This tale of returning to a peach orchard shows that envy
and anger can follow anyone anywhere. Zoe Collins left
quiet Copper Creek for a career as a vocalist with an up
and coming band. A few years later, with a daughter in tow
and a possessive boyfriend, she's come home for her
grandmother's funeral. BLUE RIDGE SUNRISE describes the
changes in her life and the choices now facing our heroine.
Inheriting the orchard just as she might be about to make
the big time stirs up all kinds of emotions. In particular,
Zoe has to get along with her first crush, Cruz Huntley,
still making a good life for himself in the rural setting.
Returning to the Blue Ridge Mountain town might feel like a
failure, so she hesitates. But Kyle -- I dislike that we're
a few chapters in before someone says his surname, which is
Jimmerson -- believes that he and Zoe and little Gracie
belong back in Nashville, just as soon as possible. If Zoe
plucks up the courage to leave Kyle, that doesn't mean
he'll accept letting his meal ticket go.
A section of backstory which shows us the early
relationships -- Zoe has a religious family who are
disappointed by her actions -- does explain a lot of the
later tensions, but feels quite slow to read. Still, that
is probably true of rural life for most youngsters who
can't wait to find their path in the world. I'm concerned
for the well-adjusted Gracie, as she can't pronounce R yet
at nearly five. If a child can't say R by that time, it's
likely they never will be able to say it. I think this is
just a device used by the author to show that the speaker
is a small child, but it looks bad.
I enjoyed Zoe's endeavors and determination. At various
points in our lives, we decide to make a turn, take an
opportunity, do what is best for someone else. We can
always keep changing and that is the core of this gently
inspirational tale. Zoe finds that she is stronger for
being with family, even if not all the family welcome her.
She gains character from picking the peach harvest and
caring for the orchard, so later she can draw on the
strength to be her own woman. I would have liked some more
information about this work: are pesticides used, do
migrant pickers get fair pay, how exactly did the colder
weather affect the crop, and are there beehives to pollinate
the flowers? Denise Hunter has several popular novels to
her credit and BLUE RIDGE SUNRISE is to be first in a
series called Blue Ridge Romance. This
romance may be a little predictable, but is suitable for
romance lovers from mature teens to adults, and doesn't
hesitate to show the value of community.
Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never
again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke
her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies,
leaving the family legacy to Zoe—a peach orchard nestled at
the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle,
she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t
expect her to give up the life she’s established far away
from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the
orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?
Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love, Zoe
Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not
when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she
took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle
Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.
As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over
Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she
comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life,
Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with
her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.