Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.
This month I’m featuring a sweet, clean romance from Debbie Macomber. ANY DREAM WILL DO features a female ex-con who builds a new life with the help of a little divine guidance. This is the fourth book in the New Beginnings series which includes THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON and IF NOT FOR YOU, but is easily enjoyed as a standalone.
About the book:
Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.
Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.
The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.
But Caden’s return to town and a disastrous secret threaten to undo the life Shay has tried so hard to rebuild. It will take the utmost courage and faith if she and Drew hope to find healing and open their hearts to a brighter future.
Shay Benson served three years after taking money form the bank where she worked to help her younger brother, Caden, pay off his drug supplier–and save his life. It’s time she never wanted to spend, but she didn’t have anyone left in her life to keep her or Caden out of harm’s way.
Now freed, she has $100 and some hand-me-down clothes with which to begin again. Tired and cold in the December weather, Shay stops into a church to find a little warmth. She also find Pastor Drew Douglas, a man still fighting his grief over the passing of his beloved wife three years prior. Pastor Drew makes it his mission to help Shay find shelter, and his connection with a womens’ center gets Shay not just a place to stay, but also counseling and job training. Over the course of a year, Shay and Drew see each other sporadically. His friend runs her jobs program, and she sometimes watches his daughter in a center-sponsored childcare. Both his children, surprisingly, gravitate toward Shay and want to include her in family dinners and special moments.It’s not long before Drew acknowledges his own attraction to Shay’s gentle nature and abundant kindness.
Though, it’s not all easy. Drew’s parishoners aren’t keen on him marrying an ex-con–not when there are so many “decent” women to marry. And, Drew’s bombarded by offers on many side before he recognizes that Shay is the gal for him. Naturally, there are some crises, and Shay falls under suspicion of wrong-doing–only to have things turn out sunny in the end.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of religious romance, but I really appreciate the delicate position of a minister looking for love. It brings an interesting gravitas to a romance. There’s no steam here, but there are plenty of feels. Drew’s plagued by doubt and guilt–in his faith and his love. Shay’s a good woman who had a bad start in life, and she’s paid her dues more than twice. I was glad she found a good stable man to love her, but she’s not going to take any guff from him either. I sure liked the ‘atta girl moments, and had a few times where I shook the bed holding in my laughter. Poor Pastor! Those eligible ladies sure had high hopes, and he’s called tot he carpet a few times defending Shay from some nasty allegations. Expect a hefty helping of redemption in this one, and all the folks who initially cast a gimlet eye on Shay ended up being smitten with her in the end. Its a sweet read, and I enjoyed it.
Interested? You can find ANY DREAM WILL DO on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other discount book outlets like Target, WalMart and your library, undoubtedly. I received a review copy via NetGalley.
about the Author:
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 990 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Sixteen of these novels hit the number one spot.
Thanks for popping in and don’t forget to pop in and see my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers sharing their fave reads of the month.