As might be obvious from many of these reviews, this pedometer geek likes not only discovering new authors, but also reading romances. Received through a Shelf Awareness giveaway, the latest Advanced Reader Copy this pedometer geek read blends both of these loves. Once Upon a Summertime is a contemporary romance written by Melody Carlson. Here is the extended review.
Once Upon a Summertime
by Melody Carlson
Published by Revell, 2015
a division of Baker Publishing Group
After graduating with a degree in hotel management, small town girl Anna Gordon returns to her roots in Springville to manage the Value Lodge. It wasn’t what she planned, but she also wishes to please her grandmother and her grandmother’s friends, who happen to own the business. But two years in, she is dealing with lazy, impertinent employees, a few of whom won’t do what is expected of them, particularly the nephew of the owners. At the same time, she runs into one of her best friends, Marley, who is home helping out her family. It is through Marley (and her connections) that Anna may have the opportunity to manage a new boutique hotel in New York City.
Pinning her hopes on her dream job, she sends her resume’ to the owners. In the meantime, despite all her training sessions with her employees, she is forced to fire the recalcitrant employee only to be fired herself without a reference despite all of her hard work. Knowing her lack of references is a detriment, Anna follows her heart and takes a chance in the big city.
She not only finds a position in the soon-to-be opened Rothsberg hotel, but love, too. However, her job may be in jeopardy if anyone finds out that Sean, the man of her dreams, is a co-worker. The rules are specific: romantic entanglements between employees will end in termination. Moreover, they have a shared past in that they both came from the same town. This makes for an easy friendship between the two from the moment they re-connected while touring the sights of New York.
For Anna, the job is a dream come true as is living in New York, but can she maintain a polite distance from Sean so that she can build up her resume’? Or, if their relationship becomes more than just co-workers and friends, will both lose their positions? Is it possible for a happily ever after for the pair?
Unlike many of the contemporary romances published today, this is a sweet romance, a chaste romance, which is a delight to read. No, it is not graphic or steamy, but it is worth reading and shows that romance and values are not dead. Moreover, the story is more than just the romance; it showcases the city itself making this reader long to visit the Big Apple.
While this was the first Carlson novel this reader has read, it won’t be the last. In fact, she is the author of over two hundred books. Based on this tale only, the author writes about realistic (read: normal) people (not the over-the-top men and women who often populate many of the current novels). Her characters have realistic issues and realistic expectations. This is a refreshing change of pace. Not only that, but there were few, if any, What-the-tuck trends seen. This reader doesn’t recall any green-eyed characters, no uber-rich characters, and maybe one instance of hair being tucked behind an ear (hence the name, What-the-tuck). To repeat, a refreshing change of pace.