My Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: FF
Facing yet another failed relationship and a full-blown identity crisis after losing her job in a corporate merger, unemployed executive Amber Shaw realizes she hasn’t been happy in a long time. Who is she if not a CEO, and if everything she’s worked for hasn’t made her happy, what will? Inspired after learning about the Appalachian Trail, Amber sets off in hopes of figuring it all out.
Leslie Brown lives life on her own terms with nothing to tie her down. She’s an experienced hiker and has one final trail left on her bucket list, the Appalachian Trail. Only problem, all her friends have settled down and started lives that don’t allow for seven months away from responsibilities. She’s out there alone.
Amber and Leslie assume they are polar opposites based on their first impressions of each other, but the more their paths cross, the more this hike of a lifetime begins to look like a love of a lifetime.
This book was so good, I loved it! This book was exactly what I was hoping for and more when I spotted it on Netgalley. I love stories about characters finding what they really want in life and figuring things out, add in the thru hiking setting and theme and I knew I had to read this one. And I am so glad I picked this one up as I really enjoyed it from start to finish.
Appalachian Awakening follows the story of Amber, who just lost both her job and her girlfriend. She has always striven to be the best at everything and has more money than she knows what to do with, but she still feels empty and like something missing. After losing her job and girlfriend in the same day she decided she wants to try hiking the Appalachian trail.
I have to admit I wasn’t sure I was going to like Amber at first, something about her personality and attitude made it hard for me to like her at first, but the way it was written still had me curious to see what was next for her. Then once she realizes something is missing and actually sets out to find it and I quickly warmed up to her. I liked her dedication to try something so different from what she is used to and how she gave it her all by researching well beforehand. She’s used to everything her money can buy and seeing her willingly set off and walk days on end without shower or restaurant meal was really interesting to see. And even more how she opens her heart and mind to find that what’s missing in her life.
This is not only a story about Amber figuring out what she wants from life, it’s also an awesome romantic story. The book also has a strong theme about friendship and I would even call it found family, as Amber’s real family doesn’t care about her, but she finds friends who do. And everyone has their own distinct personality, from Sue whose like a mother and best friend to Amber to the couple Cricket and Bobber who become good friends to Amber. And ofcourse Leslie, the love itnerest.
I loved the way the romance was written. Amber and Leslie have something that connect and draws them together from the start, but it’s their honest and raw talks that really forge a deep bond. And only later it turns physical and they fit well together in that way as well. I liked how open and honest they are with each other. There isn’t a lot of drama and angst about their romance, even though they have things to deal with. When struggles or doubts pop up they actually talk about it and when something is pulling them apart their feelings are clear. I really liked reading about these two and while we don’t get Leslie’s point of view I felt like I got to know her almost as well as main character Amber. The epilogue was awesome and I really liked seeing where these two ended up.
The hiking journey was very well written, with the walk really coming to life and I was able to picture the scenes well. There’s just something about the thru hiking setting that really works for me in a book, it’s such an unique type of backdrop for a story. And the way it’s such a change from Amber’s normal life that it forces her to reconsider everything was great.
To summarize: I loved this book! This book was everything I hoped for and more. It has an awesome plot line about Amber who has to figure out what she wants from life and what is missing. As well as a heartfelt romance with two characters who are raw and honest with each other and connect through deep talks and only later physically as well. I liked how the romance was low on the drama and how these two talked things through. I appreciated how I felt like I got to know love interest Leslie almost as well as Amber. It also has a theme of found family and friendship as Amber has some great friends around her who each have a distinct personality. The hiking made for a great backdrop for the story and I enjoyed reading about the trail hiking. The epilogue was wonderful and I loved how the book ended.