Gerri Hill is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read and loved her books ever since I found Tori and Sam in the Hunter series. I knew I would be getting her newest romance, After the Summer Rain, just as soon as it was published. I was extremely fortunate to be gifted an ARC by Bella Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, but I would have happily paid for it.
This novel is a pure romance. It’s about Erin Ryder and Melanie (Mel) West. Both women are dealing with trauma and failures. Mel moved to Eagle Bluff Ranch seven years before the story begins, and made a small farm. Eagle Bluff Ranch is a “womyn’s community”, where lesbians could all live in their own homes. Mel, a self-described hermit, values her privacy and wants to live as far from the others as she can possibly get. Her only contact with the outside world is monthly visits to the nearest town for supplies and the monthly dinners with the other residents of the ranch. She occasionally hosts guests who visit the ranch each year, and this year she ended up hosting Erin. A family intervention forced Erin to stay at the ranch for three months before she killed herself with work, caffeine, and booze. After a rocky start, the two women slowly become friends, and end up helping each other heal from their emotional wounds as they tend the farm and animals. But even as this friendship deepens, the end of their time together looms.
As with all of Ms. Hill’s books, this story has a vibrant and stunning setting with strong characters and an intriguing story line. I felt all of the emotions that Erin was going through when she was forced to go to the ranch. I felt her slowly begin to heal as her body recovered from the excesses she had put it through. It was also wonderful seeing the two characters grow together. This is a beautiful story even with the angst that runs through it.
I probably would have picked this book even without the author’s name attached, simply because of the cover. The easiest way to get me to buy a book is to put cute animal faces on the cover. The picture of Rosie (or Nora) the goat as well as the lovely hummingbird and flower would have had me hitting the ‘pay now’ button. I’m a sucker for a cute face, even if it does remind me of the time I was locked in the chicken coop by Allie (a friend’s pet goat) who then refused to let my partner into the shed to get me out. Goats can be devilish little creatures even with those sweet faces.
I loved this story and it is going into my favorites folder. If you love a good romance that makes you go “aww”, and maybe even shed a tear or two, then this book is definitely for you.