Dogwood Hill (2000)
Dogwood Hill (2000)
3.83 of 5 Votes: 4
0778317323 (ISBN13: 9780778317326)
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Very good book, full of the love and fun that seem to follow the O'Briens everywhere. After a career ending injury, Aidan Mitchell has begun a new career as a high school football coach. He has been offered the job at the Chesapeake Shores high school. On his first day in town he meets Liz March, who encourages him to take the job. He's attracted to her, which is an incentive to stay. He also meets Mick O'Brien, one of the leading citizens in town, who has been advocating for Aidan's hiring. Aidan is interested in the job for two reasons - first, he's really impressed with what he has learned about the program, and second, he has reason to believe that the father he never knew is one of the O'Briens. Aidan is the son of a single mother who never told his father about him. She also never told Aidan who he was, just that he was an important man who is dedicated to the work he does. Aidan has spent a lot of time resenting the fact that he never knew his father, and blaming the man for never getting back in touch with his mom in all the years since. After his mother's death, Aidan found his birth certificate and information about his father. Working in Chesapeake Shores will give him a chance to learn more about the man before deciding whether to reveal who he is.Liz came to Chesapeake Shores to start her life over, away from the memories of her marriage. Her husband died in a crash right after she learned of several secrets he had been keeping that had been a betrayal of everything she believed about their life together. Wanting to put her past behind her, she hasn't talked about her marriage or her late husband to any of the friends she has made since her move. When she meets Aidan, she is attracted to him, but she had made the decision that she wasn't going to get involved with another man. She's conflicted, because her body and her heart want her to get to know him better, but her head is telling her that he's got secrets and she shouldn't take that risk again. Add the O'Briens, well known for their matchmaking tendencies, and things start to get really interesting. Mick and the others are sure that Aidan and Liz are just perfect for each other, and take every opportunity to throw them together. The family also has a mission to make the newcomers feel welcome, and Aidan especially finds himself constantly drawn into their circle. The more time he spends with them, the more he really likes them, except he's still withholding judgment on one of them. He's not quite sure how to handle what he knows and what to do with the information. I loved seeing the relationship develop between Aidan and Liz. The attraction is strong but both are wary. Aidan isn't sure what will happen when and if he reveals his secret, so committing is something he's reluctant to do. Liz has huge trust issues and, sensing that Aidan is hiding something, is reluctant to take a risk. Aidan is a bit more open to the possibilities and pursues Liz fairly hard, until he realizes just how skittish she is. I loved seeing him back off a bit and try going the friendship route until he can make her see things his way. He's sensitive to her feelings, and I loved seeing some of the things he tried to do for her. I also liked the way that when he felt like he had pushed too hard, he would send her friends to her to help her out. Liz finds it pretty hard to resist Aidan when he's being so good to and with her. She hadn't thought she could be interested in another man, but Aidan is breaking down her barriers pretty quickly, except for that fear about what he's keeping from her. When the secret does come out, her reaction is very strong. She has to decide if she can get past her fears and open herself up to Aidan and love.As always, the O'Briens take meddling to a pretty extreme level. They always mean well, but sometimes their interference just makes things more complicated. I loved seeing some of the encounters between them and Aidan and Liz. Most of the O'Briens had been on the receiving end of meddling at one time and didn't like it, but it doesn't seem to stop them from dishing it out. There are some pretty funny moments, such as the guys' basketball games, where they do their own parts to get Aidan and Liz together.I loved seeing Aidan's process of learning about his family and observing his father. His inner conflict was intense and seeing him try to decide what to do was emotional. The big reveal almost seemed to be spur of the moment and to say his father was shocked would be an understatement. I thought the reactions were quite realistic and very believable. The person whose reaction I was most concerned about turned out to be wholly supportive. Grandma Nell's reaction was sweet and completely like her.One of my favorite characters in the book was Archie the dog. From the moment he brought Liz and Aidan together it was as if he, too, was working with the O'Briens. I loved seeing how quickly he bonded with Aidan even though Aidan kept insisting he didn't want a dog. Archie was sure that he did, and Liz was just as certain. Sherryl Woods returns to Chesapeake Shores with Dogwood Hill, the twelfth book in the series. Woods has a knack for family dynamics and the O'Brien family is a joy to read about. The main couple may not have the O'Brien name but they are still in for some of their meddlesome family drama. This book will make you smile, make you cry and even make you feel a few proud moments. The happy-ever-after may be a given with this author, but the way she brings it about is anything but predictable!Sherryl Woods is one of those authors that just brings a smile to your face. Her books are generally clean cut romances that give the reader a feel-good experience that is hard to miss. Dogwood Hill is no exception to the rule. Readers who are looking for a small town charm, a heartwarming romance and characters that have realistic issues and flaws, need look no further than Woods' Chesapeake Shores series. This is the twelfth book and readers are probably wondering how many O'Brien's there are in this small town. Woods proves you don't necessarily have to be an O'Brien to get your story told. I think readers will appreciate the change of direction and be very happy that the series will continue.The main couple Aiden and Liz both carry some pretty substantial secrets. Aiden is in Chesapeake Shores under the guise of taking over the failing high school football team. But he is really seeking out his father. I won't mention any names, but if you throw a rock in Chesapeake Shores you might hit one of them *wink*. But which one? Liz is a little more complicated. She is a widow, who has trust issues that surround her former marriage. She holds back a lot with Aiden despite her growing feelings. Woods made the relationship seem very realistic, with Liz's fears about trusting Aiden and his secret keeping coming to the forefront.Though readers know what to expect with Woods as far as the ending, it's what happens before that, that keeps them coming back for more. Yeah, the main couple doesn't really have a chance of not getting their happy ending, but the circumstances that lead up to are often just as interesting as that little hint of doubt about where it is going to end up. Woods has a way of making the reader believe in the magic of love and how true love can never really be defeated. I like that and I think fans of this author agree.Bottom Line:This is another example of why Sherryl Woods is so popular. She takes average, everyday people or characters and gives them life. She doesn't sugar coat their circumstances, she uses a little family influence along the way and she knows how to tell a good story. This is a great series for fans of Mariah Stewart and Debbie Macomber. Dogwood Hill is one of my favorites in the series so far and I'm happy to say that Woods isn't quite done with the O'Brien's just yet!
Other than overuse of the word incredulously, it's a pretty good story.
Love this series by Sherryl Woods. Fun read. I really enjoyed it.
Been reading her books for years. Can't wait until the next one.
Liz & Aiden have some secrets
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