Redemption Bay - Haven Point series, Book 2

Author: RaeAnne Thayne

Publisher: HQN Books

Release Date: June 30, 2015

Blue Ribbon Rating: 3.5

Format: PRINT

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REDEMPTION BAY builds to a loving story, honing in on the characters' willingness to forgive once they know the full background behind someone's actions. McKenzie Shaw and Ben Kilpatrick are the least likely couple because they are on the opposite ends of Haven Point's success. Author RaeAnne Thayne is a master at working through conflict that's honest and believable.

McKenzie Shaw is Haven Point's mayor and owner of a flower and gift shop in her hometown. Her days are long and activity-filled, so she looks forward to relaxing at her home on the lake. The last thing she expects to find is a new tenant living next door who will make her heart race and her temper flare.

The one place Ben Kilpatrick never wanted to revisit is his hometown of Haven Point. When he left after his sister's death, he never imagined coming back. But Aiden Caine needs Ben to consider Haven Point for a new business venture, in comparison to the neighboring town which is bigger with more amenities. Aiden thinks Ben needs a vacation and Haven Point is just the place to force him to relax, but Ben sees it as a place of old haunts and memories better left alone.

Ben doesn't understand Mayor Shaw's fierce animosity toward him since he feels he did the best he could, considering the circumstances of his inheritance. He never wanted the issues his father left him and the boat construction plant he closed was a financial decision he had to make. McKenzie thinks of Ben as the reason for her town's failure and she can't believe Aiden put him in charge of making a decision that could make or break her town's future.

McKenzie forces herself to make nice with Ben in order to prove to him that Haven Point is the best place for their future endeavor. Can the Haven Point citizens rally behind her adequately to help change Ben's preconceived ideas about their well-loved town? Once McKenzie is forced to spend time with Ben as his escort to all the town's festivities, will she give in to the attraction that sizzles between them?

It took me a few chapters to warm up to McKenzie and Ben. They're both excessively devoted to their careers, often blindsiding themselves to what's truly important. McKenzie cares deeply about her town and the people in it, but she's so busy trying to satisfy everyone that she never truly takes time to nurture a personal life. Ben was badly hurt in the past so he pours all his energy into his work, avoiding personal involvement with anyone other than the few people he works with. That's how he ends up with his co-worker's dog when he passes away and Ben learns how to love the rambunctious German Shephard he never knew he wanted.

Ben has a lot of personal history to work through in this book but I really enjoyed his quiet nature. McKenzie is so focused on her town that if takes her a bit to realize that there may be something more to Ben's story than he's telling. I liked that they were acquainted as children and then reunited as adults. This book focuses on the idea that there's more under the surface of what we see, if we take the time to understand another person's viewpoint and the reasons behind their actions. Forgiveness and understanding are recurrent themes in this novel between several characters.

This second book in the HAVEN POINT series is filled with small town celebrations and activities. REDEMPTION BAY showcases the town's caring nature with the citizens' focus on helping their neighbors in need. We get to know McKenzie's sister Devin, a doctor, who is the main character of the next book, EVERGREEN SPRINGS available September 29, 2015. As always, the ending of REDEMPTION BAY is beautiful, filled with heartfelt emotions characteristic of RaeAnne Thayne's touching style, which keeps me coming back for more.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dorine Linnen

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