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Thursday, September 4, 2014

ARC Review: Hope Burns by Jaci Burton

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW
Release Date: September 30, 2014

Molly Burnett dreads returning to her hometown of Hope for her sister’s wedding, especially knowing she’ll have to endure a weekend with the one man she never wants to see again. It’s only a couple of days, so Molly will try to forget her painful past with high school sweetheart Carter Richards. Because despite the bitter memories, she still can’t forget what they once meant to each other.

But when Molly is forced to extend her stay, Carter sees this as his second chance to do things right, to start over again with the only woman he’s ever loved. This time, he isn’t going to let Molly run.

Together they’re going to confront the past and put it behind them, and hope for a future as bright as the flame that still burns hot between them.

Molly Burnett is back in her hometown of Hope for her sister’s wedding and she’s dreading every moment. Not because she doesn’t love her sister or want to be a part of her wedding but because of her childhood sweetheart Carter Richards. Years ago, he crushed her heart and left her no choice but to run away from all the painful memories. Molly thinks she only has to bear Carter’s presence for a few days and then she’s gone again, back to her wandering lifestyle but as luck would have it, she’s forced to extend her stay a bit longer, giving Carter the chance he’s only dreamed of: Winning Molly back.

This series has charmed me so effortlessly and Hope Burns is no exception. The small town of Hope is unlike other small towns in romance. Sure there are the busybodies who get into every one’s business but never once has the town come off as something from a horror movie. 

Carter and Molly may not have had the red hot passion of first time lover but they had the emotional connection of long time life partners even when Molly was fighting hard to keep from falling in love with Carter again. These two knew each other inside out, what the other liked, what they didn’t like; it was difficult to see where they went so wrong and then BAM! There it was, the reason they suddenly broke up and Molly went running for the hills. I sympathized with both of them, particularly Molly. Author Jaci Burton did such a wonderful job of giving Carter and Molly such a solid base for a relationship, even as teens that it was so easy to root for them to get back together again. I could see glimpses of the teens they were whenever they were together.

Hope Burns is a definite second chance romance but it doesn't take Carter and Molly, erase their past and then give them a blank slate to start with. Rather, it gives them the chance to remember their past. The good, the bad and the ugly, then come to terms with it and use it as a strong foundation to continue that same relationship but as mature adults. Their past relationship was important and if they wanted to have a future they couldn’t just forget what happened and start again. It required some tough conversations that sometimes left Carter and Molly feeling like they didn’t stand a chance in hell of making it work.

With such a heavy obstacle in the way of Carter and Molly’s relationship, I’m glad Jaci Burton didn’t add more conflicts like a third party wanting to break them up. It would have pushed Hope Burns into “tacky soap opera” territory. Instead, Hope Burns is heartwarming with an engaging cast of old and new characters, a powerful love story and of course, typical Burton humor.

Final Verdict: A lovely, romantic tale of high school sweethearts reunited, Hope Burns is a wonderful addition to an already amazing series that takes place in a small town. Rarely do these small town romances work for me but the Hope series will always have a special place on my e-reader.

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