Happy Monday, Reader Friends!
I hope you’re enjoying a holiday off. At first I was going to leave this blog quiet for Memorial Day, but I had a chance to read an arc copy of Melissa Tagg’s latest release. So of course, I had to write a blog post about it. It’s sooo great, y’all. But first, let me give you some basic info before sharing my thoughts.
About the Book
“It was just a house. Just a craggy old house in a hidden grove, shuttered and still . . . ”
Last year, after traumatic circumstances forced her from her job as a nanny, Mara Bristol finally found a place to belong—the winsome Everwood Bed & Breakfast at the edge of Maple Valley, Iowa. For months, she’s helped its owner, Lenora, maintain the ramshackle property despite their shortage of guests. But when Lenora fails to return from a month-long trip and the bank threatens foreclosure, Mara worries she’s once again alone . . . abandoned . . . about to lose the only true home she’s ever known.
Detective Marshall Hawkins is no closer to whole today than he was two years ago . . . the day his daughter died. Between his divorce, debilitating migraines, and a dependence on medication, his life is falling apart. And when a reckless decision on the job propels him into administrative leave, he has no other plan but to get in his truck and drive. A one-night stay at the Everwood was supposed to be just that. But there’s something about the old house—or maybe its intriguing caretaker—that pulls him in.
Together, Mara and Marshall set out to save the Everwood. But its secrets run deeper than they could’ve imagined. As they renovate the house and search for its missing owner, they’ll each confront the pain that brought them to the Everwood in the first place . . . and just maybe discover a faith and love to help them carry on.
Y’all, a return to Maple Valley always makes me happy. There’s just something about the people and the atmosphere
that makes me happy to open the pages of a Tagg book and settle down for a good read. And Now and Then and Always was no exception.
Y’all there is such depth to this book! Sure there are the signature laughs hat Ms. Tagg always brings forth. I mean I’m all for the humor around sugary cereal (read the book, you’ll get it). But there was just an underlying tone of heartache and the need for healing that I was immediately pulled into the story.
I do love a tragic hero after all. And “Marshall Hawkins, 35, Milwaukee” may be one of my favorite tragic heroes of all. Not because of the heartache that shadows his eyes, but the way he wakes up each day, putting one foot in front of the other with no notion of how powerful those simple things truly are. He has so much hurt bottled in him and watching him fight for healing was one that kept me turning the pages. Seeing him smile in the face of hurt, had me sighing and turning the pages. And that moment where you see the tide turning to something better had me grinning and fist pumping in the air. Okay, so maybe not the fist pump. But I did do an internal one so I should count it.
Regardless, Now and Then and Always had me hooked. I would totally be Mara’s friend and bond over Lucky Charms (I’m like 99% that’s the cereal she kept eating), a fabulous den, and a B&B that welcomes all in need of a family. Not to mention cameo appearances from Walkers and others who make Maple Valley home. Make sure you pick this one up and settle in for a read guaranteed to touch your heart.
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. This review was not required nor influenced.
About the Author
Melissa Tagg is the award-winning author of the popular Walker Family series, the Where Love Begins series and the Enchanted Christmas Collection. She’s a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. Her recent releases include a Carol Award winner (One Enchanted Noel), an RT Book Reviews TOP PICK (All This Time) and a Publishers Weekly Spring Top Ten Pick (Like Never Before). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.