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November 30, 2020

Great New Trilogy by Ashley Farley

by Susan Roberts

Ashley Farley is an excellent author in the women's fiction genre and has brought her readers a fantastic new series about three women who take a chance on life, discover the careers that they worked for plus find the man of their dreams. Let's take a trip to Inn at Hope Springs Farms.
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Dream Big, Stella! by Ashley Farley

Dream Big, Stella
Aug. 2020; Leisure Time Books; 978-1734629446
audio, ebook, print (270 pages); women's fiction
"I'm not worried about finding another job.  There are over 700 hotels in New York.  I'm right back where I started from, applying for entry-level positions.  I'm nearly thirty years old and i have nothing to show for my life."

You can always depend on an Ashley Farley book.   She's one of my go-to authors when I need a good story with a happily ever after ending.  Her characters are always well written and feel like people I know and her books are just plain fun.

Stella lives in New York City and is about the get fired from another job - in fact, she's lost three jobs in the last year.  When she gets to her apartment after being fired, there is a lawyer waiting at her door.  He has come from Virginia to tell her that her father has died and left her his land and a historic inn in Hope Springs, VA.  Her mothers have never given her any information about her father so this comes as a complete shock to her.  She decides to go to Virginia and check things out and is shocked when she sees the dilapidated state of the inn. She's met with mixed reactions - the lawyer is happy, the hotel manager is very unhappy, but since it's stipulated in the will that she has to keep the inn for three years until she can sell it, she decides to re-do the inn and make it popular again. Along the way, she meets more of the people at Hope Springs. She feels like many of them know more of her story than she does and as she gradually learns about her family's past, the more she learns about herself and her strength. This book is full of family drama and love and lots of terrific characters.  I can't wait until book 2 in the series is published.  

Buy Dream Big, Stella! at Amazon

Show Me the Way by Ashley Farley

Show Me the Way
Sept. 2020; Leisure Time Books; 978-1734629477
audio, ebook, print (278 pages); romance
"She smiles at him in parting.  While he seems like a decent guy, Pressley's people reader is screaming at her that he's hiding something.  He's a bartender with what sounds like a troubled past with alcohol.  She just buried her mother.  She doesn't need that kind of heartache."

Book two in the Hope Spring series takes the reader back to Hope Springs Farm and back into the lives of the characters from Dream Big, Stella! along with several new characters to continue the saga.

Pressley knows that she's adopted and when she is cleaning out a desk after her adoptive mother dies, she finds an address that she thinks will lead her to her birth mother. She heads from Nashville to Hope Springs to see if she can find out any information about her birth family. While she is staying at the Hope Spring Farms resort, she gives Stella, the owner, some suggestions, and the next thing she knows, she has a job offer as the head of publicity at the resort. She didn't have much of a life in Nashville after her mother died, so she decides to take a chance and accepts the job. One of the first people she meets is Everett, the bartender at the resort. They hit it off and the sparks fly.  She is afraid to go too far with the relationship because she senses that he is hiding something in his life and after being raised by an alcoholic parent, she isn't willing to have a relationship with someone whose life is full of secrets. Will their relationship bloom or will their pasts keep them apart?

Not only did I love the characters of Pressley and Everett but I was happy to find out what was going on with Stella and Jazz from book 1. As always, Ashley Farley has created multi-dimensional characters that feel like people we know. The plot has a little mystery, a little romance, and lots of friendship. I can't wait to get back to Hope Springs Farm in book 3.

Buy Show Me the Way at Amazon

Mistletoe and Wedding Bells by Ashley Farley

Mistletoe and Wedding Bells
Oct. 2020;  Leisure Time Books; 978-1735521213
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); holiday
"I believe in the magic of Christmas, Jazzy.  I touch my finger to her chest.  That magic lives inside each of us.  You get to decide whether you want to believe in Santa.  No one else can decide that for you." (p 1)

Merriment and mayhem collide for a chaotic holiday season at the Inn at Hope Springs Farms.

Mistletoe and Wedding Bells takes the reader back to the Inn at Hope Springs in this third book of the series.  The three main characters all get their happily ever after endings but to get there is full of stress, secrets and mayhem.  What a fantastic ending! 

Stella, the general manager, is ready to marry Jack but first, she needs to get total custody of her half-sister Jazz.  Naomi, Jazz's mother, is causing havoc every chance she gets to keep Stella from gaining custody.  Jack continues to work on their dream house and they are both ready to settle down as a family of three.

Pressley, the event manager, loves her job but misses her new boyfriend Everett who has gone to Nashville to try his luck as a country singer.  The issues with her birth mother and the stress of the Christmas season at the Inn are keeping her busy and then she decides to plan a surprise wedding for Stella which makes life even more hectic for her.

Cecily, the head chef, is planning to get married on Christmas Eve but she's having second thoughts.  Is it wedding jitters or real issues that may keep them from getting married?  On top of that, there is a new chef in her kitchen who is trying to take her job away.

All three of the main characters are facing tremendous stress as they head into the Christmas season.  Will their problems be solved and will they all end up with their happily ever after?  

This is the third and last book in this series but I hope that Ashley decides to write more books about Hope Springs.  I hate to say goodbye to the wonderful people that I've met there and would love to see the series continue.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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