Author: Alice Clayton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Warning: Discussions of abusive and/or neglectful foster families.
Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call re-branding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….
Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.
It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.
The one big problem that I have with Alice Clayton’s books is that I am always left wanting more. I want more of the characters, more of the heart within her books and more of the history of the places where her books take place.
The third, and sadly last book in the Hudson Valley novels brings Clara to the forefront. She’s been touched on before in the previous two novels and yet I was so happy to learn more about her. Especially when I found out just how much she had been through.
Her life has been a hard one, and as happens with people sometimes she’s developed a pretty hard shell around herself for protection. It doesn’t make her character feel cookie cutter like it does in some novels though as she seemed to leap off the page for me.
Archie is another tough nut to crack (See what I did there?) and yet I found myself wondering if his character, even as it developed couldn’t be shown a bit more. Although the epilogue does show a little bit of his point of view I couldn’t help but want him to be a bit more open, even if it wasn’t his point of view, to flesh him out a little further.
As always there is humour in AC’s books and I’m certainly not complaining about that. This one, however was a little darker than others but very honest. Overall an enjoyable read, that I simultaneously didn’t want to put down, but also did, because I didn’t want it to end.