The cover picture is of a couple embracing. The title is The House that Love Built (awww, everyone sigh!). The author, Beth Wiseman, is better known for her Amish novels. So is this going to be a saccharine depiction of small-town Americana, or something more?
Brooke Holloway is a widowed mother of two children and hardware store owner in Smithville, Texas. She’s still in love with Travis, even though he died two years ago. Her mother, Patsy, lives in a local care home ad is hiding a secret 'boyfriend'. Meghan, Brooke's daughter, would like her to marry again but 10-year-old Spencer doesn't want anyone to replace his father--and goes out of his way to sabotage the possibility.
Owen Saunders bought the old Hadley place to remodel because his ex-wife always wanted a picture-book house in Smithville, the setting for the 1998 movie Hope Floats. He’s here out of spite—he’s bought his ex-wife’s dream house, but he might regret it as he knows next-to-nothing about renovating a house. And Brooke's story of a hidden bunker in the house has him intrigued.
But this is a romance, so you know what’s going to happen. I thought the relationship progressed nicely and was quite believable, watching Brooke and Owen work through their various relationship issues, with God, with Brooke’s family, and with each other. The one thing that wasn’t quite so believable was the appearance of Virginia, the ex-wife, at the end of the story (the dates just don’t add up, but you’ll have to read it to see what I mean). However, Virginia’s story would make a great sequel. Now, there’s a woman with issues…
All in all, The House that Love Built was a solid story with a nice combination of mystery and romance, and stronger-than-usual minor characters. Despite the sweet title and cover, there were some real issues in here, and Beth Wiseman handled them well.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Beth Wiseman at her website.