About the Book (from Goodreads):
After eight years, Hailey is back in Caseville, Michigan. Just months after her mother’s death, her siblings want to put their father in a nursing home and rent out the family farm. If that wasn’t enough, the prospective tenant is Nate, the high school crush she left behind the day after they acted on their mutual attraction.
After high school, Nate Jenkins planned to leave small town behind, but life dealt him a different hand of cards. He’s now back in Caseville, raising his daughter and running his family’s diner. His daughter’s speech disorder has been improved by therapeutic horse riding and if he can lease the old Lambert farm, he can get her a horse of her own. The only thing standing in the way is Hailey, the same woman who left him eight years ago without even saying goodbye.
Can they get over all that’s unspoken between them?
This sweet romance is all about tough choices and second chances, a topic Ms. Phillips has explored in previous works. This well-written tale drew me in and captivated me from the first scene, and I loved the way the author kept the story in the present, blending the backstory in gradually. Eight years ago, Hailey Lambert and Nate Jenkins had one perfect date, before they both left their hometown to pursue college dreams. While circumstances brought Nate home, Hailey went on to law school and a career in New York City. Nate never finished college, returning to his hometown of Caseville with a new baby daughter in tow to work at his family's diner. Abandoned by her mother at birth, his daughter Lori has trust and speech issues that are being addressed with therapeutic horse riding. Nate wants to get her a horse of her own, but needs to rent a farm in order to have the space. Luckily, the Jenkins farm should be up for rent as soon as they move their father to a nursing home. Home for the holidays, Hailey confronts the fact that her dad's health is failing and tough decisions need to be made. She also needs to decide whether she should come clean about losing her job six weeks prior, and her inability to find a new one.
Seeing Nate again makes her rethink the choices she made eight years before. She wonders what would've happened if she'd given their budding romance a chance, instead of leaving early for college in the big city. Back then, she was afraid that if she didn't leave, she never would. Now, her small hometown is looking like a great option to settle down and start a new life. A life that's about what makes her happy instead of about doing what her family expects. So much was left unsaid between Hailey and Nate that neither is sure how the other truly feels. Ms. Phillips does an excellent job bringing her characters to life and making the reader fall in love, rooting for them to overcome their fears and try again for that happily ever after.
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