Published by Larkspur Press on May 20, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Also by this author: From the Start, Like Never Before, All This Time, One Enchanted Noël
Purchase on: Amazon, Walmart, Target, Books A Million, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble
"It was just a house. Just a weathered old house in a hidden grove, shuttered and still . . . " Last year, after traumatic circumstances forced her from her job as a nanny, Mara Bristol finally found a place to belong-the winsome Everwood Bed & Breakfast at the edge of Maple Valley, Iowa. For months, she's helped its owner, Lenora, maintain the ramshackle property despite their shortage of guests. But when Lenora fails to return from a month-long trip and the bank threatens foreclosure, Mara worries she's once again alone . . . abandoned . . . about to lose the only true home she's ever known.Detective Marshall Hawkins is no closer to whole today than he was two years ago . . . the day his daughter died. Between his divorce, debilitating migraines, and a dependence on medication, his life is falling apart. And when a reckless decision on the job propels him into administrative leave, he has no other plan but to get in his truck and drive. A one-night stay at the Everwood was supposed to be just that. But there's something about the old house-or maybe its intriguing caretaker-that pulls him in.Together, Mara and Marshall set out to save the Everwood. But its secrets run deeper than they could've imagined. As they renovate the house and search for its missing owner, they'll each confront the pain that brought them to the Everwood in the first place . . . and just maybe discover a faith and love to help them carry on.
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Maple Valley, Iowa may just be my favorite fictional town, so when I found out that Melissa Tagg was taking us there again in Now and Then and Always I knew I had to read the book! In this new series, we are welcomed to Everwood Bed & Breakfast which is run by Lenora and is in need of major repairs. Mara Bristol experienced tragedy and finds a place to belong at Everwood where she helps Lenora with the property. As the story moves on Lenora leaves Mara in charge of Everwood while she goes on a trip, but she doesn't return and Mara is left with a rundown property she doesn't own and a foreclosure notice from the bank.
In Tagg fashion, Melissa took a charming setting and created real characters and wrote a story that was deep and heartfelt. The characters were well developed and each had their own struggles to work through during the story. The Everwood had a mystery of its own which was an enjoyable element.
Detective Marshall Hawkins was planning on spending one night at the Everwood, but that stay turns into a longer. I still remember him and Mara looking around the Everwood because I could envision the wallpaper and the setting. I felt the frustration Mara had as she received the foreclosure notice and had to figure out what to do to help Lenora, who was missing, and save a building in her care that she didn't own.
My trip back to Maple Valley was an enjoyable one. I'm glad Tagg gave us glimpses into the lives of some characters from her previous series and I'm looking forward to her next book and returning to Maple Valley.