In The House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward, Abby inherits an estate in Jewell Cove, Maine, from a great aunt that she didn't know she had. With her immediate family long gone, this mysterious connection to Jewell Cove is not what Abby expected. Abby is angry and hurt about this hidden side of her family, that no one reached out to her while they were alive. The estate needs a lot of work, and Abby's plan is to fix it up, sell, and head back home to Canada - alone. Along with the house there are old family secrets, long buried, but not forgotten about by everyone. Someone wants the truth discovered, and Abby is the person they've picked to do it.
Tom is a local contractor whose dream is restoring old homes such as The House on Blackberry Hill. He wants nothing more than the chance to work on The House on Blackberry Hill...if he can convince Abby he is the man for the job. Abby is not so sure about Tom and the confidence he has in himself...and she is even less sure about the attraction she feels towards him. Neither of them wants any kind of relationship. Tom has not been able to get over the woman he loved and lost, and Abby does not trust easily, she's too used to being let down and losing people she cares about. The more time they spend together though, the closer they become and the attraction can't be denied. Abby slowly starts to trust Tom with her secrets, her ghosts and her self. The House on Blackberry Hill brings them together with a common goal, but will it be a strong enough start? Tom is not as open with Abby, and just as she starts to feel secure in Jewell Cove Tom and his issues might drive her away again. Will either of them ever be able to take a chance on love again?
Donna gives us a strong, enchanting story in The House on Blackberry Hill. She effortlessly blends romance, mystery, and a dash of paranormal. She will draw you in quickly and captivate you with small town Jewell Cove and The House on Blackberry Hill, making you feel like you are there. The characters are all strong, from Abby and Tom to the numerous secondary characters that give The House on Blackberry Hill that extra liveliness. I did feel I would have liked a bit more background on Abby's past, I feel it would have given me a much better understanding of her. Donna does give us some, but not as much as I would have liked. Other than that, Abby is a lady that you will feel for. She is brave, but she is also scared and lonely. She is real, and at times your heart will be sad for her. I really, really enjoyed watching Abby slowly become a part of the community of Jewell Cove. She makes friends, but most of the time remains a bit terrified inside. She really grows throughout The House on Blackberry Hill. Donna gives us great background on Tom, and it is easy to feel frustrated with him at times! I really wanted to see Tom move on from the past and embrace the future, whether or not his future has Abby in it!
The House on Blackberry Hill is filled with humor, heart, and a touch of sadness at times. Donna manages to evoke a variety of emotions throughout with her superb writing, and her descriptions of The House on Blackberry Hill and Jewell Cove make it easy to see in your mind and feel like you're there.
I would recommend The House on Blackberry Hill to all romance readers, especially if you like small town romance! I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.