Title: The House on Main Street by Shirlee McCoy
Apple Valley Book One
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In Apple Valley, Washington, friends are always near, neighbors have no secrets—even if they’d like to—and long-held wishes have a way of coming true. . .
Interior designer Tessa McKenzie has built a good life far from her Washington hometown. She intends to get back to it—as soon as she sells the cluttered Victorian house and antiques shop she inherited from her sister, Emily. But leaving Apple Valley a second time won’t be so easy. There’s her grieving nephew, Alex, to consider. And there’s Sheriff Cade Cunningham, the adolescent crush who could easily break her heart again if she let him.
To Cade, Tessa was simply his high school sweetheart’s kid sister. But now there’s no denying she’s a beautiful and caring grown woman, one he’d like to get to know. Except that Tessa is determined to leave again. If Cade wants to change her mind, he’ll have to show her that small-town life has its lovable side—and that he does too. Most of all, he’ll have to convince Tess they’re good together, and that every step has led her right where she was always meant to be. . .
Shirlee McCoy’s The House on Main Street is a heartfelt romance that pretty much stole my heart from the very first page. Genuine and likable characters, a warm and endearing plot and a lovely small town atmosphere prove to be quite an irresistible combination in this first installment of the Apple Valley series.
The bright spot in Tessa McKenzie’s unhappy childhood was her close friendship with Cade Cunningham but his relationship with her sister Emily precipitated Tessa’s hasty departure years earlier. Now a successful interior designer, Tess has little choice but to return to her small town after Emily’s death. Tessa’s intention is to sell her sister’s house and business as quickly as possible and move her nephew Alex and her cantankerous Aunt Gertrude back to Annapolis with her. But that decision is quickly complicated by the realization that the last thing that Alex needs is another change in his life. And then there’s the small matter of the surprising attraction that is sizzling between Tessa and Cade…
Tess is a vibrant and likable character and I found her very easy to relate to. In the wake of Emily’s death, she is wracked with regret over past decisions but she does not dwell on them. Instead, she learns from her mistakes and moves on as best she can under the circumstances. I like how she is able to put Alex’s needs ahead of her own desires and in doing so, she begins to find the positive side of life in a small town.
Tess’s relationship with Gertrude is contentious and these two butt heads at just about every turn. Misunderstandings from Tess’s childhood continue to plague them and their fragile truces are often short lived. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at their frequent clashes and I was moved to tears when Gertrude finally opened up to Tess.
But the absolute best part of The House on Main Street is Tess’s friendship with Cade. Their friendship remains intact despite the passage of time and genuine warmth and mutual respect underscores all of their scenes. No matter how much Tess tries to protect herself, there is no mistaking how much these two care about one another.
The House on Main Street is a delightfully sweet romance with plenty of substance and very little angst. Shirlee McCoy’s beautiful descriptions bring the town and its inhabitants exquisitely to life. Intriguing glimpses of Charlotte Garrison and Max Stanford will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Apple Valley series.