Summer At Orchard House (Blue Hills #1) by Ellyn Oaksmith
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The Alvarez sisters have grown up and moved away—but now their dad is in crisis, the family business is collapsing and it’s time to go home to Lake Chelan.
Carmen Alvarez is the reliable one. When her vulnerable father’s livelihood is threatened, she’s the person her sisters call. Abandoning her job in Seattle, Carmen races home to the family vineyard her dad built up from nothing to set things straight. But soon she’s fallen back in love with the dusty sage hills, the turquoise blue lake, the fragrant June orchards… Maybe she’s not just home for the summer?
Standing in the way of Carmen’s happiness is one very attractive obstacle: new neighbor Evan Hollister, who’s after her dad’s land. He’s arrogant, entitled and spoiled—everything Carmen hates—and she is all set to have a bit of fun driving him out of town so things can get back to normal. She isn’t ready for their relationship to get complicated…
But Evan is the least of Carmen’s worries. The business is falling apart and it starts to look like Carmen might lose much more than just her pride: employees have quit, the bank keeps calling, and everything her father worked so hard for is slipping away. As she is pushed to breaking point, Carmen will learn that her true family are the people who will see her through the worst of times, and that love can be found in the most unlikely of places.
Neighbors aren’t all they’re cracked up to be…especially in wine country. Evan and Carmen do not have much in common except the need to make prize-winning wine and their overwhelming attraction to each other. Too bad he wants her father’s vineyard and she is refusing to sell.
I understand Carmen’s determination to save her family’s vineyard, but I don’t like her tactics. She seems angry all of the time and jumps to conclusions too quickly, especially when it comes to Evan. As for Evan, yes, he’s a bit too flashy driving around with his yellow Lamborghini, but he truly wants to make something of himself in the wine business and I felt bad for him when everyone seemed so inhospitable and hostile. Carmen’s best friend Stella is my favorite character with her comedic relief to deter Carmen’s grumpiness. In fact, I plan to save Stella’s phrase “yum on a stick” for a future fun party. Juan, Carmen’s father, is also a great character with his charming sense of family and memories while fighting his diminished memory.
I was fascinated to learn a few things about winemaking. Not just the physical aspects, but nowadays using social media and PR strategies to promote business. Carmen’s ideas were really unique.
Overall, I fell in love with Chelan, Washington, the beautiful vineyards, and the delightful characters while learning about winemaking. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy this fun summertime read!
Thank you to Ms. Oaksmith for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ellyn Oaksmith is a USA Today and Kindle bestselling author. After graduating from The American Film Institute, Ellyn was a screenwriter in Hollywood, pitching movies, rewriting scripts, and navigating the Los Angeles freeways before Google Maps. Meeting movie stars was a fun and surreal perk.
Ellyn’s first book was published by Avon/Harper Collins. Other contemporary romances with smart, ambitious heroines followed.
Ellyn lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and their polydactyl cat, Forest. Ellyn is an avid competitive rower.
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