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    4,5***

    Smoky Mountain Matches is a series that I have enjoyed immensely. The readers have met the characters previously, and the forever so grouchy cafe owner Alexander Copeland has intrigued my mind in previous books. And he has a good reason for his behavior, no doubt about it. Ellie Jameson, the talented cook the town hired to help Alexander while he was sick, has more in common with Alexander than she could have believed. They both have suffered losses in their lives, difficult circumstances and deep sorrow is no stranger to either of them. I liked the bond they had, the fragile friendship turning into a protection from harm and danger, looking after each other, and taking care of each other. The sweet tenderness that was tangible between them was adorable. Alexander had lost his faith and hope for the better days and a brighter future with his wife and son. He would have rather sulked in his office to avoid people, but Ellie was determined to be his friend, to make that connection. Both Ellie and Alexander are stubborn yet kind and good hearted people, who only wanted the best for each other and the people around them. The healing process Alexander had to go through to be able to move on, to live again, and to trust and love again is a remarkable thing that stands out in this story. The development of his faith in God with Ellie's guidance is a beautiful thing to witness, as well as his healing heart and opening mind. There is a lot of going in the town, the threats from Ellie's former in-laws are frightening, the going on's at the cafe and with their friends, Alexander's relationship with his family, and Ellie's pregnancy all give a lot of juice and vigor to the tale that I read on one sitting. It is an interesting, intriguing, and alluring story that I didn't want to put down until I came to the very satisfying ending. A delightful mix of life and love, with a hint of danger and threats to give it a bit spice, faith in God to give it meaning, and growth in characters as they heal, mend their fences with their past, and nourish their souls with love that is showered upon them as they open their hearts to the people around them. A lovely, encouraging story about forgiveness and healing, finding love and blessings in life when we least expect them. ~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
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