#Harlequin #SuperRomance Book Review | “Promises Under the Peach Tree” (part of a duology) by Joanne Rock

Posted Sunday, 7 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was a host for Lola’s Blog Tours back in [2015] – enjoying working with Lola to showcase the authors who were using her services with their stories until my personal life tipped the scales a bit in regards to what I could handle doing back then and what I needed to realise was a sign I needed to withdraw from a few newer commitments to seek better balance in the future. It was a two year journey – of being mindful and conscious of pulling back on requesting too many books – which at the time I hadn’t thought I was doing – opting instead for a reduced blog schedule which yielded better personal health. It was also prior to recognising my chronic migraines were not going to ‘go away’ on their own and I had to take steps to curb their re-appearances; hence why in [2016] I started to seek out audiobooks in earnest as a break from reading books in print.

Originally, I was meant to post my reviews of both novels “Promises Under The Peach Tree” and “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” within the same week of each other. I did receive them with an open-ended deadline – meaning, they were received without an obligation to post an immediate honest review and could be read in my leisure. Thus, as [2017] took it’s final countdown to greet [2018] I found I could finally re-focus on the stories awaiting me on my backlogue.

I received a complimentary copy of “Promises Under The Peach Tree” direct from the author Joanne Rock in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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#Harlequin #SuperRomance Book Review | “Promises Under the Peach Tree” (part of a duology) by Joanne RockPromises Under the Peach Tree

The trouble with Heartache

Nina Spencer swore she was done with Heartache, Tennessee, when she left the town—and her sexy ex, Mack—in her rear-view mirror. But when her bakery business is rocked by scandal, she needs a place to regroup. What she doesn't need is Mack Finley reminding her of peach-flavored kisses and the hold he still has on her.

Mack never forgot Nina—not that he didn't try. Yet between caring for his family and organizing the annual Harvest Fest, he's overwhelmed and he needs Nina's help. They can work together without getting swept up in memories and the rush of brand-new passion…right?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780373608706

on 2nd September, 2014

Pages: 384

Published By: Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
via their imprint Harlequin Super Romance

A Harlequin Super Romance duology:

Promises Under the Peach Tree by Joanne RockNights Under the Tennessee Stars by Joanne Rock

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #HarlequinBooks + #HarlequinSuperRomance; #Contemporary #Romance

About Joanne Rock

Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock never met a romance subgenre she didn't enjoy. The author of over sixty romances from contemporary to medieval historical, Joanne dreams of one day penning a book for every Harlequin series. A former Golden Heart recipient, she has won numerous awards for her stories. Learn more about Joanne's imaginative Muse by visiting her at the sites below.

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my review of promises under the peach tree:

I don’t believe I’ve read a more intensely emotional opening sequence of a novel than this one! At least, not for quite a long time. Nina is beyond distraught over her emotional angst stemming from a past relationship she’s never allowed herself to heal from or recover out of – as noted by how her impulsive emotional triggers are responding to things never spoken aloud. Mack on the other hand is trying to find a way to tread through his return to Heartache – a call from his brother was insisting he was needed; his brother had a marriage drifting towards divorce, their mother was having a bad spell with her mental health struggles and meeting up with his teenage love Nina was pushing him a bit over the edge. To be honest, neither of them were ready to see each other, much less try to fill the gap of the years they had been apart with idle conversation now.

Nina’s emotional health was shouldered on the surface of her being – she didn’t hold back and she didn’t wait long enough to think through what she wanted to say either. She simply spoke her mind – whatever she was feeling at that moment and ran with it. This sort of brokered trouble because she misread most of the conversation – especially in regards to the motives behind Mack’s return to their hometown. His intentions were to help his family, she only believed he wanted to goad his success over her own failures – the sad truth really is they both were emotionally shattered by how their relationship ended. Ironically or not, they each had a different point-of-view on their exit from their romance affected them long-term – of how theirs was a relationship which should have lasted but only left them with remorse, regret and uncertainty of what really went wrong.

Whilst Mack needed to help his family with the adversities they were living through, Nina had returnt to her grandmother’s house on the implication from her father she could no longer live without assistance. What felt contrary to that truth in Nina’s eyes was how she found her grandmother – fully alive with an independent spirit of self-motivated grit to find a way to thrive in her house whilst owning to the fact her body was aging at a faster rate than she wanted to admit. You could tell Nina felt caught between them both; she only wanted what was best for her grandmother, but with her own life falling into shattered glass – how could she pick of the pieces of another person’s life if she couldn’t repair her own?

Ally was caught between a tidal wave and a life preserver – she felt what Nina had felt about leaving Heartache and striking out on her own – all these years later, history was repeating itself, where two small towne girls’ felt they had to leave their families in order to feel freer to live. The emotional pain she was feeling was past what she could filter out anymore and she was taking extreme measures to release the hold they had over her mind. She wasn’t a cutter* per se, but she could have been one – she found a different route to affect direct pain on her person and in so doing had a physical response to put a light on what she felt internally but could not express aloud. This situation with her reminded me of a sequence within Sherryl Wood’s Sweet Magnolia’s series involving a teenage daughter of one of the main characters – it’s pivotal to explore this situation because a lot of teens feel they have no one to talk to and if they do have someone – if that person is unavailable it puts them in crisis mode. Finding authors who are talking openly about mental health and emotional health issues in teens is a healthy component to Contemporary Fiction because it peels back the shame a lot of girls’ have felt IRL dealing with similar circumstances in their own lives.

*I re-read the passage involving the emergency and I thought the author was hinting towards deep scratches with fingernails the first time I read it but that seemed odd, considering the depth of the wound. A bit further into the story-line after Ally goes back home from the hospital, my first thought was confirmed – she does scratch herself until she bleeds. I think some of this needs a bit of clarifying because you could read and interpret these sequences two different ways. So, when I said ‘wasn’t a cutter per se’ I was honing in on the fact she really isn’t one. This doesn’t downplay the urgency of her seeking help and support but it does explain her particular route to bleed out her emotions.

Heartache is well named – the residents have a hard time expressing their emotions – some leave their emotions bottled inside them, others shout to release them and a few have no understanding about how to even approach expressing themselves until they find the harsh words they say in haste isn’t the right way round to fix the issue at hand. The characters, young and old are struggling to find resolution in their lives – the teens are emotionally anguished by their families choices and the adults, are either still trying to heal their own teenage lives (as a lot happened with affected the whole town when one teen died tragically premature) or they have difficulties in their relationships. Some have commitment issues, others struggle to accept they can parent children without the worrying concerns over inherited health issues whilst a few are just trying to find stability in their lives as a measure of growth past their adversities.

I admit, I was a bit more wrapped inside Ally’s struggle to find truth and understanding about her mental health issues than I was as held by Nina and Mack’s hard-fought restitution for past hurts. There were a lot of back and forth narrative choices which muddled Nina and Mack’s growth from the past but also, at one point, I was finding myself not as interested in if they resolved their issues or if they parted company. Their story-line I didn’t feel was the strongest one in the novel – it was Ally, her friends at school and the break-down of her parents marriage which I felt held far more traction of interest.

On the Contemporary Romance styling of Joanne Rock:

I’ll admit it – at first I wasn’t sure I could get into this story – I felt there was so much being delivered so quickly into the foreground of meeting Nina and Mack, I would grow lost and disoriented. Almost succeeded on that note but I hung in there because I do enjoy Harlequin Romances even if I believe this is one of or the only one I’ve read of their Super Romances. I’m a bit muddled in memory if this marks my first reading or my second. Either way, once you give the story a chance – you find it’s rhythm.

A note about #EqualityInLit:

There is a secondary story-line involving an LGBTQ+ teenage girl – of whom has a severely prejudicial mother and who seeks to control what she feels is is not acceptable in her daughter’s life. It’s a poignant glimpse (a small one – as this side of the novel was not fully fleshed out) into how teenagers who are LGBTQ+ living in homes where their families do not accept them unconditional try to seek out people to trust even if they feel surrounded by ignorant bias. This girl’s story-line was only lightly touched upon – especially after a dramatic turn on her personal journey during a life / death emergency; however, I think it would have served the story better if Rachel could have talked more openly with Ally and Ethan.

If there had been time given to their social interactions more than ‘quick segues’ between Mack and Nina’s romantic re-connection, I think it would have had better fluidity. Instead, a lot of what kept you turning the pages fell a bit short on details; there was enough there to give you closure, but only ‘just’ enough as I was left with unanswered questions. I think part of the problems stemmed from the fact this was more of a Women’s Fiction novel than a Super Romance for Harlequin; it could have had more depth and girth in the other branch of Lit rather than to become a bit short-changed on the teens in the story who really I felt were the shining lights of it’s heart.

Inasmuch as I loved the grandmother – I felt she should have had more flexible entrances – especially to highlight sometimes teens and children thrive better living with their grandparents instead of their parents. Sometimes they can get ‘through’ to them on a level parents cannot; they can help them work through and think through what their going through without the teens/children feeling constantly attacked for not being able to ‘explain’ their innermost feelings or how their actions are not always the best for their health. To me, the grandmother felt like the real lead character who anchoured everyone else together – the guiding light and the voice of reason out of the darkness. Hence why I felt this could have been re-directed as Women’s Fiction but from an unorthodox character who might not always be considered for the role she seemed right to portray.

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Fly in the Ointment:

Interestingly, in all the years I’ve been reading Harlequin Romances through a variety of their imprints, I don’t recall reading a lot of vulgarity in their novels? I was quite surprised to find several peppered within this story as they generally have had the tendency of being softer edged compared to most Contemporary or Historical releases which do at times entertain harder language. Hence why I made a notation here – I also noticed the tone of the novel was a bit stronger in some ways, more blunt in others and at times, I was surprised to see I was reading a Harlequin Super Romance.

I admit, I’m not as read on the stories of this imprint, so it could be par for course or it’s not a frequent observation to be made on behalf of the stories – either way, I was surprised. Interestingly enough, of late – I am finding I am more akin to reading Harlequin Heartwarming and Harlequin Love Inspired moreso now than I am to explore the Super Romances. I am unsure if I had read this closer to when I received the novel(s) in this duology if I would have felt differently – I’d err on thinking I’d be of the same mind, because as I said, I have read Harlequin off/on for years now – including their MIRA imprint and others not necessarily attached to their store imprints you can readily find shelved at grocery and department stores.

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This book review was courtesy of Lola’s Book Tours with an open-ended deadline. I hadn’t foreseen at the time it would extend into a two year gap between receiving the novels and posting my reviews; however, sometimes life does take you by surprise! I postponed the reviews (as well as those within my backlogue) to give them the proper attention they deserved before I shared my thoughts on their behalf. I was thankful for the patience in Lola, herself for giving me time to re-connect with the stories but also, from being on an extended hiatus from being one of her tour hosts. I’ve happily kept in the loop via her newsletters.

I look forward to hosting more blog tours & guest authors features via:

Lola's Blog ToursAs I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. Now, as a 4th Year Book Blogger on the fringes of celebrating my 5th Year (come March, 2018) I’ve decided I’ve reached a point where I can have better flexibility with scheduling guest features and reviews on my blog without feeling I’m stretched too thin between the commitments I’m making to feature the stories and authors I am blessed with thanksgiving to discover as I blog my readerly life.

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I’m had the pleasure of resuming hosting Harlequin Authors this past Autumn and Early Winter – I am looking forward to the current titles I am reading on their behalf whilst thankful it was through Lola’s Book Tours I was initially inspired to seek them out after a long absence from my life. Something I shared more about this year – also, too, I am purposefully trying to seek out Contemporary story-lines without always yielding to my passion for reading Historicals. Not that this is wrong but sometimes I know I miss out on the modern story-lines which I do honestly love but tend to overlooked for the historic past.
Previously I hosted Karen Rock and her Harlequin Romance novel ‘A League of Her Own’.

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{SOURCES: Book covers for “Promises Under the Peach Tree” and “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars”, author biography for Joanne Rock and the author photograph for Joanne Rock as well as the badge for Lola’s Blog Tours were provided by Lola’s Blog Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 7 January, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Cutting, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne USA, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Transfer Student at School, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Health

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2 responses to “#Harlequin #SuperRomance Book Review | “Promises Under the Peach Tree” (part of a duology) by Joanne Rock

  1. Jorie, I’m so grateful for your thoughtful review! This book started me on a journey that would lead me back to the small down of Heartache, TN time and time again. I did five stories in all, since I couldn’t seem to quit the Finley family. Reading your thoughts on this one reminded me how much I loved Ally, too.

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Rock,

      My apologies for the delayed response – from 2018/19 I was struggling through a bout of health afflictions and my chronic migraines were at a supreme higher frequency as well. Although I appreciated all the comments which were coming into my blog, I regret I wasn’t able to keep up my replies. I hadn’t realised this series extended into *five!* installments – isn’t that interesting how stories have this affect on us as writers? Some stories and characters inspire us to tell more stories centred round a group of characters, a family, a small towne, etc until we feel their stories have been honoured. I am thankful to know this bit of trivia as I will seek out the others linked to this one as I initially thought it was only a duology!

      Thank you for visiting with me, seeing what I took away from the story and how it lifted my own spirits knowing I gave you a burst of joy remembering Ally!

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