This month’s Romance Book Reading Challenge theme was enemies to lovers and I chose the ‘new to you author’ prompt. I think being left after your wedding night is pretty great impetus to make an enemy out of your spouse!
She took a dare and fell in love. Truth would have been the smarter choice.
After years of living under her father’s thumb, Emmeline is ready to break free. She’s abandoned her life as a New York socialite to follow her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher in a small, wholesome town. Seeing the man that nearly broke her was absolutely not what she had hoped to find in Prescott, Montana.
Nick hasn’t seen his Emmy in nine years, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten a thing about the woman he loves. After just one blissful night as man and wife, he gave her up, sacrificing his own happiness to keep her safe—far away from him. But the moment she walks back into his lonely life is the moment he decides never to let her go again. He won’t waste his second chance. All he has to do is win back Emmeline’s heart, keep her safe from the shadows in his past and prove to her that taking a wager on him is a sure bet.
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Emmy and Nick didn’t even spend 24 hours together as a married couple before he bailed on their relationship. He did it to protect her but that can’t undo the heartbreaking nine years apart, for either of them.
In terms of the characters, Nick and Emmy are sweet protagonists. Nick doesn’t waste any time in deciding he’s ready for a second chance. He acknowledges his past mistake and is willing to spend the rest of his life making up for it. He is a bit high handed about some issues but he’s also willing to do what’s best for the love of his life. Emmy is a school teacher with the biggest heart. She’s not a pushover but she is incredibly loving and willing to forgive… even Nick.
Forgiveness, true forgiveness is the central theme of this story. It’s not just about the giver but also how does a person accept forgiveness and move on, and continue in a manner deserving of that forgiveness. It’s an idea that plays out in several relationships in the novel.
The secondary characters are delightful. There are Gigi and Brick from the first book in the series whose teasing banter provides comic relief. Emmy’s mother and her boyfriend also drive a touch of humour and sweetness through the story. That’s much needed to balance the bitterness emanating from her father.
There is some suspense to this story, as well, as Emmy contends with unexplained break-ins to her home. The unraveling of that mystery is well-done and even surprising as her past, present and future are all rolled into that aspect quite well.
Overall this was a sweet read about two souls finding their forever connection despite a tremendously rocky beginning. I give The Clover Chapel 4/5 espresso shots.