Hope Springs on Main Street
Briar Creek, Book #3
By Olivia Miles
Sometimes love is where you least expect it…
What do you do when your cheating husband proposes to the “other woman”? For Jane Madison, it means you keep calm, carry on, and sneak candy bars and wine for dinner. Jane’s grateful for her adorable little girl, yet she yearns for the love that was missing from her marriage. Only one man ever really “got” Jane—and she’s stunned when he returns to Briar Creek. But a single mom can’t date her ex’s best friend… can she?
Jane’s still kind, beautiful—and far too good for the buddy Henry Birch tried to stop her from marrying years ago. Laying eyes on her now is like a much-needed ray of sunshine. Back in town to sell his family’s old house, Henry wants to close a bad chapter in his life and move on. But time with Jane and her sweet daughter has him flirting with the idea of happily ever after—if he can convince her to take a second chance on love.
I actually want to give this book a 4.5 rating as it was just that good of a (love) story ☺. But it is really about so much more than just the love story between Jane and Henry. The reader is immersed in the lives of the many members of the Briar Creek community in so much more depth than previous books in this series. At least, that is my impression. I found the many sub stories very well written. They integrated well and did not detract from the main story. All seemed to add to the depth to this story. And of course, provide a good backdrop for future stories of other town residents.
Jane is a single mother getting by after her “rat-bugger” of a husband (Adam) cheats on her and then divorces her. She was married at 18 and stayed home to look after their child. So life goes on after the divorce, with certainly some uncomfortable moments. It seems like everything is happening to Jane all at once – her ex is marrying his mistress and they are having a baby, her hours of work at the dance studio have been cut down, her sister is getting married AND Henry is back in town to help his sister, Ivy, fix up and sell their family home now that their mother has passed on. To make things interesting, Henry has always had a thing for Jane. In high school they were good friends, with Henry being the best mate of Adam so that he never crossed the line….but he sure wanted to.
As Jane navigates her single life, she encounters even greater hurdles. Alex is planning on moving to Denver after his wedding…and he has started custody proceedings to get full time custody of their daughter. This has Jane in a big state of panic, especially since her work hours have been cut. She has huge self-doubt about her ability to provide for Sophie. And of course does not want to burden her family with all of this as they prepare for her sister Grace’s wedding. Her strength of character is very admirable.
Henry has some serious baggage, which has led to the choices he has made so that he has a nomadic existence. He is home after many years to settle the estate of his late mother; working with his sister Ivy. The old family home needs to be cleaned out and renovated to prepare for a sale. I found his struggles to overcome his negative ambivalence about Briar Creek intriguing and that portion of the story line certainly had some depth.
I found the love story between Jane and Henry slow to develop, which I found realistic of a wary single mother and guy who has had bad luck as well in the love and marriage department. I also found this good because any single mother knows that you must take it slow and steady, otherwise the kid(s) get vested too early! I giggled at some of the family type outings they had and it brought the simple joys of life out, even when life was tough. There also was certainly some heavy duty chemistry between the two…making the story `hot` at times ☺
Another fine installment about the residents of Briar Creek! I can hardly wait to read book #4, Love Blooms on Main Street.