Autumn Winds by Charlotte Hubbard.
An autumn storm does more than break the front window at the Sweet Seasons Bakery Cafe. It also blows Ben Hooley into Miriam Lantz's life. Widowed since the death of her husband Jesse, and being pursued endlessly by Bishop Knepp to accept his offer of marriage, she is quickly taken with the handsome traveling blacksmith.
Ben's appearance in Willow Ridge could be wonderful in many ways, but the bishop isn't thrilled about a rival for Miriam's hand. With the fate of her beloved cafe at stake, Miriam must listen to God and her heart to find the happiness and love she deserves.
In the second book of the Seasons of the Heart series, Hubbard picks up where she left off with the lives of the Plain folk from Willow Ridge, Missouri. Miriam is preparing for her daughter, Rachel's wedding to Micah, the son of her business partner, Naomi Brenneman. She's not looking for love, but when Ben Hooley blows in with the storm, she feels an instant connection to him. Their friendship and and developing romance is hampered by her connection to the past and her fear over the fate of her beloved cafe. Bishop Knepp, who began pursuing her in the first book, refuses to take no for an answer. He has his cap set for Miriam and he'll do anything to have her for his wife.
With Autumn Winds, Hubbard has created an inspirational story filled with characters you're bound to love and relate to. More than just a romance between a widow and a newcomer, the residents of Willow Ridge will truly capture your heart. Hubbard's masterful storytelling blends with a well-developed plot and superbly drawn characters to create a story that will become a quick favorite for lovers of the genre. While definitely a stand alone novel, much can be gained by reading, Summer of Secrets, the first book in the series, along with this one. Just like the first book, the reader will be treated to many scrumptious recipes at the end of the story.
I eagerly await the next installment of this series, Winter of Wishes, due out next fall.
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Zebra; Original edition (September 4, 2012)
I received a free paperback from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.