“Mulberry Hollow” is the 2nd book of the Riverbend series by author Denise Hunter. I had read the first book “Riverbend Gap” last year and liked it very much. The first story was about the conflicted romance between main characters Cooper and Katie Robinson and I remember being emotionally touched by their story and completely involved with the lives of their family.
“Mulberry Hollow” follows Avery Robinson’s romance with Wes Garrett. In the previous book, we had seen that Avery may be a genetic carrier of Huntington’s disease, making her potentially prone to the disease, and that she had decided not to test for it. She has also decided not to marry so as not to inflict her uncertain future on a partner and an innocent child.
In enters Wes, who is hiking the Appalachian trail in memory of his dead friend and is down with fever. He stumbles onto Avery’s clinic and she nurses him back to health. We get to see how their relationship progresses, as he stays on to repair the rundown carriage house near Avery’s clinic as payment for her treatment.
As Avery’s potential illness serves as one of the roadblocks for their romance, Wes’s promise to his dead friend confuses him as well. The story explores their internal conflicts and their personal growth as they decide what they want out of their lives.
I loved the way Avery’s character has been written. She is a complex, conflicted female lead. Author Denise Hunter has attempted to do something similar to Wes’s character too but that didn’t quite work out. I didn’t understand his motives and priorities; most of the things he did, just didn’t make sense to me. It seemed he is a confused person who just didn’t understand what he wanted out of his life. However, I otherwise enjoyed the organic way their relationship developed and grew. I also enjoyed the various interactions of Avery’s family.
Overall, it’s a good follow-up to the previous book and is a warm, sweet and lovely story. I enjoyed it quite a bit and am looking forward to the next story. I recommend it to all people who love sweet, small-town romances.
This book gets 4 out of 5 stars.