Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher
Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher could have just been an overly sweet small town romance, but début author Seana Kelly infuses her story with the right dash of tartness to make it appeal to my (sometimes) cynical heart. Leading lady Katie Gallagher has a lot of sass, a few challenges to overcome and is the kind of woman that I’d want to be friends with.
The community of Bar Harbor, Maine never saw a hellion like the teenage Katie. Every summer she visited her grandmother’s house was another chance for her to get into mischief. Fortunately her grandmother’s influence in town was enough to smooth over each situation and Katie would leave in the fall with pleasant memories of the one woman who loved her unconditionally. Sadly, the Katie Gallagher who returns to Bar Harbor a decade later isn’t quite as self-assured as she used to be. Years of living under the thumb of an overly controlling husband have made her less confident in herself and unsure of her own identity without his influence. When she catches him cheating on her it’s the wake-up call she needs to break free of her disappointing marriage and Katie leaves California to restart her life in the house her grandmother left for her in Maine.
Katie doesn’t exactly get the warmest welcome when she arrives back in town. The first person she meets is police chief Aiden Cavanaugh, who seems to have a major chip on his shoulder and isn’t very happy about Katie moving into the property next door to him. Things get worse when she opens the door to her grandmother’s house only to discover that woodland creatures have moved in and made it their home. Any hopes Katie has of renovating the house are dashed when she learns that her soon to be ex-husband has cut her off financially to try and force her back to him. The old Katie would have seen each of these setbacks as proof that she wasn’t prepared to be on her own but the new Katie pushes forward to meet the challenges head on.
Watching from the sidelines, Aiden Cavanaugh isn’t quite ready to believe that Katie Gallagher is back in order to put down roots. Aiden remembers the spirited young woman who would blow into town every summer to stay with her grandmother and then leave without a backwards glance at the trouble and people she left behind. Each time Katie returned to Bar Harbor, Aiden fell a little more under her spell but when he finally had the courage to ask her out she seemed to dismiss him. The rejection broke Aiden’s heart and left him unwilling to trust a woman completely with his affection. A marriage gone wrong proved to him that he was right to protect himself from falling in love, so the return of the first woman that hurt him is an unwanted reminder of the emotions he’s set aside. Out of respect for the memory of Katie’s grandmother, Aiden finds himself helping Katie clean out the old house but absolutely refuses to fall under her spell a second time.
Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher is a romantic story that’s made all the richer for Katie’s rediscovery of the passionate and independent woman that she used to be. The town of Bar Harbor is easy to love as well and Ms. Kelly has populated it with several characters who are just screaming for their own stories. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more from this talented author and hope to see another book in the From Maine with Love series soon.