Review written by Serena Chase, USA TODAY
Genre: Inspirational romance
The small mountain town of Eternity Springs has a long memory — especially if a person’s past is less than pristine. Fortunately, however, the town also has a resident “angel” in Celeste Blessing, and that Harley-riding, spa-retreat-owning purveyor of romantic restoration is determined to bring hope and healing to the people of Eternity Springs.
In Lover’s Leap, the fourth book in Emily March’s Eternity Springs series, Celeste is at it again. And this time she hopes to redeem more than romance — she aims to restore a family that was torn apart before it ever had a chance to begin.
Here’s the sitch: Sarah Reese is thrilled to win an all-expense-paid trip for two to Australia, and when she and her college-age daughter, Lori, arrive at the location of their last Australian adventure — a diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef — they can’t wait to get on the boat. Sarah’s excitement fizzles, however, when she hears a familiar name and realizes the captain of their charter is none other than Cameron Murphy, the teenage delinquent who ran out on her 20 years earlier — when she was 16 — and pregnant with his child. But Cam isn’t the cute juvie rebel she fell for in high school. Now, he’s a successful business owner — and he looks better than ever.
When Sarah and Lori realize that the teen driver who picked them up from the hotel is Cam’s son, the sting of betrayal is fierce. Without a word to Cam, Sarah and Lori flee, finishing their dream vacation in a mixed state of disbelief, outrage and hurt.
The town of Eternity Springs holds a thousand regrets for Cam Murphy, the biggest of which is Lori, the daughter he’s never met. He left town believing that Sarah and their daughter would be better off without the taint of his “bad Murphy blood” in their lives, but seeing Sarah again, even at a distance — and Lori, for the first time — awakens the desire to reclaim his first and only love and to cultivate a relationship with his daughter. He and his teenage son leave their business in Australia and head to Colorado so Cam can confront the demons of his past. But he doesn’t know that, since he left 20 years ago, an angel has come to rest awhile in Eternity Springs, and she is determined to see that Cam — and his relationship with Sarah — is redeemed.
Hits & misses: The characters and setting of this novel are well-developed. Even coming in late (Lover’s Leap is the fourth book in what’s expected to be a five-novel series) the author provides just enough back story to ensure a first-time visitor to Eternity Springs won’t become lost or confused. Fans of the first three books of the series will likely have a much clearer grasp on the large cast of characters — including the mystery of who/what Celeste Blessing is (and what she’s about) than those who are new to the series, but those coming in fresh to book four shouldn’t have too much trouble catching on.
Lover’s Leap is an enjoyable book, but this is not a thrill-a-minute novel or a cozy one-afternoon read. The plot is fairly clear from the beginning, but with all the angst-ridden side roads and necessary back story the reader must navigate in order to reach the story’s climax, there are times it seems as though it is taking for-ev-er to get from point A to point C. The author was, perhaps, a bit overly thorough in her plot development — the story’s pace would have benefited by condensing some of the lesser subplots — but it is still a pleasant story.
To read or not to read: Readers who remember the Della Reese/Roma Downey series, Touched by an Angel, will find Eternity Springs a comfortable place to visit; but, unlike the squeaky-clean TV show, they will find this small town’s residents a little more — ahem — sexually driven. While there is nothing in this book that (most) readers would consider overly erotic, there are some pretty titillating lead-ins that leave the reader with no doubt as to what has transpired in the bedroom. (Or in the shower. Or under the tree. Or … well, you get the idea.)
Emily March has created a fun cast of characters who just happen to benefit from the intervention of a nosy, angelic advocate. With passion, romance, and revealing moments that will touch your heart, Lover’s Leap takes readers on an unhurried journey where past mistakes are redeemed and a more beautiful future is forged — one miracle at a time.
A writer, performer and accomplished partaker of dark chocolate, Serena Chase lives in Iowa with her husband and two daughters. Her reviews can also be found at the blog Edgy Inspirational Romance.
Check out the rest of the Eternity Springs novels here Start the series with Angels Rest – Enjoy!