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    Emotional, slow-burn

    Tender Mercies is the second standalone book from the Men of Lancaster County series. Though the book is set in the same region in rural Pennsylvania, it features all new characters with only a brief cameo of the previous couple from A Second Harvest. Tender Mercies was definitely more of an emotional, slow-burn romance with good characters and a great story. I was really intrigued about the idea of Eddie picking up his life and moving to the Pennsylvania countryside to follow his dream of opening a farm sanctuary. However, it was the opening scene in chapter 2 that really caught my attention as Samuel, a young Amish man, is exiled from his family home. The emotion packed into that chapter was intense, and I was certain this would be a touching story. Samuel ends up working on Eddie’s farm, and their relationship slowly blossoms from a friendship to a passionate partnership. Though there’s an age gap between Samuel and Eddie, the romantic conflict is more due to their opposing backgrounds, Samuel’s inexperience, and Eddie’s recent painful break-up. These differing views made for an interesting mix in personalities and I liked seeing the characters work through them and find strength in one another as well as gain self-confidence as the book progressed. I generally like slow-burn romances because it gives me a chance to connect with the characters and allows the chemistry to build. I got a little of that in Tender Mercies but the connection between Samuel and Eddie wasn’t always palpable, and I must admit the pace felt sluggish in the middle of the book. That said, my interest was reinvigorated as their relationship moved forward, we saw some personality growth from both Samuel and Eddie, and a discovery reignited Eddie’s passion to make his sanctuary a success. Tender Mercies proved to be a sweet, steady story that teemed with emotion. I think readers who are looking for a beautiful love story that offers something a bit different than most contemporary romances will enjoy this book and series. *Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*
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