Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Chance of a lifetime
It’s finally Heather Finley’s moment. After spending years looking after her mother in the tiny town of Heartache, Tennessee, Heather’s about to follow her dream of singing country music. She can nearly hear the audiences hollering…until the town’s handsome mayor, Zach Chance, comes to her with troubling questions about her late father’s past. Once again, Heather has to choose: protect her family or chase her heart’s desire? Zach is determined to help, and to convince Heather that she belongs in Heartache–with him. But is he just another distraction? Or could he be the one to show Heather how a small-town love can make her big-time dreams come true?
I love this series and I don’t know why I waited so long to pick up book 3. Reading this book reminded me again why I love this series and why Joanne Rock is one of my favorite romance authors. Dances Under the Harvest Moon is a wonderful read. It’s about small town life, following your dreams, wanting justice, dealing with a chronic illness and online bullying. It blends all these things together perfectly and it makes for a great read.
Dances Under the Harvest Moon follows Heather Finley and Zach Chance. Heather has always lived in Heartache and helped care for her mother. She helped others a lot and now it’s time for her to follow her dreams. She wants to make a career with her music and after the wedding of her sister she leaves town for an audition. But things don’t go as she planned and she ends up back in Heartache and reconnecting with Zach.
Zach is the mayor of heartache and has always looked up the Finley family. He tries to be a good mayor, but also struggles with it at times. He also does some security work and is still trying to catch the stalker who hurt his sister years ago. He likes Heather and wants a chance with her, but she is set on leaving town, while he wants to stay.
The romance was great. I liked seeing Heather and Zach together and it was obvious they cared about each other a lot, I liked seeing them grow closer and opening their hearts, but there are some things standing in their way too. Heather wants to chase her dreams and move to the other side of the country to perform, while Zach wants to stay there. Heather keeps a secret, which turns out to be a sensitive topic for Zach.
So they slowly fall in love, but they have some things to work through,. It all develops very naturally without too much drama. And I enjoyed reading about these two, they were great together and I could totally feel their romance. I did got a bit annoyed at one time when Heather got angry at what Zach did, while it was obvious there would’ve been no good way for him to tell her this. But I also liked reading how they overcame the huddles in their way. I also would’ve liked some of their conflict to be worked out a bit more as at the end it did feel a touch rushed, but at the same time it also felt believable with what happened.
Just like in the previous books there is a lot more going on than just the romance, like the town and a bit of mystery going on, but all it fits together nicely. The story is gently paced, which it totally works here. I was able to visualize everything very well and the author really brings this town and the characters who live there to live. I liked how we also got the point of view of a teenager again next to the two main characters. In this case we got the point of view from one of Heather’s previous students and her plot line also ties in with that of Heather and Zach. I liked Megan and reading about her, I thought she acted like a realistic teenager and I felt for her with what she went through.
There is a small suspense/ mystery thread involving an incident from years ago and things that are happening now. The mystery was a bit predictable as I suspected who was behind it from early on, but it did like the plot line overall and seeing how things develop. I also liked how we met Sam and Gabriella in this book, who both will get their own book.
This book grabbed my attention from the start and I enjoyed every page. I loved being back in Heartache and how we get to see a bit of what’s going on in this town as well. We get to see the main characters and some side characters from previous books again and I liked seeing how they were doing. Joanne Rock manages to paint a great visual of this small town and I enjoyed spending time here. I like how she brings her scenes alive and I was able to visualize everything really well.
To summarize: This is the type of romance novel that I love! With it’s gentle pace, a believable romance, a great small town setting and multiple plot lines and topics that are getting addressed this book was a lot of fun to read. I easily got immersed in the story and wanted to keep reading. I could feel the romance between Heather and Zach. They had some things to work through as well. I liked seeing them grow closer, figuring out how much the other meant to them and overcoming the huddles in their way. I loved returning to the small town of Heartache, catching up with characters from the previous books and meeting some new ones as well. There is also a plot line following teenager Megan, which was fun, and a bit of suspense/ mystery. It also touches upon topics like following your dreams, living with a chronic illness and cyber bullying. This was a great read and I hope to pick up book 4 soon!