cover image Blue Ridge Sunrise

Blue Ridge Sunrise

Denise Hunter. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-7180-9050-0

With mixed results, Hunter (The Convenient Groom) considers themes of trust and the corroding power of secrets in this weighty family drama wrapped in a winsome reunion tale. After five years away, Zoe Collins returns to Copper Creek, Ga. with her daughter and her protective boyfriend, Kyle, to attend her grandmother’s funeral. Soon Zoe learns that her grandmother left her the farm as well as a peach orchard. Instead of returning to Nashville with Kyle, Zoe decides to stay in Copper Creek and reboot her life. Old friendships are quickly rekindled and Zoe begins to make amends for her recent distance from her family. But the one thing Zoe didn’t plan on is her old flame, Cruz Huntley, being the orchard manager. Pieces seem to be falling almost too neatly into place until Cruz learns a secret about Zoe’s daughter that’s been kept hidden for years. Hunter creates characters that are loving but also determined and single-minded—leading to situations that escalate beyond the scope of reason. Overt references to God are few and far between, with faith informing the characters’ upbringings but not their behavior. Hunter admirably eschews any lightweight resolutions in favor of a heart-pounding story with dramatic twists. Agent: Karen Solem, Spencerhill. (Nov.)