- Snow Angel Cove (2014)
- Redemption Bay (2015)
- Evergreen Springs (2015)
- Riverbend Road (2016)
- Snowfall on Haven Point (2016)
- Serenity Harbor (2017)
- Sugar Pine Trail (2017)
- The Cottages on Silver Beach (2018)
- Season of Wonder (2018)
- Coming Home for Christmas (2019)
Someone on Litsy was reading one of the books in this series, and it looked like just what I needed for some relaxing Christmas romances. Six of ten books in this series are set during Christmas time, so it was rather perfect. I’d never heard of Thayne before reading this series, but I will definitely be checking out more of her books, as I thoroughly enjoyed these.
So my favorite way to do a series is when there is a group of friends/siblings and each book is about one of them. My second favorite way to do a series is when it’s about a small community, and that’s the way the Haven Point books are written. Each story can be read independently, but various people from the earlier books are floating around in the background, so it’s more fun to read them in order.
Haven Point is a small town in Idaho a couple of hours from Boise. The town has been somewhat struggling lately, but in the first book a new guy buys a bunch of properties there, and throughout the series more businesses are developing thanks to his investments – all part of the quiet background. If I could magically transport myself and my family into a parallel life somewhere else, a small mountain town in the Rockies would be on the short list, so the setting was definitely one that appealed to me.
These were definitely more at the “sweet” end of romances (as opposed to “steamy” at the other end of the spectrum). While there were some lustful thoughts and feelings, there was basically no sex either on or off page, which was lovely. Some moderate swearing, but nothing crazy. It’s kind of sad to me that these are the kinds of assessments I have to make about romance books these days, but here we are. At any rate, one of the things that I liked about this series was that sex was consistently viewed as a serious step, not something to be taken lightly. And since it is a serious step, and does change everything about a relationship, I was glad to see it handled that way.
Another things I especially liked about these books was that almost all of them involved not just two people falling in love, but two people plus some random children all creating a family together. Some were widowed or divorced or inherited unexpected children from other places, or whatever. But throughout the series, the concept was just as much family as it was romance, and I liked that. Even though most of these books were, by nature, a little insta-love-y, the concept of creating a family made everything feel more like long-term thinking instead of short-term lust.
I was going to choose my favorite, but as I’m flipping back through my notes, I’m not sure which one it would be! They were basically all 4* reads except for Redemption Bay and Season of Wonder. In the former, the main female character, McKenzie, is the mayor of the town and ends up having to make nice to her old nemesis, Ben, who is considering whether or not Haven Point will be a good town for an expansion of his company. While I liked the romance and the chemistry between McKenzie and Ben, I was driven absolutely crazy by the lack of logic with the whole “Should I choose Haven Point” thing – Ben claims that the next big competitor for the position is another town, Shelter Springs – and then later it’s revealed that Shelter Springs is ten minutes away?!?! Like yes, it would make a slight difference as to who would benefit from the taxes of the actual company being there, but putting a gigantic company in a town ten minutes away from your town is NOT the end of the world, since obviously people would still be living/shopping/patronizing your town?!?! I couldn’t get it. Then in the end he’s like, “Oh, haha jk actually I already decided Portland.” What the heck?!
In Season of Wonder my annoyance was more traditional – the main female character, Dani, was just obnoxiously paranoid about everything and R E A L L Y was getting on my nerves. Still, even those two books garnered a comfortable 3.5*
There were minor aggravations from some of the other stories – for instance in Evergreen Springs the female character is constantly hassling the male character about sharing his feelings, etc. – yet every time he does, when he turns around and asks her a perfectly reasonable question in response, she shuts him down. Hello? Emotional intimacy needs to work both ways??
But these types of things were, for me, balanced out by the warmth of the stories overall. There are several stories that deal with adoption and foster care, and these are handled so well. In Serenity Harbor, the main male character, Bowie (I know, right? Bowie??) ends up with a much younger brother, Milo, who is autistic. Meanwhile, the main female character, Kat, is saving money to adopt a little girl she met and fell in love with in an orphanage in Guatemala, who also happens to have Down Syndrome. Throughout the story, the theme of loving and accepting children (and people) as they are is presented so well. In this day and age, where Down Syndrome is being “cured” by murdering everyone who has it before they are even born (in a completely not-Hitler way, of course!), it was genuinely refreshing to see a character who cherished and loved everything about this little girl.
While these weren’t perfect romance books (for instance, they really didn’t have much humor), they were still some of the more enjoyable books from that genre that I’ve read this year. I’ll definitely be looking for more books by Thayne soon, and recommend this series to anyone looking for some relaxing reading with likable characters.