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God is such a good father and wants what is best for us. We only need to be open to accepting his will and trusting Him with our lives. Easier said than done, I know. Just remember that He knows so much more than we can imagine, and He will work out everything for our good. How can you go wrong by putting your faith in Him?