Aspen Crossroads releases tomorrow (as I type this)—August 24th! When I heard that Janine was writing a story about characters who survived human trafficking, I knew I wanted to read it as soon as it released. Thanks to netgalley, I got my hands on it a little bit sooner.
My review will follow after this look at the back cover.
To protect those most vulnerable, Haven Haviland must trust her heart–and her regrets–to a mysterious newcomer in this moving contemporary romance.
Few in the community of Whisper Canyon have actually met Jace Daring, a handsome recluse who lives at Aspen Crossroads, the farm at the edge of town. But that doesn’t stop the rumors about the multiple women who live with him. He must protect the truth–that his farm-to-table restaurant will provide new livelihoods for women rescued from human trafficking–or he risks the safety and futures of those relying on him. But he can’t do it alone.
Haven Haviland has always been everyone’s safe place to fall until one mistake closes her counseling practice and leaves her open to the town’s gossip. Trusting men has gotten her in trouble before. However, accepting Jace’s job offer to mentor the rescued women seems like the perfect way to right her wrongs.
When the mayor’s campaign to clean up Whisper Canyon targets Aspen Crossroads, the restaurant comes under fire, dangers from the women’s pasts are awakened, and Haven’s sins are exposed for all to see. Jace would sacrifice himself to save Haven and the women under his care, but his efforts might not be enough. And in the end, it might not be the women most in need of saving after all.
This is not a light read by any means, but Janine still found ways to bring comedic relief into the story. Of course, Aspen Crossroads is an adult read, since it handles human trafficking and so much abuse. So much brokenness. But also so much hope and healing. Rosche’s background teaching university courses in Human Development and Family Relations comes through gently but powerfully in this well-written contemporary romance. Yes, romance.
The love story between Jace and Haven was very moving, both having gone through very difficult childhoods, and adulthoods as well. Both carried unimaginable baggage and hurts. Though Aspen Crossroads is a fictional story, human trafficking is happening and probably in our own cities—I applaud Rosche for taking on such a difficult topic. Her passion for people, relationships and healing is obvious in this Christian novel. I hope Aspen Crossroads inspires its readers to look beyond a person’s past, to see the person God created them to be. I hope it inspires people to love justice and mercy and to be willing to extend mercy when the opportunity presents itself.
There was even some mystery involved as we discovered with Jace the truth about his family. I absolutely love this quote from Jace’s mother (who we don’t meet in the novel), I just have to highlight it:
“What you meant for evil, God used for good. If you don’t believe that, look at this child. I will raise him to be the kind of man who protects and doesn’t harm. He will have honor and courage and strength…”
Fans of Karen Kingsbury and Denise Hunter will want to add this heartbreaking, hope-filled story of redemption and new beginnings to their TBR pile.
I received a complimentary copy of Aspen Crossroads from Netgalley. All opinions in this review are my own.
About the Author
Prone to wander, Janine Rosche finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into her Madison River Romance series. When she isn’t writing or traveling, she teaches family life education courses to college students, takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs, and embarrasses her four children and husband with boy band serenades.