Attractions are always hampered by baggage, the hurts buried deep in our souls that rise up when life gets bumpy. Insecurities raise their ugly heads, and if people don’t mentally stop such thoughts, they spiral out of control and lead us where we don’t want to go. As it affects us in real life, so it affects the lives of the fictional characters we root for in novels.
Planting Hope, the third book in the Where the Heart Is romance series by Brenda S. Anderson was released on Tuesday, September 19 by Vivant Press. Romance lovers will enjoy this quick read which actually includes the romance of three couples, some people whom we have followed in earlier books in the series, although it primarily focuses on one. In Capturing Beauty, the second novel in the series, we watched as Callie and Haven fell in love. We met Haven in the first novel, Risking Love. In Planting Hope, we hope Jess, Callie’s sister, will find true love. Callie and Jess’s parents are struggling with marital problems and on the verge of divorce which upsets both women. While Callie is preparing for her wedding, Jess is working hard to recreate the moment her parents fell in love. Jess is focused on rescuing her parents’ marriage when Luke enters her life.
Luke, who has inherited his grandmother’s candy shop in a tourist area, has been given the job of purchasing the adjacent properties for his father’s development company. Falling in love with the girl next door complicates everything, especially since she is trying to spruce up the place so her parents will fall in love again and not divorce, and his father wants to tear it all down. Luke wants to please his father, but will he do so at the price of losing Jess? Where can he find true happiness? It’s a question many wrestle with: do we do what makes others happy or do we do what makes us happy? Jess, a new Christian, must also resist falling back into bad habits when she is stressed.
Planting Hope captures common struggles faced by couples as they go deeper into a relationship, determining whether this is love. Luke really knows how to culminate all the princess romance visions a girl might envision.
Anderson develops her characters well with qualities that make them realistic. I found Luke to be a strong man of character with the weakness of being unable to say no to his family. He is the peacemaker in a driven family, and he needs to learn to stand up for himself. Jess, who has been wrapped up in appearances and has trust issues, asks many questions that people ask as they learn to walk deeper in their faith.
Determining what you want from life is always a good place to begin before making big life decisions. Sometimes falling in love forces you to reckon with this important heart issue because ultimately it isn’t a person who makes you happy; it’s who God made you to be that makes you happy and fulfilled.
If you like Hallmark romance movies, you’ll definitely want to read Planting Hope.