After the Summer Rain by Gerri HillAfter The Summer Rain by Gerri Hill is a heart-warming, slow-burn romance that features two awesome women who are learning what it really means to live and love fully. They’re also learning to let go of their turbulent pasts so that it doesn’t ruin their future happiness.

Erin Ryder was on the road to working herself into an early grave because she allowed her job to consume nearly every waking moment of her life. Erin’s personal life was left in shambles after her lover callously walked out on her and the life they built together so she drowned her sorrows in alcohol and she powered through each day with several cups of coffee and energy drinks. Erin’s family members were not going to sit back and allow her to continue on the self-destructive path she has been determined to stay on and she was forced to take a mandatory three-month vacation on a ranch in New Mexico. She can’t believe she has to spend three months in a place with no cell service, no internet, no alcohol and nothing to distract her from dealing with the hot mess that her life has become. Erin doesn’t care what her father thinks, there’s no way she’s going to be able to hold on to her sanity or survive on the ranch for three days, much less three months.

Melanie West ran away from everything that she had ever known when an unforeseen tragedy struck and her life fell apart. She moved to the Eagle Bluff Ranch seven years ago and she is the youngest woman to ever live there. Melanie is content with living in harmony with the changing seasons and the quirky older women who live on the ranch. Her animals are her sole source of comfort and she shares her deepest thoughts with them. Melanie barely has any contact with the outside world unless she has to host a few guests for a couple of days at the ranch once a year. Then Erin comes along and she throws Melanie’s well-ordered world into chaos because she is going to spend the entire summer with Melanie.

The ranch was the last place that Erin wanted to be but as the days went by, she gradually warmed up to Mel and her cute animals. Mel and Erin forged a solid friendship and an unbreakable bond. They helped each other to heal from their painful pasts and they learned how to truly forgive themselves for the mistakes they made.

Erin fell in love with more than just the cozy ranch and the charming animals; she fell hard for Mel too. She knew that all good things never lasted long anyway and saying goodbye to Mel and the ranch would be one of the hardest things she would ever have to do.

Will Erin be able to leave Mel and Eagle Bluff Ranch behind and embrace her old life once more? Or will Erin give up her fast paced life and listen to the longings of her heart and take a chance on love again?

The Characters

Erin Ryder is one of the key managers in her father’s construction company. She eats, sleeps and lives for her job ever since her lover left her. At first, Erin may come across as a very self-absorbed person who is a terror to work with but she is a genuinely compassionate and down to earth woman who has buried her heart under numerous layers of rejection, insecurity and depression. As I got deeper into the story, I couldn’t stop myself from breaking out into a huge smile when I saw how much love Erin had for the animals and the ranch despite the fact that she had to spend a few months in a place without a reliable phone service, no internet and absolutely no fast food.

Melanie “Mel” West has been living off of the land at Eagle Bluff Ranch for seven years. She is a bona fide hermit whose life revolves around whipping up tasty food, taking care of her garden and the animals under her care and enjoying all the natural wonders that surround her. I can totally relate to Mel’s love of solitude because I’m a huge introvert as well. My heart really went out to Mel because she has been struggling to let go of the traumatic memories that have haunted her for years. I have nothing but endless respect for her because I don’t think that I would have been able to cope with those type of distressing issues and still function as a well-adjusted adult.

The Writing Style

I don’t think Gerri Hill will ever stop blowing my mind with her one of a kind stories that feature flawed and relatable women who just love being out and about in nature and this lovely story gave me those things and so much more. Furthermore, I like the fact that this story was told from Erin and Mel’s point of view because I got unrestricted access to their deepest desires, the insecurities that kept them up at night and the things that set their souls on fire (I live for stories like this one!).

The Pros

I was fortunate enough to get a taste of the great outdoors, delicious vegetarian meals and I had the opportunity to live vicariously through Erin as she befriended the adorable animals on the ranch. I’m a foodie to the core and right here, right now, I’m giving Gerri Hill two thumbs up for mentioning the mouth-watering dishes in this story because she has given me a lot of culinary inspiration and I can’t wait to try out the meals that Mel and Erin enjoyed!

The Cons

I loved every word of this delightful romance, however, the cover doesn’t do this novel justice at all because it doesn’t portray any breath-taking sights of the ranch that Erin and Mel adored.

The Conclusion

aprils favourite books

Any story from this author automatically goes to my treasured stories collection and my favorite-books-to-re-read pile. Gerri Hill has never failed to give me endearing characters who are struggling with heartbreaking issues and beautiful descriptions of the landscapes that surround them. So if you’re a huge fan of stories like those, then you’re in for a treat with this one because you’ll get all of the above. You’ll also end up living your best life as you tag along with Mel and Erin as they explore the sizzling attraction between them while they’re caught up with enjoying everything that Eagle Bluff Ranch has to offer.

Excerpt from After The Summer Rain by Gerri Hill

Melanie’s gaze went past Stella, landing on a tall but very thin woman. Thin… gaunt almost. She had dark circles under her eyes and her brown hair hung limply—lifeless—around her face. Melanie stared at her for a moment, recognizing something—herself, perhaps? —in her dark eyes. She looked lost. Melanie wondered if Stella’s guess that she was ill might be correct. The clothes she wore appeared to be two sizes too large for her.

Good morning,” she said pleasantly.

Good morning, dear.” Stella stepped aside. “This is Erin Ryder. Things didn’t work out with Rachel, I’m afraid. Erin, this is Melanie West. Everyone calls her Mel. I hope you’ll be more comfortable here.”

Melanie held her hand out to greet the other woman, but the woman’s dark, hazel eyes looked past her. “Do you have any coffee? Real coffee? Please?”

Melanie lowered her hand with a quick glance at Stella. “Real coffee?”

Not that decaf crap,” the woman said bluntly.

Oh. Yes.”

Stella leaned closer. “Caffeine withdrawal. Headache. It’s not pretty,” she whispered loud enough for Erin to hear.

I see. Of course.” She pushed the door open fully. “Come in. I just made a fresh pot.”

Erin walked in ahead of them both, heading directly for the kitchen and her coffee. Melanie closed the door, watching; Erin’s hands were shaking as she poured a cup. The cabin was open, nothing separating the living room from the kitchen except a breakfast bar, as she called it. It could also be called a lunch and dinner bar as that was her only table.

What’s wrong with her?” Melanie whispered to Stella.

I’m not sure. She’s a little… well, grumpy.”

Great,” she murmured.

Let me get her bags, dear.”

I’ll help you.” Melanie glanced back at the woman who was leaning against her counter, holding the cup of coffee between both hands as if it was a life-sustaining elixir. And perhaps it was. She had a feeling this was going to be a very long three months.

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