Living side-by-side, a fledgling chef and a big-hearted contractor find a delicious attraction.
Trouble is, their chemistry could spoil their dreams.
Spirited PJ McKinley has the touch when it comes to food. Her dream of opening her own restaurant is just one building short of reality. So when a Chapel Springs resident offers her beloved ancestral home to the applicant with the best plan for the house, PJ believes it’s a contest she was meant to win.
Contractor Cole Evans is confident, professional, and swoon-worthy—but this former foster kid knows his life could have turned out very differently. When Cole discovers the contest, he believes his home for foster kids in transition has found its saving grace. All he has to do is convince the owner that an out-of-towner with a not-for-profit enterprise is good for the community.
But when the eccentric philanthropist sees PJ and Cole’s proposals, she makes an unexpected decision: the pair will share the house for a year to show what their ideas are made of. Now, with Cole and the foster kids upstairs and PJ and the restaurant below, day-to-day life has turned into out-and-out competition—with some seriously flirtatious hallway encounters on the side. Turns out in this competition, it’s not just the house on the line, it’s their hearts.
I brought this novel along on our family vacation and proceeded to read it poolside. Despite the wintry scene on the cover, the story actually takes place over the course of a year in the quaint town of Chapel Springs, Indiana. This Hoosier native enjoyed the chosen setting as well as a nod to my hometown of Indianapolis and our Colts! Denise did a beautiful job of capturing the appeal of small town USA.
From the start, PJ and Cole’s dreams set them at odds with one another. Evangeline Wishing Simmons has the ability to make both of their dreams come true by gifting them her family estate – a century old historic home. However, when she cannot decide a winner, she concocts a plan for them to share the house for a year. The run-off competition forces the main characters to to meld their ideas. PJ renovates the bottom floor into a gourmet restaurant, while Cole makes the necessary adjustments to the upstairs in order to accommodate four kids who have aged out of foster care. A storm of emotions brews when these two competitors move in under the same roof. Before the year is up they both acknowledge an underlying attraction for one another. Forcing them to decide between their feelings for one another and the dreams they hold dear.
Denise Hunter’s cast of characters was interesting to me. Cole’s character was very conflicted but it worked well to express the grief and guilt which he carried from his childhood. I was charmed by PJ’s spunky and driven personality. Her family was large, but I didn’t see how mentioning each member in such detail added to the story given the minimal roles they played. On the other hand, I wish the author had devoted more ink to the foster kids and perhaps allowed them to participate more in the running of the house over the course of the year. That would have added an interesting layer to the story which would have endeared them to me. Regardless, the turbulent romance between Cole and PJ shines with moments of heartache and sweet tenderness.
I give The Wishing Season 4/5 stars.
This has been a year of literary firsts for me, The Wishing Season being the first book that I’ve read by author Denise Hunter. I was fortunate enough to win this book from the author and I am delighted to share my review with you.
About the Author
Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!