Author: Stacy Finz
These newcomers to Nugget have left painful pasts behind them—just in time to embrace a future together…
Picturesque Nugget, California, couldn’t be more different than the glittering caverns of Manhattan, but Brynn Barnes is grateful for the change. After the accident that took her husband’s life and seriously injured her young son Henry’s legs, a clinical trial from a pioneering young doctor offers Brynn hope that Henry may walk again. And even as the magnificent landscape and the town’s hospitality help mend Brynn’s broken spirit, it’s a certain handsome surgeon’s compassion that soothes her aching heart…
Reeling after a bitter divorce, Ethan Daniels has brought his medical practice and his young daughter to Nugget, where he hopes its homey warmth will ease the transition to a family of two. A new relationship is the last thing he should be thinking about. But Ethan can’t help his immediate attraction to beautiful Brynn — or the feelings she’s awakening in him. For two people battered by life’s cruelest blows, love may be the perfect prescription…
This is the 11th novel in the Nugget, California series by Stacy Finz. As far as I can find Nugget, California is not a real place, but towns like it exist everywhere in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains to the point where I’m sure one that looks just like it must exist. I’ve visited many tiny towns along the California/Nevada border and could easily picture the entire setting from my own memories. The author did a fantastic job of describing the setting as well, so even if you have never seen a picture or had any prior experience, you could easily imagine everything in your mind. As this is the 11th in a series, it is important to note that you do not have to read the first 10 to read this one. The series surrounds the town of Nugget and characters may cross over from one book to the next in the background, but the main characters in each novel are different every time.
The Nugget Romance series is described to be about a “small mountain town that has a strange way of giving people unexpected reasons to start over – and find the most irresistible chances to fall in love.” Although this is my first novel in the series, I can safely say that this novel aced this description with our two main characters each having their own reasons to start over and finding each other to form a romantic connection. If the other ten (or more as I believe the author is still adding to the series) are anything like this novel, then I have easily found a new go-to series for an entertaining and romantic read.
Brynn Barnes is a New York advertising executive from a well-known corporation that she owns with her late husband. Unfortunately, he passed away unexpectedly during an off-roading accident that killed him on impact and left their 8-year-old son, Henry, paralyzed in the spine and partially in his legs. Brynn not only is dealing with the sudden loss of her husband, but now she has her son to take care of and is desperate to find a solution to help him walk again. She has been from doctor to doctor trying to find one that can help and is finally referred to Dr. Ethan Daniels, an orthopedic surgeon in Reno, Nevada, who is experimenting with stem cells, who might be the answer to her prayers.
Ethan examines Henry and determines that he is a candidate for his new trial, but it will take time, which means that Brynn and Henry must stay locally to complete the procedure. The medical group owns multiple housing for patients, but unfortunately, they are all full at the moment. This leaves Brynn and Henry to stay at the newest addition to the medical housing, which is a cottage on Ethan’s property on the other side of the border in Nugget, California. Life in a small town is different than anything she expected and she might experience some healing along the way as she tries to continue to help her son. Their journey is very heart-warming and I love the bond that Brynn and Henry share. Henry is a very well-written character as he fits his age and emotional journey, where you can picture him and feel for him as if he is non-fictional.
Ethan not only has the daily pressures of being a doctor, but he also has his own personal turmoil that he is working through. His ex-wife, Joey, just came back into the picture after a needed break (I don’t want to spoil too much, but know that it is all explained in the story). She wants to get back together as she wants them to be a family together and be more involved in their six-year-old daughter, Veronica’s life. Veronica lives with Ethan full-time, but Joey wants more time with her and eventual shared custody if Ethan does not want to try again and be a family together. Ethan struggles a lot as he has everything with Joey and Roni, while also having an attraction/connection with Brynn, who is the mother of his patient and ethically speaking, would not be a good idea to pursue. He feels very torn with these obstacles and the author does a great job of taking the reader through his journey and his eventual conclusion once he works everything out.
The story shifts being told from three different points of view, Brynn, Ethan, and Joey. Honestly, I could have lived without Joey’s side of the story as she was not my main interest when reading. I understand what she was going through, but I do not think that entire chapters needed to be dedicated to be told from her side of events. Instead, I would rather have the novel focusing on Brynn and Ethan’s sides as there was enough going on in each of their heads that it seemed too crowded to add Joey’s inner thoughts. I understand that the reader should understand why Ethan is struggling between choosing Joey or Brynn, but there were too many pages dedicated to Joey and, personally, I did not need them as I could have felt the same amount of struggle even if many of Joey’s pages were removed.
Overall, I absolutely loved how the single parent was portrayed as every decision that they make involves their child and not just themselves so it takes more thought compared to only thinking about yourself. Nugget was portrayed a very welcoming small town that is perfect for anyone trying to get away from all the noise of the city and just relax with nature. Ethan and Brynn have excellent chemistry and they communicate well with each other. Neither is perfect, but they think through their mistakes to learn from them in order to make better decisions in the future. This was definitely a novel that followed through with its description and you walk away feeling satisfied overall that the time it took to read it was well-spent.