Shel: This series, The Hudson Valley Series, always seems to get me in the Norman Rockwell state of mind. The way Alice Clayton describes Bailey Falls has me longing to live in a small town in some snowy hamlet just a train ride from New York City; knowing that she's going to paint a beautiful picture of the town in her descriptions is one of the reasons I've gravitated to this series. There's also the humorous dialogue and situations she puts her characters in but it's the obstacles she throws in the paths of her characters that are what I think many readers connect with.
Court: She does! She really makes the story come alive in our mind. The descriptions of the setting, the characters background and how we get to know them through their thoughts, dialogue but also how their group of friends see them is pretty special and really helps make the story that much more enjoyable. I really liked the idea of this girl and her job though, as that would be a really fun thing to do!
Shel: In the case of Clara and Archie, Clara is the biggest obstacle of all. Her upbringing makes her reticent (aka stubborn) to have anything but a cursory relationship with any person or place she comes into contact with. The more I knew about her, the more I could rationalize why she did what she did and that's where I think Clara becomes more and more relatable to readers. Even if we haven't all been through what she's been through some of us may feel like an outsider looking in, or the one that's been left behind, and can easily relate to how painful that feeling can be. Clara's need to put up the emotional walls is easy to understand but it doesn't mean that I didn't want to knock them down, especially when Archie started warming up to her. Alice Clayton writes some really great male characters--they're wonderfully sweet, clever, funny, but most importantly, they're the exact right person for her heroines--as evidenced by Archie.
Court: They are. But also, Archie had some baggage of his own that he didn't like being poked around so that really gave them that much more depth in getting to know each other. Add in the fact that this is basically his family home, this place is his legacy, and he is not going to go down without a fight when an outsider comes in wanting to change things. I loved the characters and friends on his side of things because I really did get a feel of what it would be like to go somewhere a la Dirty Dancing and spend a summer somewhere that is truly an unforgettable place. This one is in a companion series so you're not missing out on anything in the other books in this series other than gaining a strong desire to know those characters as well...so get ta reading!
Shel: Buns has a great balance of humor and romance that packs an emotional punch.
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.
BUY IT: http://amzn.to/2rWfmbR
Find Alice Clayton: http://aliceclayton.com/