The House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward

Posted April 27, 2014 | 38 Comments

The House on Blackberry Hill by Donna AlwardThe House on Blackberry Hill
Author: Donna Alward
Series: Jewell Cove #1
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

When a young woman inherits a rundown mansion, the last thing she expects to find is the key to her heart…

Abby Foster is a fish out of water in the Maine coastal town of Jewell Cove. The crumbling Foster estate, left to her by a relative she never even knew, has everyone’s eyes on her—an eerie reminder of the long-buried family secrets that have haunted her…forever. Single, stunning, and sometimes too strong-willed for her own good, Abby’s plan is to sell the house and hightail it back to Nova Scotia. But another part of her is intrigued by the idea of starting over somewhere new—and finally learning the truth about her heritage.

Enter Tom Arseneault. The best contractor in Jewell Cove, Tom is determined to restore the beauty and prestige of the Foster mansion—and maybe even work his charms on its beautiful new heir. The attraction between him and Abby is undeniable, and the more time Tom spends on the house the more he wants to be in it with her. But Abby’s not sure she can trust him—or anyone in Jewell Cove who seems to know more about her family history than she does. Home: Is it really where the heart is after all?

Well, wasn’t this nice! Okay, confession time: I pretty much knew I wanted to read The House on Blackberry Hill when I saw the cover because it gave off such sweet vibe, but when I saw the setting, I knew I had to read it. I honestly didn’t even read the whole blurb, nor have I yet. Good thing it turned out to be a worthwhile gamble.

Abby & Tom – We get both POVs. I liked her, I really liked her! She’s independent and feisty, which is always a good thing in my eyes. She has commitment issues, but there is quite a bit of growth from her throughout the book. And Tom – this guy is a sweetheart! He a contractor with his own company, who has a serious love for older homes, especially Abby’s mansion. He’s wrestling is own demons of loss and guilt that he had to work through. I loved how Abby confided in him about everything she discovered, and how he was so supportive.

Romance – Both Tom and Abby have some issues when it comes to the romance department, and when these two meet, it doesn’t exactly start off on a good note. While they were attracted to each other, they had to work through their own hang-ups before they were able to move forward together. It wasn’t necessarily a burning hot love fest between these two; it was mostly fun and sweet, on the tame side. When they got along, that it.

Setting – A small seaside town in Maine? I’m all for that. Dork alert: Ever since I did my state report on Maine when I was in the 5th grade, I’ve had a soft spot for it. So after California, Maine is my second favorite state to have a story take place in. Besides the Maine connection though, I also loved the small town setting where everyone knows everyone, and how they are a close-knit community. It’s the type that has a lot of history, where the family of the founders still reside. I just really like the feel of it.

Secondary characters – Most of them are Tom’s family, but there were a couple of old timers who helped Abby get to know her family and the history through stories. I enjoyed how involved and close Tom’s family is though, especially his cousin Jess. I could tell she was probably going to be the focus of the next book in the series, and it looks like I’m right. As usual. 😉 Seriously though, I liked how they welcomed Abby in and did a little meddling between her and Tom – in a good way. Also, Tom’s cousin Josh plays a somewhat pivotal role in the story, so I’m glad we get his POV, even though it’s only twice. The author made a good call by doing that. Don’t worry, it’s not a love-triangle with Abby.

Mystery – Abby never even knew about this side of the family until the great-aunt she never knew existed left her a mansion and an obscene amount of money. She initially wants to sell it and have nothing more to do with the house, but she starts digging into the family history and wants to know why her grandmother never mentioned a sister or anyone else. She becomes determined to learn about the family and uncover the secrets that the old mansion holds. The author did a really good job with this. There’s also a … slight paranormal aspect to it. By no means would I categorize this book as paranormal, but there is a little something.

So overall, I liked The House on Blackberry Hill. It was a nice solid read, and I look forward to the next book in the Jewell Cove series.



38 responses to “The House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward

    • Christy

      My mood shifts a lot, so the types of books I read changes. Obviously I was in a … sweet mood when I read this. lol.

  1. Hmmm, sounds interesting. Of course, I’m the evil kind of reader who wants lots of pain and drama going on with the main couple, lol, intensity-insanity kind of vibe of doom, lol. I tend to not respond well to the sweet, fluffy, vanilla like kind of chemistry, but who knows? I might give this a try since you mentioned that magic word – mystery 😀

    Btw, totally loved the format of the review! My utter inner OCD-er very much approves! And love the new background of the blog too 😀

    • Christy

      lol – oh, I totally know what you mean. I’m like that too, but I also like this type of read too. I just depends on my mood, which varies quite a bit. 😀

  2. This sounds really cute. I didn’t do a project on Maine (LOL!), but I’ve always loved northern coastal towns, so it’s been a favorite of mine too. And surprise inheritance stories are always a big hit with me as well. Definitely wishlisting this one 😉

    Jessica recently posted: Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
    • Christy

      lol – I didn’t even want to have Maine as my state, but was glad it was assigned to me afterwards. 😀

    • Christy

      lol – I’m usually pretty good about not getting totally suckered in by a cover, but sometimes the right cover catches me at the right time.

  3. I’m liking the sound of this one Christy! A feisty, independent heroine and a hero tortured by his own demons? Um. Yes. Yes please. I’ve always had a soft spot for Maine too even though I’ve never been there, it’s one of those states I’ve always wanted to visit. It just seems so idyllic!

  4. Awh, it does sound sweet (and the cover is cute). Independent and feisty! My type of MC. I always have a problem with male POV’s (especially when it comes to the author being female, it just always feels weird to me for some reason) but it sounds okay! 🙂

    Kirsty-Marie recently posted: Review: Tease
    • Christy

      I know some people are like that, and when it comes to male authors writing women POVs too, but I very rarely feel that way. I don’t really notice or pay much mind unless it’s really bad – lol.

    • Christy

      I don’t read this type of book often, so I’m glad this one turned out to be good. I’ve been curious about Shalvis’ books, but haven’t got around to reading any of them.

    • Christy

      Well that sucks. I think you’d like this one. The little mystery of her family was interesting and done really well.

    • Christy

      It was a really nice book. Tamer to what I’ve been reading lately, but it’s still really good.

    • Christy

      No, it’s not magical realism … there’s just a presence in the house, but it isn’t a big part of the story.


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