Title: Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne
Haven Point Series Book Two
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne brings you back to Haven Point—a place made for second chances…
McKenzie Shaw would do anything for her hometown of Haven Point. It may be small, but it’s never let her down…unlike gorgeous, infuriating Ben Kilpatrick. He was her childhood hero until he closed his family’s factory, leaving the town’s economy in shambles. Now his tech firm is considering opening a local facility. For Haven Point’s sake, McKenzie has to grit her teeth and play nice.
What could a town filled with painful memories ever offer Ben? Yet seeing the town through the eyes of McKenzie—its fiery young mayor—he suddenly has his answer. If only he can resolve the animosity crackling between them, Ben may have found the place where he can build ties and find healing…a place where love arrives when it’s least expected.
Redemption Bay is the latest addition to RaeAnne Thayne’s heartwarming Haven Point series. In this delightful outing, mayor McKenzie Shaw is dismayed to learn that Ben Kilpatrick, the man she holds responsible for destroying the town’s economy, is renting the house next door. She tries to rein in her long standing animosity when she discovers he is scouting locations for a new business and that Haven Point is on the short list of possibilities. However, letting go of the past is not easy for neither McKenzie nor Ben but a looming disaster provides both of them with unexpected clarity that changes the course of their relationship.
McKenzie loves the close-knit town she calls home and she has never forgiven Ben for closing down the business he inherited after his father’s death. His lack of attention to his other properties also contributed to the town’s economic loss and although he has sold the property, most of the townspeople share McKenzie’s hostility toward him. When his friend and business partner insists Ben return to his old hometown to see if it is viable option for a new venture, he reluctantly agrees although he has serious reservations about opening a facility in Haven Point. Despite her lingering resentment, McKenzie insists on showing him all of the good things that the town has to offer and Ben finds himself enjoying her company and experiencing the local community through her eyes. Can McKenzie convince Ben to let go of the painful memories that haunt him and give Haven Point a second chance? Or is she doomed to have her heart broken by the man she is beginning to fall in love with?
McKenzie is relentlessly upbeat and positive in every situation. Even when faced with some of the town’s grumpiest, disgruntled citizens, she remains cheerful and good natured which probably explains why she is a little disconcerted by her continued bitterness toward Ben. She makes a concerted effort to give him the benefit of the doubt and since she not only loves Haven Point, but completely believes that the town is the best choice for his new business, she graciously offers to escort him to the community’s upcoming events. She is dismayed to discover her childhood crush on him has matured into attraction but since Ben is adamant he will not return permanently, McKenzie refuses to act on her feelings.
Ben’s childhood was anything but happy and he could not wait to leave Haven Point behind. He is a successful businessman who works long hours, leaving himself little time to dwell on his painful past. Ben is closed off, rather unemotional and makes his business decisions based on logic not instinct or sentiment. When his mom reveals shocking information about his past, Ben begins to see long ago events from a completely different perspective, but will this change his mind about Haven Point? More importantly, as he begins to make peace with his past will he allow McKenzie into his heart?
Although a bit of a slow starter, Redemption Bay is an engaging novel with an appealing cast of multi-faceted characters. The romance between MckKenzie and Ben is very sweet and as their feelings for one another deepen, they begin to heal from the hurts from their respective pasts. This heartfelt and uplifting love story is an absolutely outstanding addition to the Haven Point series and I highly recommend it to readers of contemporary romances who enjoy homespun stories with a small town setting.