Hello, fellow book lovers! Does it feel like summer yet where you live? I discovered that in my area, we just had the hottest 3 day stretch of May since the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl. Ugh. So it definitely feels like summer here… I’m anxious for it to even back out to some nice balmy weather to enjoy! Nothing like sitting on the deck with a good book and a glass of wine, but I’d like to *not* be under a heat advisory when I do that!
With the super hot weather, it seemed like the perfect long weekend to stay *inside* and do some reading… so that’s what I did! Net Galley was nice enough to give me a book called Bluestone & Vine by Donna Kauffman. I hadn’t read anything by this author before so I was anxious for something new. I looked it up and realized that this was part of a series… well, you know me, I can’t start halfway through! So I went back and read the first in the series, Blue Hollow Falls. I raced through that one then started Bluestone & Vine. (Full disclosure: In the interest of time, I skipped over a novella that was set in between the two books I mentioned. But I may go back and read it later!)
This romance series is set in a charming little village in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Blue Hollow Falls is a small, close-knit community, where someone always has your back… and usually knows your business! It’s a community rich in arts and crafts, with a huge artisan center, lots of live music, and the like.
One of the main characters in Bluestone & Vine, Seth, was introduced in the series’ first book, so I was looking forward to learning more about him. Seth is a former Army Ranger from a huge Irish family, who after leaving the service has settled in a brand new place (near an Army buddy, Sawyer, whose story is told in the first book). Seth’s new plan is to open and run a winery, the titular Bluestone & Vine.
The story introduces a new character, Pippa MacMillan. Pippa is a major star on the Irish folk music scene, dealing with a blow to her career and in desperate need of a quiet getaway. Through a home swap engineered by Seth’s sister, Pippa ends up in the quiet village of Blue Hollow Falls. At Seth’s house… which he learns on the very morning she arrives!
Seth and Pippa learn quickly that there are sparks between them, but they (one of them in particular!) try hard to ignore it and put some distance between them. Eventually they admit to their feelings but have to face the reality of their very different homes and lives. In the meantime, Pippa has to find her voice and her music again… can Seth, and the people of Blue Hollow Falls, help her do that?
When I read the first book in the series, I thought it was cute, but I really liked this second book, Bluestone & Vine. Somehow I related to the characters more, and I thought they were well developed. I loved Pippa… she was spirited, big hearted, and an open book for the most part. The whole town fell for her and I can see why… I would have wanted to hang out with her too! (Although instead of the tiny, feisty red-haired Irish lass she’s written as, I kept picturing Pippa Middleton. Oh well.) And Seth? Well, what’s not to love about a man described as a huge, gorgeous Viking throwback with a heart just as big? (Picturing Chris Hemsworth as Thor? Me too.) Together, you really rooted for them to figure things out… it was clear they had not only chemistry, but also a fun loving affection that added a whole additional layer to the mix.
All in all, it was a fun story that I would recommend if you’re a romance reader. Like I said, I hadn’t read anything by Donna Kauffman before, but I will certainly be taking a look at her other books.
I’m looking forward to sharing several more Book Notes entries with you over the coming weeks as more great summer reads are released. In the meantime, if there’s a book you’re loving, feel free to share it with me. Happy reading, friends!
(I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of this title from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)