Reviewed by Amanda Schafer
Brooke Holloway is a widowed mother of two and strives to make life normal for them by working steadily at the family’s hardware store and keeping to a routine. Brooke knows that her heart just isn’t ready for a new relationship since it’s only been two years since her husband was killed by a drunk driver. When her mother moves into a retirement community, things just feel quiet and non-normal. Then she meets Owen, the man who bought the Hadley mansion down the street, and the two quickly become friends.
Owen is recently divorced and is quite bitter over the entire situation and readily admits that he only purchased the Hadley place to spite his ex-wife and was hoping that restoring it would work out the frustration he felt towards her. Brooke, however, is interested in the Hadley place because of a long-running rumor in town that there is a hidden bunker of some sort deep in the house that has hidden treasures in it. After searching, they finally give up ever finding the bunker, but it’s still topic for conversation among Brooke’s kids. The more time they spend together, the more things change between Owen and Brooke and neither of them knows how to deal with their feelings.
Brooke’s confused emotions are compounded by the fact that her estranged father wants to reconnect with her (and finally connect with her children) after 20 years. Brooke is so filled with anger and the inability to forgive that she refuses to see him and ends up having a falling-out with her mother over the situation. Days and weeks pass by with them not seeing one another and Brooke is about to crack under the stress. She decides that being in a relationship with Owen is just too much and puts a stop to the whole thing. Only when desperation sets in does she consider opening up to the fact that she really, truly does love this new man in her life.
Hunter Lewis is a troubled teen that is well-known in the town for stealing and mischief. Owen first catches sight of Hunter as Hunter is running away from the police! Something tugs at Owen’s heart where Hunter is concerned and Owen decides to offer Hunter a job helping him remodel the house. When Brooke finds out, she is angry and more stressed but soon is forced to face the past and accept that Hunter is changing into a responsible person, all because of Owen.
One final twist to the story comes very late in the book! It was a twist I didn’t see coming and it really made this story become real for me. Beth Wiseman did something that I’ve never seen done in a story before and I was really pleased with how she handled the situation. (Can’t tell you or you won’t be surprised!) I was a bit nonplussed with the way the bunker situation came to a close, however. It almost became a moot point to me after the twist she threw in a couple chapters before! However, I do wish there were more books coming after The House that Love Built…it could truly become a great series!
Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Thomas Nelson. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.