Title: Montana Cherries by Kim Law
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 370 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
After her mother’s tragic death, Dani Wilde had no choice but to abandon her dreams. She left Columbia University and returned to her family’s Montana cherry farm, intent on being a maternal figure to her brothers. Now the kids are grown, and it’s finally her time to fly. Her sights are on New York City, and nothing will stop her—not even an old flame with gorgeous green eyes.
Celebrity photographer Ben Denton hasn’t seen Montana in years—and hasn’t spoken to Dani since “that night” so long ago. When he discovers he’s a dad to a four-year-old—and the child’s mother refuses to care for her—Montana and the Wilde farm spring to mind. The orchard is the only place that’s ever felt like home, but will the warmth of the Wilde family be enough to help Ben figure out how to be a father?
As the Wilde family gathers for the yearly cherry harvest and Dani struggles to figure out what she really wants in life, she discovers the shocking truth about her own mother—and learns that following her heart may lead her to her dreams after all.
Montana Cherries by Kim Law is an emotional, poignant and ultimately uplifting novel of healing. Although there is also a romantic element to the storyline, the main focus is on Dani Wilde’s struggle to come to terms with the wounds from her past.
Following her mother’s death, Dani gave up her dream of attending college to return home and care for her younger siblings. Fast forward fourteen years, and she is on the verge of making her long awaited move to New York. She is finalizing her plans to leave in a few weeks when the cherry harvest is over and the last thing she needs is a relationship. So when good friend (and one-time lover) Ben Denton returns to the farm with his four year old daughter, Haley, Dani tries to keep her distance from both him and his daughter. But as they resume their once close friendship, their mutual attraction is impossible to ignore and they embark on a no strings fling. After a shocking family secret is revealed, Dani retreats from her loved ones in order to heal.
In the beginning, Dani seems to be happy, well-adjusted and eager to begin the next phase of her life. But as she continues to pack her belongings, she runs across a few items that bring up some unsettling feelings about her relationship with her mother, whom she has long idolized. Unable to face these distressing memories, she pushes them to the back of her mind and keeps busy with her family and the upcoming harvest. When the rest of her brothers return home to help with the annual harvest, Dani’s foundation begins to crumble when she learns they have been keeping a huge secret from her. After their stunning revelation, she feels betrayed by her family but it is the disturbing memories that comes rushing back that destroy her. Although Ben is at her side every step of the way, Dani cannot consider a future with him until she takes the necessary steps to process the emotional damage from her past.
Ben also has a somewhat troubled past but he has come to terms with most of it. His main issue is learning how to care for his newly discovered daughter. He is definitely out of his depth, but with Dani’s guidance, he and Haley finally begin to sort out their new relationship. Their relationship is fragile at first but he gradually gains Haley’s trust and their scenes are quite touching.
The relationship between Dani and Ben is a nice blend of sweet and steamy. Despite their ten year separation, they easily pick up their friendship where it left off and they quickly put the lingering issue of their one night stand to rest. Their transition from friends to lovers is gradual and although they try to keep things casual, it is easy to see their growing affection for one another. It is also quite refreshing that Ben is willing to put his heart on the line for Dani.
Montana Cherries is a heartbreaking journey of self-discovery and healing. The storyline is quite unique and touches on a little about talked mental illness that has devastating and long reaching effects. Kim Law’s research is extensive and her depiction of the actions of the person who has the disorder is incredibly accurate (unfortunately I have personal experience with someone who has this particular illness). All in all, a beautifully rendered and achingly realistic novel that will touch readers’ hearts and remain with them long after the last page is turned.