I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Carolina Breeze by Denise Hunter
Series: Bluebell Inn Romance #2
Published by Thomas Nelson on August 2, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Historical, Romance
Source: TLC Book Tours
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A jilted bride. A struggling innkeeper. And a romantic mountain getaway that changes everything Rising Hollywood star Mia Emerson is looking for a safe place to land in the wake of a public breakup and celebrity scandal, and she finds it in the lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina—the location of her canceled honeymoon. She wants nothing more than to hide and wait for the tabloids to die down. Soon after her arrival at the Bluebell Inn, Mia meets Levi Bennett, who runs the inn along with his two younger sisters. Drawn to one another from the start, Mia trusts Levi to keep her location from the press, and Levi confides in Mia about the precarious financial state of the inn—a secret he’s been keeping from his sisters. When Mia and Levi discover an old journal that hints at a rare diamond necklace hidden in the inn, they set off on a treasure hunt to find the long-lost heirloom. What they don’t expect to surface are feelings they thought were safely locked away. Mia and Levi must decide if falling in love again is too big a risk—or if it will uncover a treasure of its own instead.
I really enjoyed Denise Hunter’s Lake Season, which introduced three siblings who’ve taken over their deceased parent’s fledgling inn on a picturesque lake in North Carolina. Book one focused on older sister Molly, and the second installment Carolina Breeze features older brother Levi. The setting takes center stage along with the strong family dynamics, and I was entranced from page one.
Mia is hanging by a thread in Hollywood after a scandal hits all of the gossip sites that has her character being called into question. Even though it isn’t true, she flees to her mother’s hometown in North Carolina, seeking refuge at her grandmother’s old inn where Mia was set to honeymoon with her ex-fiancé. As nothing in her professional and personal life seems to be going right, Levi becomes the bright spot in Mia’s life. Even though he was part of the honeymoon package as her chauffeur, tour guide, and now security guard—falling in love wasn’t part of the deal—for either of them.
Levi has been hanging on by a thread trying to keep the inn afloat financially. Working his fingers to the bone and burning the midnight oil, his end goal is to take care of his sisters, which was his father’s dying wish of Levi. But he tends to be controlling and overprotective of Molly and Grace, forcing his will on them and guilting them with what he thinks their parents would want. Levi had to sacrifice a fantastic construction project manager position and girlfriend in Denver to return home and take over the inn with his siblings, but he often forgets that Molly had to make the same sacrifices and Grace hasn’t even began her life after high school graduation yet.
Mia isn’t your typical Hollywood starlet, and she has insecurities just like everyone else. Her childhood isn’t a great one where her parents are concerned, and she’s made the best out of a tenuous situation. She has trouble trusting people, and until Levi comes along, her walls are very high. Mia is very likable and down to earth, and I really enjoyed her journey.
This wouldn’t be a Bluebell Inn Romance novel without a mystery, and this one centers on finding a lost blue diamond necklace. Searching for Mia’s grandmother’s necklace brings her and Levi close together but also pulls them apart. There is a lot of will-they, won’t they between Levi and Mia, as well as both of them thinking they aren’t good enough for each other.
I give Carolina Breeze a 4.5 out of 5. With strong, unique characters who are vulnerable and real, Levi and Mia go through a lot together and come through it all in the end better people. And if you’re hoping for more of Molly and Adam from the first book, you won’t be disappointed. I’m eagerly awaiting the final book in this series. I loved this relatable, fun, emotional, romantic, and clean series.
Find CAROLINA BREEZE
About Denise Hunter
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest.
Connect with Denise Hunter
Denise Hunter’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for CAROLINA BREEZE:
Tuesday, May 19th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Wednesday, May 20th: The Romance Dish
Thursday, May 21st: @cassies_books_reviews
Friday, May 22nd: Kritter’s Ramblings
Friday, May 22nd: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Monday, May 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, May 27th: Run Wright
Thursday, May 28th: @honeynougats.reads
Thursday, May 28th: @angelareadsbooks
Friday, May 29th: @nsiabblog
Tuesday, June 2nd: Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, June 3rd: Girl Who Reads
Friday, June 5th: Books and Cats and Coffee
Tuesday, June 9th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, June 10th: @megsbookclub
Thursday, June 11th: Running Through the Storms
Friday, June 12th: View from the Birdhouse