Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 1, 2022
It's official: Brynna Phillips is done with men. They only break your heart. But just when she makes this declaration, her friend Jan convinces Brynna to join her on a camping vacation in Sonoma Wine Country.
As they wind their way toward their destination, spanking-new mini camper in tow, Brynna recalls her teenage camp romance with a boy named Leroy. How can it have been nearly thirty years ago? All she remembers is that Leroy was a genuinely good guy and that his family owned a vineyard--in Sonoma. She doesn't even remember his last name. Undaunted, Jan insists they look for him . . . and the search for a second chance at love begins.
Reviewer: Connie Porter Saunders
This is a story of the best kind! It doesn't take long to read, there are some wonderful characters, and there is romance! Author Melody Carlson shares a tale of two people who met at a summer camp after their high school graduation. They enjoyed being together and never saw each other again! Is it possible that there might be embers left from a summer romance that ended 30 years ago? Can someone who suffered the pain of a cheating husband ever completely trust again? How about a widower who has raised three daughters and is fully committed to his family's vineyard in Sonoma, California? Is he ready to give his heart away one more time?
Much of this story revolves around memories of a special first love and the painful break-up that still hurts thirty years later. Brynna Phillips discovers that her visit to a Sonoma vineyard has unearthed the young man who stole her heart. Her initial reluctance to acknowledge her presence at Leroy Sorrentino's vineyard and her attempts to reconcile their past are often clumsy and misunderstood. Throw in adult daughters who don't want another woman in their father's life, and the situation seems hopeless!
I admit that I'm a Melody Carlson fan, so it's hard not to like her books. I truly enjoyed Looking for Leroy, and I was there, walking in the vineyards and viewing the beautiful scenery. I was totally invested in Brynna's confusion and attempts to do the right thing. I could feel Leroy's sense of needing something else in his life. Carlson depicts these emotions while weaving a faith element in her story. She convinces readers that forgiveness is necessary. A second chance at love is possible at any age. There truly is a chance for 'happily ever after'! If you enjoy contemporary romantic fiction, you will want to read Looking for Leroy.
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Joy Hannabass
A camping trip and a motorcycle, two teachers, and a friend they picked up on the trail quickly turned into visiting many vineyards in Looking for Leroy. What a sweet story from Melody Carlson! I thought it was slow initially, but the pace picked up quickly, and the last hundred or so pages were so good that I read without stopping.
When Brynna agrees to go camping for the summer with a coworker, she never dreams she will be looking for her old blast from the past while on the trail. But she only remembers his first name. So they take off on their journey, looking at vineyards. But things didn't turn out as she expected, and before she knew it, several people were hurt, including herself.
Looking for Leroy is a well-written story. I love all of these characters, and there are quite a few. They will quickly pull readers into the story and include them in their lives. Carlson's extensive research shows the vivid details in each scene throughout the book. I learned a lot about working at vineyards as well. Is this book Hallmark movie-worthy? I certainly think so. I would love to meet this cast of characters and their story in a movie. But it's hard to tell you why because there is not much to say without leaving spoilers, and I don't do that. If you enjoy good clean and sweet contemporary fiction, you will enjoy this one. I'm giving Looking for Leroy Five Stars!
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Sarah Speck
I have read many books by Melody Carlson. She’s an author I really enjoy, especially her Christmas stories. Recently, I read The Happy Camper and loved it. Couldn’t put it down. I opened the pages of Looking for Leroy with the same excitement and expectation. Unfortunately, this book did not rise to the level of her past stories.
I enjoyed the beauty of the Sorrentino vineyard, Leroy’s interactions with his girls, and a family pulling together to make their business survive. I’d love to go on a camping adventure like these gals, and the story’s concept really appealed to me. I could empathize with a young and dumb Brynna who never intended for her life to become so derailed. I felt her pain of looking at her 40+-year-old self and wondering if this was it. Was this the life she would eke out for the rest of her days? However, there were several inconsistencies throughout the story. I tracked each one down because I wondered if I was wrong. I’m including a brief description of the plot holes I found.
Brynna seems confused about Jan, her coworker, and her adventure guide. At the beginning of the book, Brynna knows that Jan’s husband has died. She offers that Jan is a widow. A few pages later, Brynna is shocked that Jan and her husband weren’t divorced and that he had passed away. Then there’s Leroy, the guy they are looking for. He states early in the book that he wanted to be a lawyer and was inspired by LA Law. When we meet the two main characters at camp, there’s no mention of law. He plans to be a photographer, while Brynna wants to be a journalist. We find out later why she strays from that path, but there’s no reason for the change in Leroy’s career aspirations. The final inconsistency involves the timeline of Brynna’s breakup with Leroy and the surrounding events (which I will leave vague so that I don’t spoil anything). According to the description, she should be in her senior year of high school when we meet young Brynna at camp. However, later when she reveals the details around breaking up with Leroy, Brynna mentions it was during her first year of college.
In addition to these plot holes, I found the storyline hard to believe. Brynna and Jan were out for an adventure, but I couldn’t buy the way their story unfolded. It felt forced and a bit high school romance level. That feeling continued for me when Brynna arrived at Leroy’s vineyard. I was cheering for her and Leroy, but I didn’t feel like they could have gotten from point A to point B with what we know of their interactions. It was just too easily resolved with all the angst we lived through with them.
Despite this book not hitting the mark for me, I love Melody Carlson’s books. I will happily pick up her other titles and heartily recommend them.
I was given an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation from Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Monica Huyser
Brynna Phillips is a school teacher who believes she is done with men and is looking to spend her summer gardening on her small condo deck. But everything goes awry when she heads to the greenhouse to get some plants. Fellow co-worker Jan finds her at the greenhouse and talks Brynna into going on a camping trip with her.
At the same time, in a Sonoma vineyard in California, Leroy seeks peace and quiet from his daughters. He is struggling to keep his family's vineyard out of the red.
Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson is a contemporary Christian novel with a story that some other mid-life women may be able to relate to. Brynna and Jan go on their camping adventure and are having fun when they end up at the same camp where Brynna met Leroy after her senior year of high school. She starts wondering where he is and finds him with Jan's help. Jan also has found a new friend in Mike, who joins them in the search for Leroy. After finding Leroy's family vineyard, Brynna ends up in an unusual position when Leroy's daughter mistakes her for a job applicant.
I enjoyed the characters in Looking for Leroy. It is a book that is more character-driven than plot-driven. It was a relatively quick read for me. I enjoyed getting to know the characters with their good traits and flaws. It was interesting to see how "life" worked out for them. I also think that many of us who are older have wondered what happened to a former boyfriend/girlfriend, so it was fun to see how this story played out. Looking for Leroy would also encourage mid-life people to take more risks and really "live" life.
I also enjoyed how God was drawn into Looking for Leroy and how Leroy's mom shared a bit about a Bible story in making her point. The faith parts felt natural and were clearly part of the plot.
The cover drew me in with the warm sunshine, vineyards, and the truck with a camping trailer, clearly indicating an adventure going on in the book.
I received a copy of this book from Revell through Interviews & Reviews. All opinions within this review are my own.
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