While I was secretly hoping we’d never see an end to this contemporary romance series, Secretly Inn Love provides us with a satisfyingly sweet conclusion to the Inn Love trilogy we’ve all come to love. You just might be inspired to start the whole thing over from the beginning again!
What’s it About?
A songwriter in a slump and a heartbroken chef cook up a harmonious happily ever after.
Ryann Alden’s not looking for a relationship. She’s focused on making a success of the small town inn she and her sisters inherited. As the business takes off, however, tensions grow and she struggles to be seen as an adult instead of a helpless child by the older two. When she finds herself falling for the attractive guest that appears on their doorstep, the budding romance becomes the driving force to make Ryann demand more for herself and her new love.
Elijah Hansen’s reputation as Nashville’s songwriting superstar is at risk when the cutthroat industry has his creativity abandoning him. The impulse that has him hitting the road for a place where he can rekindle his love for song leads him to Willow Falls Inn and Ryann. A snowstorm strands him, but the emerald-eyed beauty that greets him may just be the muse he’s been missing.
Ryann and Elijah continue their whirlwind romance in a long-distance relationship that must survive the tests of his fame, the revelation of a family secret, and the miles between them.
A noble, red-headed Viking in the midst of an epic journey must seek shelter during a treacherous snowstorm, and soon finds everything he didn’t know he was looking for in the gorgeous inn-owner who provides him a room for the night. No need to adjust your screens ladies and gentlemen. We haven’t fallen through time to the days of Valhalla. Our enchanting romance takes place in the present day, and the Viking moniker is bestowed upon our exceedingly tall and handsome songwriter, Elijah, by the youngest of the Alden sisters during a meet cute that has them falling in smitten at first sight. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of this series, but I must say the author outdid herself with this final read, presenting us with two lead characters who are so adorably sweet you’ll practically have a toothache by the end of it.
Hands down, Elijah and Ryann were my favorite couple of the trilogy, and in addition to his tall stature and gingery mop of locks which earns him his Viking title, Elijah also takes the cake when it comes to the most romantic leading man, a title which Ryann awards him constantly throughout their relationship. These two are clearly beguiled with each other at first meeting, and although their initial time together in the same location is brief, we see things naturally evolve from initial intrigue to texting, lengthy phone calls and video dates for a long-distance relationship interspersed with short trips to see each other. This is one of the few romance novels I’ve encountered where the scenes of our lovebirds apart are just as swoon-worthy as the ones of them together. Elijah’s thoughtfulness to plan the perfect dates for them, even when they are hours apart, will have you tilting your head to the side with a smile and an “awwwww” as we cheer on this couple in their search for a happily ever after.
I lost track of the number of times throughout this read that I was expecting an explosion of drama or tension between Elijah and Ryann. Would their long-distance dating prove to be too difficult to maintain? Perhaps their first in-person meeting after so much time apart would be filled with uncomfortable awkwardness. Could Elijah’s fame get in the way of their happiness? Or maybe Ryann would assume that Elijah only wanted to continue spending time with her because she was inspiring him to write some of his best music. Again, so many times that I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop on the adorable couple I’d come to love. And yet, by some kind of refreshing miracle, this never happens! Elijah and Ryann’s love story is essentially drama free, and I can’t reiterate how invigorating this was! To see two adults act as adults, with an ability to communicate clearly and with no propensity for jumping to conclusions or misunderstandings? I’d swear I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven! It allows us to more fully enjoy the sweet romance playing out on the page when we’re not constantly waiting for something unexpected to be lurking behind every corner.
That’s not to say this book wasn’t without it’s emotionally charged scenes. However, rather than existing between Elijah and Ryann, it instead occurs between Ryann and her two older sisters. We came to know and love Gavynn, Blake and their respective beaus in the first two books of the series. Their dedication towards revitalizing their aunt and uncle’s beloved inn to it’s former glory was only surpassed by their love and friendship with each other. That familial loyalty took a crushing blow at the conclusion of the second novel though when Ryann overhears how her sisters have been hiding the truth from her about their parent’s disinterest and negligence since their death years before. It’s a betrayal that makes her take a step back to look at her life from a distance, and come to the realization that Gavynn and Blake have always treated her as a child rather than the accomplished young woman she’s become. When Elijah comes on the scene, he’s yet another reason Ryann finds the need to assert herself and declare a bit of independence when it comes to her relationship with her sisters. She’ll re-examine what she wants out of life, and how Elijah might fit into it.
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: Inn Love, book 3. I know the saying that all good things must come to an end, but I’m not gonna lie I would absolutely love if we could see some kind of holiday novella down the road to take a peek at what the Alden sisters are up to after the conclusion of the series.
Final Impressions: This is such a sweet read. Elijah and Ryann are so clearly smitten and the fact that they continue to make each other laugh, surprise one another, and seemingly still get butterflies of excitement when in each other’s company will leave a permanent smile etched upon your face from start to finish. Putting the romantic element aside (although…who would ever want to do that?!) this novel is also an interesting exploration of sisterhood, and acknowledging that you can’t always treat a younger sibling like the baby of the family, even if they will always appear that way in your eyes. It’s a rather bumpy road for the Alden sisters to ultimately find mutual respect for each other once again, and once they do they remember how much stronger they are as a team. Albeit one where they all understand the need to break off and do their own thing every once in a while, and most likely with their respective hunks on hand to keep them fully entertained.
Smut Level: Just because this is a sweet read doesn’t mean it’s lacking in heat! Considering how much time Elijah and Ryann have spent apart during the start of their long distance relationship, it’s no surprise that when the opportunity presents itself for some in-person one-on-one time together, they’re ready to take full advantage of being in the same place…and the same bed for that matter.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Sweet Heat Books. 160 Pages.