When Ellie Bloom’s life literally goes up in flames after an apartment fire, she slinks back to her sister’s house in the St. Louis suburb she’s avoided since her mom died. Ellie quickly caves to her nephews’ pleas to direct the temple Hanukkah play—her mom’s pride and joy—and by the time she’s lighting the first candle in her menorah, she doubts she’ll ever escape her hometown. And then she spots the cute fireman who rescued her lighting his own menorah in the window next door.
Firefighter Jonah Spellman may have dropped out of seminary, but he still has deep roots in his Jewish faith. Hoping to mend fences with his Rabbi father who can’t forgive his career change, Jonah agrees to direct the Hanukkah play, never expecting to clash with his beautiful, fire-starting new next-door neighbor.
By day they spar—Ellie’s desperate to live up to her mom’s legacy while Jonah’s driven to impress his dad. But by night they return to their secret candle-lighting ritual. Will their love burn as brightly as the Hanukkah flames?
Titles in the Orchard Hill series include — Shine a Light – Two Nights to Forever –
Title: Shine a Light
Series: Orchard Hill #1
Author: Rebecca Crowley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: November 30, 2021
Publisher: Tule Publishing
My Rating: 4 stars
Shine a Light begins the Orchard Hill series with a lively romance between two people who on the surface don’t match up… but then the surface only tells part of the story, it’s the heart where the magic truly begins.
I deeply appreciate the more in-depth diversity in the romance genre/publishing houses. Through Ellie and Jonah, I learned so much more about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the importance of their faith to them. I may not share their particular faith, but I enjoyed understanding more than I had – knowledge is always welcome in my world.
Shine a Light is a lovely small town romance that brings unlikely people together as they each deal with parental issues – some that can never truly be resolved due to the parent’s death, yet the other has a chance to get his father to understand his choices and perhaps forgive a decision that changed the direction of a life. Poor Ellie. She does seem to be hit with “if it weren’t for bad luck she’d have no luck at all” syndrome. Between an apartment fire, a sprained ankle, and broken heels she’s also now dealing with a promise to her nephew to direct the annual Hanukkah play, something her deceased mother was devoted to and now Ellie has to somehow take over with amazing results (she hopes). She’ll do it but it will also smother her in fears of failure and memories she cannot outrun.
Jonah comes to Ellie’s rescue often, yet this quiet, determined man hides his own parental difficulties as he takes on directing the Hanukkah play before realizing that his accident-prone neighbor has already done so. Now they’re co-directing and clashing over unimportant things as each tries to honor a parent, or impress a parent.
I loved watching their eyes open to not only each other but the possibilities ahead for them. It’s going to be a bumpy road, yet they have a good chance of finding a happy ever after ending with each other if they’re willing to take the risks of letting someone in. I had fun in this world and I’m looking forward to the next installment of the series in the Spring of 2022.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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