I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Jennie Marts
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Publish Date: February 23, 2021
This book is perfect for those that like: Second Chance Romances, Swoony Bearded Blacksmiths, and Competitive Banter.
You might not like this book if you aren’t into: Social Media Shame, Moms With Secrets, or No Explanations for Said Secrets.
From Goodreads: After her grandmother calls her asking for help, Jocelyn drops everything and heads back home to Harmony Creek, Colorado. Her grandmother runs a living history museum: a ranch and homestead where volunteers wear clothing from the early 1900s and demonstrate how things were done in the old West, from making soap to shearing sheep. The place is in financial trouble, and it needs the revenue from the annual festival to survive.
There’s just one thing that makes this a little awkward: Mack, who’s divorced, and who’s now the caretaker and blacksmith at the homestead. Jocelyn and Mack have their own shared history, which includes both stolen kisses and teenage rivalry.
Even as the past and present collide, they have to save Harmony Ranch. Matchmaking grannies, a meddling mutt, and a flood of fun festival activities might just be enough to overcome their differences and forge two broken hearts back together.
These leaving home stories are really hitting me hard right now. But in a good way. Since I’m not able to travel back home to Texas right now (and I have to live with my decision to move 1,800 miles away in the first place) I’m taking great comfort in these books featuring people going home, rekindling their love for their hometowns and family, and having it all work out. Yes, I’m living vicariously through these fictional people, don’t @ me.
In Rescuing Harmony Ranch, it’s Jocelyn, aka Joss, that comes home after being gone for a decade to help her grandma Save the Ranch. She hasn’t returned to Harmony Creek, Colorado before now for various reasons but the largest one is her fear of running into her high school sweetheart, Mack, which of course, she does run into him, literally, in the first five minutes of returning home.
I admit that I’m slowly growing to love Second Chance Romances and this one is now a favorite because both Joss and Mack identify that they still like each other pretty early on. Sure, they still do the dance of will they or won’t they, but I enjoyed how much they admitted and got out into the open relatively quickly. Plus, Mack is the gruff, secretly a cinnamon roll love interest that I legit swoon over. There’s a moment where you realize what he’s about to do to Declare His Love and y’all, I died. And then I died all over again when we got the script flipped on us and Joss herself gets a Public Declaration Moment. Most of the time in these types of stories, I’m like, why do y’all even want to get back together again but with these two, I was Very Upset when I found out why they were separated in the first place and basically yelled “Y’ALL BELONG TOGETHER SO HURRY UP!” the whole time.
My one tiny complaint was the reason that they broke up in the first place. I mean, it’s heartbreaking and a bit shocking, but we’re never given a real reason why this person did what they did. And why this person had so many fights with everyone. I would have liked a bit more closure on that person and their contentious relationships, but the lack of explanations on that front is more than made up for in the character of Grams, Jocelyn’s grandma. She was the absolute best and legit made me laugh out loud.
Overall Rescuing Harmony Ranch was sweet, with the right amount of tension to fulfill my angst quota, and without the usual bulk that usually weighs down these “Save the _____” stories. I highly recommend this one if you are into Second Chance Romances with giant, sleepy dogs who steal the show at every turn.