Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 5/23/17
Length: 336 Pages
Series: Hudson Valley #3
Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….
Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.
It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.
What am i going to do now that i’m finished with this series? I absolutely love all that’s come along with Roxie and Natalie so far and Clara’s story is even better. Can’t we get something more with Chad and Logan maybe? what about Missy? there’s got to be more!!!!
Anyway there are so many reasons why this last book is one of my favorites. Let’s start with the fact that Ms Clayton calls out in the beginning that she’s based it off of Mohonk Mountain House – a place that i’ve been to with my boyfriend recently and everything that she’s describing takes me back there exactly how i remember it. So having that imagine in my head makes it real and then the characters are so charming that you know that you’re going to get a great story out of it all.
So we’ve met Clara briefly in the others stories, so we know that she’s this expert hotel rebranding professional and she’s been wood to Bailey Falls by her friends which means that the saga continues. Clara’s clearly lived a different life than her friends – and while she’s really successful, we learn that her methods are all a coping mechanism of sorts based on her childhood of being sent from foster home to foster home. She’s now got these thick walls up where she won’t let anyone in, even her friends and we see how that plays out in this story.
then there’s Archie – the son of the current owner of Bryant Mountain House and the one who will take over likely at the end of the year when his father retires. We met him a few times in the previous book, where Natalie talked to him at some of the local meetings when she was building her advertising campaign, and while he’s been called out for being attractive, we always knew there was something a bit ‘off’ about him, standoffish and cold and we finally get to the bottom of it. We learn that his wife, his only love passed away a few years back and of course that damages a person.
So when these two come together, you know that it’ll be sparks (and not the good kind) at first and then once they get to know each other a bit more, things change and they realize that there’s chemistry there and maybe they shouldn’t hide from it. Granted there’s the added threat of the boss/employee thing here, along with the fact that Clara needs to do an amazing job in order to get a promotion – and well that makes fora great story.
It’s a sweet story – we get to see how both are terrified of the idea of a relationship yet how that same relationship has the ability to change them in a good way. there’s so much pain between them that once they let go, it’s so hot that they can’t manage to find enough secret locations to be together.
It’s sweet to see things come about. how they think that they’re being so sly – but they’re caught by the interior designer, and the women who are motherly and all who run the place – we see that they are in on it too. The other sweet aspect is that we see how being in Bailey Falls helps Clara open up and have a ‘family’ of sorts and we see that Archie gets to have the friendships that he seems to be lacking. Leo and Oscar are so good for him that we see that maybe there’s something great growing.
It’s not until Clara’s company goes through some stuff and she and Archie have it out via sassing one another that we see things start to truly change – and where the story takes us is a place that seems like the perfect place it was always meant to be. I love how the story closes and how i think that the series itself seems to close too. Enjoy!