Buns by Alice Clayton (Hudson Valley #3)

Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Gallery

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

What a great book! I absolutely loved this one! Although Alice Clayton is normally a win for me anyway, I just knew I had to try this one when I saw that cover and that title. I will admit to chuckling as soon as I picked it up. What I found within this book was a thoughtful love story sprinkled with a sweet humor that is clearly Clayton’s signature.

Clara is a hotel re-branding consultant who has been hired to bring fresh ideas to a mountaintop resort in New York. She’s sought after, intelligent and always able to produce a positive result. When she arrives at the Bryant Mountain House she’s immediately met with hostility from the owners son and heir. They butt heads constantly throughout the progression of the book which I found both charming and honest.

Archie is still mourning the loss of his wife who was taken much to young by cancer. Unable to fully move past her death he has buried himself in work and secluded himself to the hotel with little to no social life. Meeting Clara both intrigues and pisses him off right from the start. He finds her loud, annoying and rude yet he also finds himself drawn to her in a way he hasn’t ever felt, even with his wife.

I found these characters to be refreshingly down to earth and real. They both fought demons of their own, but they were normal, everyday problems. Archie really struggled with the idea that he was moving on after his wife’s death even though it had been several years. He felt as if he was betraying her memory by finding qualities in Clara that aroused him in ways his wife never did. Clara really fought the fight or flight trait she had honed so perfectly in her past. She wanted to be the one to do the leaving since it always seemed to be reversed in her childhood. Never having roots meant never forming a connection with someone who could hurt her when they left.

As both worked through their hangups their love/hate relationship slowly evolved into something more. The humor and secondary characters moved the plot along nicely and by the last page I was swooning. Definitely a great read from Alice Clayton!

I give Buns by Alice Clayton 5 stars! 

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