Thursday, May 8, 2014

One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon Review

One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date: May 6, 2014

384 Pages
Source: Publisher
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N


Claire Summers is a determined, independent single mother who is doing her best to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Keith Watson is a results-oriented workaholic with no time for a social life. As the executive assistant to a local philanthropic businessman, he’s used to fielding requests for donations. But when a letter from Claire’s eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk, everything changes. The girl isn’t asking for money, but for help finding the long-lost son of an elderly neighbor.

As Keith digs reluctantly into this complicated assignment, he has no idea how intertwined his life and Claire’s will become–nor how one little girl’s kindhearted request will touch so many lives and reap so many blessings.


Through compelling characters and surprising plot twists, Irene Hannon offers readers this tenderhearted story of family connections that demonstrates how life is like lilacs–the biggest blooms often come only after the harshest winters.
 (excerpt from Goodreads) 
 

One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon

My Thoughts:  One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon is one of those books that wraps your heart up and squeezes a thousand times until you're finished with the story and you finally exhale and then YOU are the one hugging the book because of the way it made you feel. 


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David McMillan is the owner of a very successful company, a widower, a grandfather, and father to a standoffish daughter. Daughter Debbie has held her father at arm's length for the many years he spent at the office instead of at home, blaming him for the countless hours her mother spent at home without him. David spent her entire childhood showing his love by making it financially secure and making sure she lacked for nothing. Now that his beloved wife is gone, David realizes - too late - that his workaholic ways were such a waste of precious, precious time. He is currently working extra-hard to mend the relationship with his daughter while also working to prevent his young assistance, Keith, from making the same mistake he did before it is too late. 

Keith Watson is David's well-educated assistant - a man that has chosen his career over romance and family. He finds comfort in the certainty that numbers provides and would rather work long hours in the office at night and on the weekends than build relationships with any one person besides his mother, with whom he has a standing dinner date every Sunday. When Keith is personally given the job of sorting through charitable donation requests by David, he is not happy - it is a job well below his educational status. Still, he does it because he respects his mentor. When the request of 11-year-old Haley Summers comes through, Keith immediately writes it off without even considering it, but David insists that he follow through with her request. Keith begrudgingly takes on this task and it takes everything he has to begin it and see it to completion. 

Haley Summers is the 11-year-old child of Claire Summers - both live next door to professor Maureen Chandler. Haley is a bright and bubbly, loving and carefree child that loves her neighbor like family. When she realizes that she may be able to help Maureen find her son...and it may provide some happiness for Maureen and coincide with her birthday...Haley doesn't hesitate to jump in and do what she can. She writes a letter to David McMillan, a man from a photograph she saw in which he was presenting a large donation check to a charitable organization - certainly a man like that has the means to help her with finding Maureen's long-lost son. And that would be a perfect gift for her beloved neighbor for her birthday! 

Claire Summers is a single mother that is struggling to make it financially. The weight of a less-than-ideal living situation, the stress of work and single motherhood, and the sting of her divorce from Haley's father means that Claire has to work harder to find the joy in life lately. She was lucky to have moved next to such a wonderful friend in Maureen, especially since Haley loves her so much. Claire is horrified when she finds out Haley sent the letter to David McMillan - she feels like Haley is meddling in Maureen's business and has breached her confidence in doing so. She is also stunned when the wealthy businessman agrees to help with Haley's request. 

Maureen Chandler is a smart, intelligent, single woman that gave her child up for adoption years ago and has thought about him every day since. While she feels like she had no other option at the time, a recent shift in her life circumstances has made her wish that she at least knew something about the child she gave up to another family. She shared this with Claire one night in an emotional moment, which is when Haley overheard it, which set this entire bunch of events in motion. When Maureen is approached by David McMillan himself about finding her son, she finds out that David has additional personal reasons he wants to pursue this (helping Keith). Maureen agrees to think about it for a few days and let him know. This was not her idea, you see. But after thinking about it for a while, she is able to see a greater good in helping out someone else and if God wills it, perhaps she can find her son in the process. 

Maureen has no idea the ways she will benefit from agreeing to allow David's assistant to take on this assignment. It has an effect on her, certainly. But it also has an effect on the people she loves and the people David loves as well. OH MY GOODNESS, IT IS WONDERFUL. 

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One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon is this really great story of a group of characters and how every single one of their lives are changed by their connection to this one event, this one thing that is happening. Every character has both good things about them and things he/she could stand to work on a little bit and every character experiences growth. I absolutely love real, flawed characters and characters that show readers their vulnerabilities, and each of these do that! In the end, I am pretty sure that every character is in a better place than they were in the beginning of the story, with some of the characters experiencing or giving forgiveness and redemption AND learning to open their hearts to love. This is the best kind of happily-ever-after, in my opinion

I think out of everyone in the story, most people will be drawn to 11-year-old Haley - she is the one that started everything by writing the letter to David in the first place. In every scene, she is happy and cheerful. She always sees the best in everyone. She loves vibrant colors and having fun and singing, and she gets annoyed when she has to do homework. She loves cookies and dessert. She is the perfectly written "happy" break for the more emotional parts of the book - not that the book is too heavy, but Haley's scenes are always fun. 

My own personal favorite character is Keith Watson. I think that I saw something in him from the beginning, just like David did before he began trying to help him. Even through his sometimes-not-very-nice tone or attitude, I held out hope for Keith to chill out a little bit and become a little bit easier to deal with. I wanted David's plan to succeed. I loved watching Keith change as a character over the course of the book, and I loved being about to attribute this change to the kindness being shown to him by others and the work being done in his heart, by him opening himself up to love. Keith carried around some baggage that he didn't really share with anyone - this was the reason he spent most of his time working - and in pitching him into this project, David was indirectly instrumental in helping him lose the baggage. David meant to change his outlook about work, but what ultimately happened was that Keith gained a community of friends and opened his heart for a romantic relationship, which was really a wonderful thing. (I absolutely loved reading Haley's interaction with Keith. LOVED IT.) 

I also loved Claire Summers, Haley's mother - I loved her tenacity and fierce determination to make it on her own as an independent woman but I also loved that she was vulnerable to the stress and brokenness that being on the opposite side of a wounded heart brings. I loved the romance between Claire and Keith - it was so sweet. These two people found themselves kind of entangled in each other's lives unexpectedly and it worked out really well for them and along the way, they also had several other really interesting and great things happen, and they gained some really wonderful people in their little community of friends and family. 

OH THERE ARE SO MANY RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS BOOK. I love them all, every single one. There is something to be gained and learned from them all. Parent-child, friendships, romantic relationships, professional relationships, SO MANY. There are themes of love, forgiveness, redemption, and opening your heart after you've been hurt so you can love again (and I don't only mean in a romantic way). I loved my first experience with Irene Hannon and I think I need to go back and read more of her contemporary stories. I love that she was able to create this story with real characters that had real issues in life and that ended up finding happiness. I recommend One Perfect Spring for readers that enjoy adult contemporary fiction, books that are heavy on relationships, and books that have themes of forgiveness and redemption. This is going on my re-read shelf and I'm looking for more by Irene Hannon right away. 
**If you know anything about me, reading, and my love of coffee: I read this book in two sittings and I had coffee at each one. Both times, my coffee got cold before I even took a sip because I was so immersed in the story. I still enjoyed the coffee, but I couldn't put the book down long enough to drink it while it was hot or even warm. 
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One Perfect Spring will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Fiction/Inspirational Fiction 
Romance: Multiple romances. No triangles. 
Family Relationships

One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon
is currently available for purchase.

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Read an excerpt from One Perfect Summer HERE
including Haley's letter to David McMillan! 


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3 comments:

  1. You know, that really is the best kind of HEA. I like to see the characters move from rather dark or tangled places into the light, into more peaceful and fulfilling lives. Sounds like there's a lot going on in this book but a good a lot.

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  2. I absolutely love the fact that One Perfect Spring has great character relationships. That's always something I look for in my reads, and when it's done well, it really positively changes my feelings towards a book. Judging from how hard you fell for these characters and their relationships, I'm going to have to consider adding this to my TBR!

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  3. Whoa. Cold coffee?! That's serious business! I don't pick these types of books up a lot, but I do read one or two a year because it somehow cleanses the soul. I'll keep this one in mind next time I'm in the mood for just this type of story.

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