Incredible Devotion! The Bridge to a Better Life by Ava Miles

Posted May 13, 2015 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Incredible Devotion! The Bridge to a Better Life by Ava MilesThe Bridge to a Better Life by Ava Miles
Series: Dare Valley #8
Published by Self Published on May 11, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 300
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Amazon | Goodreads

Sports hero and newly retired NFL quarterback Blake Cunningham wants a second chance at love…with his ex-wife. He's bought the house next door to her in Dare Valley and has built a bridge connecting their properties. It's his bridge to a better life, the one he lost when Natalie Hale left him after a family tragedy destroyed their marriage.

Natalie has just started a new job as the head caterer at the small town's historic hotel. When she discovers Blake has become the boy next door-literally-she secretly has to admit he still fires up all her engines and tugs at her heart. But the ghosts from their past seem too monumental to conquer.

Blake vows to help Natalie remember the power of their love and friendship. With the intense sparks of attraction flying between them, Natalie begins to put her heart out there again. How can she resist Blake when he makes her laugh and swoon by even acting out her secret Outlander fantasy? As they both give love a second chance, they are forced to face their most disturbing memories, not only the tragedy that ripped their lives apart, but also the secret parts they were afraid to share...



This is a rather extraordinary story of second chance romance.


Quick summary

When her sister-in-law and best friend died of cancer, Natalie Hale shut down emotionally because she couldn’t handle the pain of her grief. She walked away from her husband (and marriage) when he tried to offer comfort and solace. Now Blake Cunningham, an NFL Super Bowl winning quarterback puts everything on the line to win his wife back.


Why I liked this story

I’m used to feel-good stories in this series with strong, admirable heroines that are paired with attractive, honorable men who aren’t afraid to express themselves emotionally. Here we have a slight departure as, at times, there’s very little to admire about Natalie’s behavior. On the surface, her reasons for shutting out and divorcing Blake seem inexplicable. When we get a glimpse of what lies beneath, she emerges as much more complicated and sympathetic. It’s difficult to identify with a character like Natalie whose struggles with self love appear irrational. But her issues are complex and she’s only emulating what she’s learned from two stoic parents.


Blake kept me in this relationship as he’s the most sensitive and caring of men. His sacrifices were phenomenal, almost unrealistic but definitely in line with the strength of his love for Natalie. Where many would have given up, he persevered and hung in there. I loved this character and how fearless he was in displaying his vulnerabilities.


One more thing

On a lighter note, many of Blake’s football pals provide much needed comic relief and embodied friendship and tolerance. I liked how this was directly tied to the benefits of team sports and it added heft to the story. Plus, there are a few I’m hoping to see in future books.


The bottom line

While this was a tougher story than the others in the series, it still has all those underlying themes that are characteristic of an Ava Miles book…importance of family and friends, strong work ethics and heartwarming moments. The characters are uniquely drawn and even when Natalie frustrated me to no end, she was still intriguing. And you won’t want to miss the opportunity to meet the romantic Blake Cunningham.

About Ava Miles

Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off The Dare Valley Series and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Much to Ava’s delight, BlogCritics says “It [NORA ROBERTS LAND] captures the best of…a Nora Roberts novel,” while USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog praises the series noting its “wonderful, idyllic setting… [and] great characters.” Ava continued The Dare Valley Series in FRENCH ROAST, which Tome Tender says “raised the entertainment bar again” and then THE GRAND OPENING, which reviewer Mary J. Gramlich says “is a continuation of love, family, and relationships.” Now, Ava releases the fourth book in the series, THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, with her recognized wit and charm, creating happy endings with humor and heart.

Born in a small town herself, Ava has created the small, Colorado town of Dare Valley and the residents who make it memorable, including the Hale family who, like Ava, are descended from a long line of journalists. Ava’s great-great grandfather won his first newspaper in a poker game in 1892 and her family has had something to do with telling stories, whether to share news or, in her case, fiction, ever since. In fact her clan is still reporting on local events more than one hundred years later at their family newspaper.

Ava is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers. She is also part of an unofficial group that regularly convenes a writing retreat at Nora Roberts’ restored Inn Boonsboro in western Maryland. Having left behind the “day job,” which took her, literally, all over the world, she now writes full-time in the peace and quiet of her northern Virginia porch-swinging-friendly community.

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