Sophie Caldwell has returned to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, after years away. Despite the heartaches of her childhood, Sophie is determined to make a home, and a name, for herself in the growing town. A gifted writer, she plans to resurrect the local newspaper that so enchanted her as a girl.
Ethan Heyward’s idyllic childhood was shattered by a tragedy he has spent years trying to forget. An accomplished businessman and architect, he has built a majestic resort in the mountains above Hickory Ridge, drawing wealthy tourists from all over the country.
When Sophie interviews Ethan for the paper, he is impressed with her intelligence and astounded by her beauty. She’s equally intrigued but fears he will reject her if he learns about her shadowed past. Just as she summons the courage to tell him, Ethan’s own past unexpectedly and violently catches up with him, threatening not only his life but their budding romance.
Readers of the Hickory Ridge series will immediately recognize Sophie. When we first met her in Beyond All Measure, she was a young child living a lonely existence in the Hickory Ridge orphanage. While the other orphans attended school, Sophie was made to do chores around the building. Her mixed background, of which very little was known, meant that she was ostracized by many of the townsfolk.
We now meet her when she returns to Hickory Ridge to restart the town newspaper. The intervening years have been good to her. She is loved, and she has received a very good education. Yet she still feels a disconnect with those around her, mostly due to the mystery of her heritage. There are people in Hickory Ridge who remember her, and old prejudices die hard. Despite those prejudices, however, Sophie’s main opposition comes from a wealthy businessman who has opened a resort in town. It isn’t because he objects to her background, but rather what she publishes about the resort in her paper.
The main plot centers around Sophie keeping the mystery surrounding her parentage a secret from suitor Ethan, but this is resolved long before the end of the book. The secret Ethan keeps takes a little longer to be revealed but this part of the storyline is wrapped up equally smoothly. The remainder of the story seems to focus on Sophie deciding where her future lies. If there’s a downside to the novel, it’s that there are a couple of different subplots going on also. As a result, some of the plotlines either feel rushed or incomplete.
As for the characters, both Sophie and Ethan are likable as are many of the others in the book. My favorite was Caleb. After Sophie inadvertently gets him fired from his job at the resort, he comes to work for her at the newspaper and is a quick learner of the business. He also has a love interest of his own. This is one of the subplots that sadly feels rushed and is wrapped up behind the scenes.
This is the third and final book of the Hickory Ridge trilogy. I don’t know that it’s necessary to read all three – I haven’t read the middle book – but that doesn’t mean Every Perfect Gift is a standalone. I definitely recommend reading Beyond All Measure first to understand Sophie’s early life in the orphanage.
Dorothy Love has stated her next novel is set on a rice plantation in South Carolina. It’s scheduled to be published by Thomas Nelson later this year.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 04 December 2012
Page Count: 320
Thank you to Thomas Nelson for my free electronic copy of Every Perfect Gift, which I downloaded from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.