Quite a while back I was given the opportunity to review Cecelia Dowdy’s book “Bittersweet Memories” for review. I enjoyed it a great deal. So when Cecelia contacted me on Goodreads and asked if I would like to review her book “Raspberry Kisses” via ebook, I was all in.
Here’s a little bit about the book:
Raspberry Kisses (The Bakery Romance Series – Book One)
Author: Cecelia Dowdy
Published December 4, 2014 by Amazon Digital Services
About the Book (from Goodreads): Facing eviction, Rhea Morrison, a young grieving widow, must save her failing bakery. Her
recently-injured twin sister, Raven, loans her money – stipulating Rhea attend a singles retreat to spy on Martin Lane, Raven’s new love interest. Disgruntled, Rhea attends the retreat and is attracted to Martin. She discovers that Martin can help save her bakery.
Pastor Martin laments over his secret, traumatic past mistakes. He’s destined to lead his father’s church, despite blatant rejection. He can’t love Rhea – he’s yet to forgive himself for his past, and if Rhea knew how he used to be, she would have no interest in pursuing a relationship with him. In spite of their shared attraction, he helps Rhea form a plan to save her business. Martin, a former successful bakery owner, can expertly create delicious pastry recipes.
Rhea feels torn about her attraction to Martin – he’s a pastor, and after her husband’s death, she vowed to never get involved with another pastor. Plus, her twin sister, Raven, has strong feelings for Martin. Can Rhea let herself have romantic feelings for Martin – knowing it would hurt her sister?
Can Martin and Rhea overcome their past so that they’re free to love again?
My Review: I’ll be honest, I enjoyed Raspberry Kisses even more than I expected I would. I read romance, but I have a love/hate relationship with it. I dislike situations that in my own opinion are heavy handed and obvious. These things cause me to roll my eyes and often put books down. I like imperfect characters and people who struggle, especially in a Christian romance, because I am very in touch with reality. Let’s face it…we all struggle. I like to see it in the books I read and I want to feel it. With that being said, Raspberry Kisses did not hand anything out on a silver platter.
When Martin and Rhea meet, of course you expect romance to bloom, it is a romance novel after all. Honestly I really expected that the major complication would be based purely on sibling rivalry, because Raven saw this man first and sent Rhea on this singles retreat simply to keep a bit of an eye on him. If that was all there was, it would have worked, but th was so much more going with Martin and Rhea. Rhea is in serious financial distress. She woudn’t even be at a single retreat if it weren’t for her sister. Rhea needs to focus on keeping her bakery afloat and keeping her bills paid. Romance is definitely not in her thoughts especially as a young widow. Martin is a ministry first kind of guy. He really isn’t at a singles retreat looking for love.
Both Martin and Rhea have their own set of struggles which are brought on by their pasts. Martin is still living with past mistakes that have actually shaped him to be a remarkable man and pastor. Yet he still struggles. It is a truth that so many can relate too. We are intimately aware of our own failings and worry about what would others think if they knew. Even with a past that is well behind him, Martin will have to struggle with who he was and who he is.
Rhea’s past involves life happening to her. She did nothing to cause her own pain, but she has let her pain and loss cause her to retreat into her bakery and delicious goodies. If her twin hadn’t spurred her on to go to a singles retreat, she would still be settled into the bed made for her. Rhea has become solidly guarded. Another interesting thing about Rhea is that she seems to be surrounded by people who need some sort of healing. In fact their needs are more obvious to Rhea than her own.
What I loved –
-I loved that Rhea and Martin are so comfortable going to God in prayer throughout the story. It really showed how simple communication can be with the Lord. So often we think prayers need to be lofty to be heard by the Lord. Martin and Rhea displayed an ongoing conversation with their God.
-There were other characters in the story that intrigued me as well. I wanted to know what would happen with Rhea’s sister-in-law and of course her own sister. There were people in the church that interested me as well. The side characters had a fullness to them that causes me to hope they will be involved in a future story.
-I liked that Martin and Rhea developed a friendship.
Raspberry Kisses was a sweet romance with enough tension laced in to keep me turning the pages. The situation was believable and the characters became people that I would want to know and could relate to. Rhea although the heroine was definitely not perfect. There were points in the story where I was shaking my head at her and thinking “Girl, you need to think before you speak.” She had a bit of a hairpin trigger at times. I loved that, because frankly so do I. It was nice seeing characters that were on point and not a shining example of perfection while everyone else is a mess.
I give Raspberry Kisses four stars and will definitely look forward to other books in the series.
Again in full disclosure I was given this ebook by the author to facilitate my review. I was not required to or requested to give a positive review. The views are all my own.