This was a terrific collection of stories about second chances, self-discovery, and family. I loved seeing these four women overcome past hurts and find their ways back to the love and friendship they used to share.
Spring - Caitlin Crews
Keira and Remy
Keira is the first of June's granddaughters to arrive at the old homestead. Her task is to help with the cattle, which after five years of living in the city, will take some getting used to. Her partner in this endeavor is Remy, the former love of her life. Their relationship fell apart when he couldn't understand her need to move away for a while. It wasn't that she didn't love him or want to marry him, but that she had to get away from her parents and find out who she was without their influence. Remy was very cold to her at first, but it wasn't long before the old attraction rekindled. However, they are now older and better able to discuss the differences between them and see where things went wrong before. There were two scenes I especially liked: Remy being there to support Keira during her confrontations with her parents, and Keira facing off with Remy's mother about the way his family has treated him. I liked how they finally worked through their differences and were able to move forward together.
Summer - Nicole Helm
JJ and Cade
Grandma June's request of JJ was that she watches two little girls for the summer while their single dad does his work. JJ's parents divorced when she was young, leaving her with her father and her mother taking her little sister Lila. JJ's father was very anti-emotion and taught JJ to be the same way. She has spent years hiding and burying her emotions while trying to win her father's approval. Fulfilling her grandmother's request is the first time she's gone against him. JJ feels very much out of her depth at first with the two girls. I liked watching her relax with them, and begin to see similarities between Ellie and Lora and herself and Lila. There were sparks between Cade and JJ, but they tried to ignore them, as JJ wasn't planning to stay. They developed a very sweet friendship before the sparks started to burn out of control. I loved watching JJ learn to embrace her emotions and show them to those she cares about. It was sweet to see how Cade helped her express those emotions by not judging her when she did. The ending was terrific.
Fall - Maisey Yates
Lila and Everett
Fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants Lila was tagged to organize and run the yearly Red Sled Festival, something she feels is way beyond her capability. But that's okay because Grandma June has also asked neighbor Everett to help Lila. This forces Lila to face the man she had a crush on as a teenager, and who she made of fool of herself in front of at his engagement party. But Bella is an eternal optimist who does her best to see the bright side of everything, so she sucks it up and deals, only to discover that the feelings she had for Everett never died. Everett is a very pragmatic man who views everything with a jaundiced eye. The opposites attract development of their relationship was an interesting one to watch. I especially enjoyed the discussions of their different ways of looking at life and the effect on their dreams of the future. It takes Everett a little longer to recognize his feelings for Lila. I loved his big moment at the end. There was also a terrific scene between Lila and JJ as they mended the rift caused by their parents' actions.
Winter - Jackie Ashenden
Bella and Noah
Bella was the missing cousin, the one who didn't come to the funeral because no one knew where she was. The lawyers finally tracked her down, just in time for her to have her season in Grandma June's house. The timing was fortuitous for Bella, as she recently had her bank account cleaned out, leaving her with nothing. She showed up at the house with little more than the clothes on her back. Bella is very independent. Having grown up with a mother who used men for whatever she wanted, then leaving them when something better came along, Bella works hard at never asking for help. Her letter from June tells her to fix up the house and sell it if she wants to, and not to be afraid to ask for help. When Bella arrives at the house, she immediately runs into the last person she wanted to see - her ex-stepbrother, Noah. Her mom was married to Noah's dad the year Bella was thirteen. Bella had a massive crush on nineteen-year-old Noah, who never seemed to notice her. Lila asked Noah to check on Bella. He wasn't happy about it, as he had cut himself off from everyone. Years of taking care of his drunk father had drained him, and he doesn't want anyone to need him. But something about Bella draws him like a magnet. The development of the relationship between them was a rocky one. There was intense chemistry, but both of them feared getting too close. Noah fought it, but couldn't stop himself from wanting to help her. There were some sweet scenes of the things he did for her, things that showed he understood her. Bella was a bit lost at first, having a hard time accepting his help. Though both fought against their growing feelings, they also found it easy to talk to each other about stuff they'd never told anyone else. I ached for Noah, who was afraid of becoming addicted to Bella the way his dad was addicted to booze, and caused him to push her away. I cried for Bella, who had finally let someone in, just to be rejected. I loved the ending and the unexpected visitors who arrived at just the right time to give Bella the support and kick in the pants that she needed. Her and Noah's big moment at the end was deeply emotional and perfect for both of them.