I recently read Notes & Roses, the first book in the Stanford Creek series and as soon as I finished it I knew I needed to read the subsequent titles too. Love & Hope proved how I right I was. This book is at least as entertaining and gripping as the first title was. Both books are extremely well written, have a fabulous cast of characters and story-lines that hook the reader from the start. And yet, I wouldn’t call these similar stories. Where Notes & Roses had a suspenseful undercurrent, in Love & Hope it is the emotional tension that captured me.
Danny’s life doesn’t resemble what he imagined he would be. Gone are the days of touring with the boy band he was a member off, gone is the woman who was supposed to love him, and gone is most of his money. He’s left with his fragile baby daughter and no clear idea what the future might hold for him.
Rachel appears to be a fun and confident young woman, but underneath the disguise she wears like armor, hides a broken woman who doesn’t believe she deserves the sort of happy ever after her cousin and business partner Megan has found. Not that she’ll tell anybody about her insecurities, never mind the reasons she has them. No, she hides behind a happy façade while making sure to only date no hopers.
Danny and Rachel are attracted to each other from the start. But between Danny’s concerns about his daughter and Rachel’s determination not to have feelings for any man, a future for them appears impossible.
This is a very touching story. To the observant reader it is clear, almost from the start, what Rachel’s secret has to be even if she only admits to it later on in the story. And while her issue is serious and heartbreaking, this story is remarkably angst free. Sure, Danny and Rachel have more than their fair share of problems to face and overcome, but they do it with a refreshing lack of belly-aching. Those who know me and my reading preferences won’t be surprised when I say I greatly appreciated that fact.
I loved that Rachel, despite the hurt she carries, was portrayed as a strong and self-reliant young woman almost as much as I appreciated that Danny came across as a sensible yet sensitive young man. The lack of stereotypes (as in a fragile girl being ‘rescued’ by the alpha male) was refreshing. And Rozenn Scott’s writing is flawless and smooth, resulting in a delightful reading experience.
I had one minor issue with this story. For me Rachel’s transition from closed off and distant to relaxed and willing to embrace life and love, happened a bit too fast. While it made sense for her change after she made her breakthrough, the complete turnaround almost in the blink of an eye felt a bit too good to be true. Having said that, in what was otherwise a wonderful and intriguing story, this really was a minor hiccup and even I can’t deny that after everything the girl had been and put herself through she more than deserved that happiness.
Over all Love & Hope was a great and hard to put down story. I can’t wait to spend more time with these characters and am very much looking forward to others finding their own happily ever afters. Bring on book 3; I’m ready.