Publication Date: December 31st 2018 by Berkley
About the book:
The New York Times bestselling author of Spring Forward returns to Mystic Creek, Oregon, where an estranged pair are given a second chance.
As a camp cook, Vickie Brown loves feeding any size crowd in the great outdoors--with one notable exception. She never would have predicted she'd join the crew led by gruff cowboy Slade Wilder, the man who broke her heart just days before their wedding.
Life has gone on since Vickie left him, but Slade can admit his attraction to the one woman he's ever loved remains stronger than ever. If he wasn't in such desperate need of an experienced cook for his paying guests, he would send Vickie packing. He knows better than to seek out the company of the woman who broke off their engagement so many years ago.
Except there's no escaping each other in the confines of the wilderness area, especially once their anger begins to soften in the shared close quarters. But after Vickie finds the courage to confront Slade, it will take a leap of faith for them to put their past behind him, even if it's the only way to recapture their once-in-a-lifetime love.
Going in to Strawberry Hill I thought this was a romance between Erin, the new Mystic Creek Deputy and Wyatt, a ranch foreman who is deaf, because there are two book descriptions out there and the one originally read was about Erin and Wyatt. I didn’t realize this until I got to the epilogue and Erin and Wyatt hadn’t exchange as much as a kiss through the story, and I went onto Goodreads to investigate. I think I would’ve enjoyed this story more if I’d known this was Vicky and Slade’s romance going in. I wouldn’t have had expectations for Erin and Wyatt only to be disappointed.
I’ve featured the accurate book description for this story above, because this is mainly a romance between Vicky and Slade, a couple torn apart right before their wedding day some forty-years earlier. Now, in their 60’s Vicky feels it’s time to confront Slade about the past and she intends to make him own up to responsibilities she thinks he’s knowingly ignored all these years.
I had fun with all the characters, Vicky and Slade were very likable and hilarious at times, and I loved all of Erin and Wyatt’s interactions. Erin kind of made a fool of herself as a Deputy Sheriff when she doesn’t realize Wyatt is deaf. They’re both very much attracted, but Wyatt is hesitant for reasons I’m not yet sure of at this point. I was totally enamored with Wyatt and in awe of his abilities with horses and people even with his disability. It was almost uncanny. Erin and Wyatt had a lot of page time and I kept thinking they’d transition into more.
But I think the biggest hang-up for me here was the forty-years Vicky and Slade wasted being apart, mainly Vicky’s fault, in my opinion. Instead of hashing out an accusation, Vicky broke off their engagement and took off. Also, Vicky seemed to think the world of Slade but still wouldn’t take his word even when never wavered about his innocence all these years later. I was baffled by Vicky’s stubborn refusal to believe Slade when she supposedly had such a high opinion of him. It bothers me that they could’ve been happy together all those years, especially because neither healed or moved on after the breakup. When I finished, I just kept thinking about all that wasted time and it just made me sad.
Still, while I was reading, I wasn’t as stuck on these things, I was more in the moment, so I did enjoy the story as I was reading it. Vicky’s lack of confidence in Slade’s word was annoying, but they just seemed so meant-to-be every time they were together. They had an easy rapport, and their chemistry was impossible to ignore.
I really liked the little town of Mystic Creek Catherine Anderson created. It’s beautifully described, and the characters were both quirky and charming. The idea of a camp vacation with horses sounds like a lot of fun. The pine, moss, and starry nights came to life with Ms. Anderson’s writing.
While I think Vicky and Slade’s romance was bittersweet, even with the wonderful ending, I am totally looking forward to Erin and Wyatt’s romance which I hope is next!
The lovely people of Berkley have kindly provided A Paperback Copy of Strawberry Hill by Catherine Anderson to one lucky reader. The giveaway is open to US Residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win.