Finished Stone’s Heart by Darby Karchut. I received a copy from the author for review. In the interest of full disclosure, Darby is my friend and former coworker, plus one of my most favorite people on the planet.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“No way, blue jay, and never again. That’s the vow Linney Van Horn has made regarding single dads and their adorable children. After all, that’s why she tucked tail and hauled herself and her beloved Arabian horse clear across the country from New Jersey to the small town of Venture, Colorado. To mend her bruised heart—and ego—and start over.
However, the good Lord has a different “do-over” in mind for Linney. She finds herself living next door to Stonewall Wheeler, the frustratingly stubborn, but oh, so ruggedly handsome farrier, and his seven-year-old son, Beau.
A widower, Stone has buried himself in his work to avoid the grief of losing his wife. Determined to grow his horse-shoeing business and raise his child, falling in love is the last thing on his mind. Until an equally stubborn—but pretty as a daisy—teacher moves into the cottage besides his, and charms both him and his son.
Divine intervention. Yup, it’s a beautiful thing.
It’s going to take one adorable little boy, a pair of spirited horses, and a near-fatal accident to convince Linney and Stone a second chance at a Grace-filled forever is theirs for the asking.”
Okay, so as you know, I am a huge fan of Darby Karchut and I was so excited to read this. It’s her romance debut, and this is also the first time she’s published a non-paranormal novel.
While this is obviously different than her paranormals, it does have one of her trademarks (strong father-son relationships) in it. Darby’s greatest strength is probably the writing she does between fathers and sons, whether they’re actually related (as in this case and Stag Lord) or whether it’s more of a mentor-protege thing (her Griffin and Finn series). I love that she writes these great relationships where it’s so obvious how loved these kids are.
Darby is also excellent at writing strong female characters, and Linney is probably the best example of that to date. That is a lady who knows what she wants and goes after it.
This is a sweet, simple story and is just perfect for summer. Recommended.