Nashville native Bobby Patterson has just returned home after many years away to take a position with the Tennessee Criminal Investigations Unit. His new job: lead a task force investigating potential real estate fraud connected with the Middle Tennessee Historic Preservation Commission. Zarah Mitchell, who’s worked at the Commission for more than a decade, is about to face a piece of history that could ruin the life she’s built in Nashville: Bobby Patterson—her first love and the reason her father kicked her out fourteen years ago. When Bobby realizes Zarah is part of his investigation, he is tempted to use his grandmother’s not-so-subtle setups as a way to learn if Zarah is involved in the fraud. Zarah, at her grandmother’s suggestion, tries to put the pain from the past aside to see if any love remains between her and Bobby. But when she learns he’s been investigating her, will she be be able to forgive him a second time?
Several times while reading this story I thought “That is so true!” and “Oh no, I do that!” Kaye Dacus’ description of a church single’s ministry and the awkward social interactions that they produce were spot on. I could identify with elements of Zarah’s her personality and seeing them in her helped me to pinpoint areas in my life that need improvements. Zarah has a servants heart but she doesn’t feel comfortable having anyone help her and she feels guilty staying idle. Her compulsion to help at all times isolates her as she emotionally martyrs herself to ensure the comfort and happiness of others.
The relationship elements of this story unraveled through everyday and natural interactions that never felt contrived for the sake of a romantic storyline. The characters are placed in day-to-day situations at work and in their personal life and there is nothing out of the ordinary that pushes them together. Some readers may find this type of romantic story to be a little lack-luster, but it is all a matter of personal taste. This is certainly a sweet and nostalgic romance.
Zarah’s father is a stereotypically cast antagonist and he feeds her internal conflict. I wish the reader was told more about why her father wished to sabotage her relationship with Bobby and why he hates his daughter; maybe this will be resolved in one of the next installments of this series. I didn’t find the investigation/mystery element of this book as attention grabbing as the relationship subplots. I would have loved to see more interaction and scenes with the “Matchmakers” because there is a wealth of humour to be tapped into with their jealousy fueled matchmaking.