Friday, January 16, 2015

The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter

The Wishing Season (Chapel Springs, #3)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary
She daydreams of whipping up sauces and souffles in her own restaurant. His heart is set on helping foster children. Both dreams are at stake. So are their hearts.

With grand plans to open her own bed & breakfast in Chapel Springs, PJ McKinley can't afford the most crucial part: the brick and mortar. But when the owner of a local historic home announces a contest and promises her property to the worthiest candidate, PJ makes a fervent wish and tosses her name into the hat.

Cole Evans is cool, confident, and successful, but he'll never forget his roots. He's thankful for how far he's come and knows his life could have turned out drastically different. If he can win the stately old mansion, he'll turn it into a home for children aging out of the foster system.

When the eccentric house owner narrows the entries down to only two applicants, she extends the contest, giving PJ and Cole one year to prove which one of them can make the best use of her beloved home. As the pair competes in close proximity, something deeper than rivalry sparks between PJ and Cole. And in this battle, they're likely to lose their hearts.

My Review
The Wishing Season was such an entertaining read! I loved the whole idea of the competition for the house (and the name of the house), and the circumstances really set readers up for lots of humorous situations. From the first chapter I was pulled in, and it just kept getting better from there.

While there was plenty of humor, fantastic witty banter, and sweet chemistry, there was also struggle and faith growth that made this book an even clearer winner.

Cole was a really great guy, and I can definitely see why PJ fell for him. Not only were his dream and motives pure, but he had a faith in God, heart of gold, and protective nature to outshine the disappointment of sharing the house! He was so honorable and I loved his dream of helping foster kids who had aged out of the system. His background provided him with a heart and an understanding to truly make a difference in their lives, and I was rooting for him from the beginning. His story and those of the young adults he took in were heart wrenching and Cole's strength, fortitude, and dream to help others in similar situations really touched my heart. I really enjoyed reading about the changes that took place in the hearts of those he touched and eventually in his own heart too. His was a story of letting go of guilt and trusting in God.

But I liked and rooted for PJ too. Her bubbly personality and large family were a good contrast with Cole's quiet solitude. Her dream of opening a restaurant and B&B were also admirable. It was fun meeting her family, seeing into the beginning life of a new restaurant and hearing about the scrumptious culinary confections that made my mouth water! But, beyond the sunny outside, PJ had some issues to deal with too. She was the baby of the family and she felt the doubt that her parents and siblings were casting toward her with their concerns and little comments. She doubted herself and her capabilities. Her story was built on trusting in God and realizing that she was something and she was worthy.

As Cole and PJ helped each other conquer their self doubt and guilt, many truths and faith themes were covered, and an adorable and sweet relationship evolved that had me swooning! This book touched my heart in a number of ways as I read about those foster children, Cole, and PJ. I laughed, cried, and wished with them.

I was thrilled at how the book ended just the way I hoped it would from the very beginning, though everything wasn't so cut and clear through the whole book. There was definitely some choppy water to overcome first, but what a great ride it was!

I will definitely be checking out the other books in this series, previous, and yet to come! I can't wait to hear more of the McKinley's stories!

I received this book in exchange of an honest review. This did not effect my opinions in any way, and all thoughts and opinions are solely my own.