Now and Then and Always

Now and Then and Always

"It was just a house. Just a weathered old house in a hidden grove, shuttered and still . . . " Last year, after traumatic circumstances forced her from her job as a nanny, Mara Bristol finally found a place to belong-the winsome Everwood Bed & Breakfast at the edge of Maple Valley, Iowa. For months, she's helped its owner, Lenora, maintain the ramshackle property desp...

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Title:Now and Then and Always
Author:Melissa Tagg
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Now and Then and Always Reviews

  • Beth

    Melissa Tagg gets better with every book. I’m always expecting a good read when I pick up one of her books, but each time I fall in love with the story. Now and Then and Always is a book full of charm, heart, and real life.

    Maple Valley is one of my favorite settings – it’s such a quirky place, but still feels like it could be entirely real. I enjoyed that the view of Maple Valley in this story was a bit of an outsider’s perspective. Mara is not originally from there, and she is more about hiding

    Melissa Tagg gets better with every book. I’m always expecting a good read when I pick up one of her books, but each time I fall in love with the story. Now and Then and Always is a book full of charm, heart, and real life.

    Maple Valley is one of my favorite settings – it’s such a quirky place, but still feels like it could be entirely real. I enjoyed that the view of Maple Valley in this story was a bit of an outsider’s perspective. Mara is not originally from there, and she is more about hiding herself away rather than ingraining herself within the town. Also, a rundown bed and breakfast – full of mystery and history – how delightful!

    Mara’s past is a sad one indeed, but Marshall, oh how his backstory broke my heart. I’m not sure how she does it, but Tagg manages to take a heavy topic and pull hope from it, all the while respectfully handling the emotions and grief that come along with it.

    In the romance genre, I tend to feel that relationships move too fast, but I never feel that way with Tagg’s stories. Even if a friendship develops quickly, the next steps are not taken lightly and never to the detriment of the plot or character development. It just feels more true-to-life and makes the payoff so much better at the end.

    As ever, the secondary characters are endearing, and I just know they have stories of their own. I adore how the readers gets bit and pieces of their stories – it always makes me wonder if one of them will be getting their own book next.

    I loved this poignant story of healing, and I am so glad that Tagg isn’t leaving Maple Valley just yet. I am absolutely looking forward to the next book in the series. This book is a favorite of 2019 for sure.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and was not required to post a positive review. This review is my honest opinion.

  • Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    I've been so anxious to read this book! Melissa Tagg is one of those consistently good authors that keep me coming back for more. And this cover! It is an awesome representation of significant part of this story. I love the colors too.

    This story is about two people, both broken from tragic and traumatic things in their lives, but still fighting to move forward. Mara and Marshall are both characters that you root for, even in their darkest moments. I was invested in their stories and in their ult

    I've been so anxious to read this book! Melissa Tagg is one of those consistently good authors that keep me coming back for more. And this cover! It is an awesome representation of significant part of this story. I love the colors too.

    This story is about two people, both broken from tragic and traumatic things in their lives, but still fighting to move forward. Mara and Marshall are both characters that you root for, even in their darkest moments. I was invested in their stories and in their ultimate peace and happiness. As a reader, that is what I long for. That emotional connection to the characters.

    I loved the added bits of mystery/intrigue and the tiny bits of suspense. It gave the story some added elemental life to balance out the emotional build up. Everything unfolded brilliantly and kept me turning those pages because I just couldn't stop. It was so good!

    The secondary characters have me so interested! I can't wait to see what is coming next!

    Content: mild peril, kissing, Christian elements (praying, forgiving, finding your way back to God)

    - I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

  • Jen.

    .

    .

    I love small, quirky towns. I love a good B&B setting in a small, quirky town. Toss in a renovation of the B&B in the small, quirky town?

    Yeah, I pretty much loved

    !!

    Set in lovable Maple Valley,

    is a fabulous blend of romance, mystery and faith. The characters are layered and relatable. The supporting cast was exceptionally strong, and the friendships made in this story were wonderful!

    Before reading

    , I’d only read n

    .

    .

    I love small, quirky towns. I love a good B&B setting in a small, quirky town. Toss in a renovation of the B&B in the small, quirky town?

    Yeah, I pretty much loved

    !!

    Set in lovable Maple Valley,

    is a fabulous blend of romance, mystery and faith. The characters are layered and relatable. The supporting cast was exceptionally strong, and the friendships made in this story were wonderful!

    Before reading

    , I’d only read novellas by Melissa Tagg (see those reviews here! and here! ) so I was excited to see how a full length novel would play out. Honestly, guys…this was perfect!

    This is a deep story and the lead characters, Marshall and Mara, have major hurts in their past. You feel those hurts right along with them. Yet, there is so much hope in their stories, you never feel down-and-out while reading this book. I found it to be rather uplifting! Melissa Tagg’s storytelling is a gift!

    I’m so glad this was the start of a new series! The promise of more stories set in Maple Valley is real and I can’t wait for more!

    Oh, and may I add that I’m sitting here eating a bowl of Lucky Charms while I type this review. Well, maybe they’re generic store brand “Magic Stars” but, hey – still counts. Why do I mention this beloved breakfast cereal? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

    ! I oh-so-absolutely recommend this book! To purchase your copy of

    , visit

    jengalaxy4.wordpress.com/

  • Toni Shiloh

    A return to Maple Valley always makes me happy. There’s just something about the people and the atmosphere that makes me happy to open the pages of a Tagg book and settle down for a good read. And Now and Then and Always was no exception. One of my favorite Melissa Tagg books, hands down.

    There is such depth to this book! Sure there are the signature laughs hat Ms. Tagg always brings forth. I mean I’m all for the humor around sugary cereal (read the book, you’ll get it). But there was just an un

    A return to Maple Valley always makes me happy. There’s just something about the people and the atmosphere that makes me happy to open the pages of a Tagg book and settle down for a good read. And Now and Then and Always was no exception. One of my favorite Melissa Tagg books, hands down.

    There is such depth to this book! Sure there are the signature laughs hat Ms. Tagg always brings forth. I mean I’m all for the humor around sugary cereal (read the book, you’ll get it). But there was just an underlying tone of heartache and the need for healing that immediately pulled me into the story.

    I do love a tragic hero after all. And “Marshall Hawkins, 35, Milwaukee” may be one of my favorite tragic heroes of all. Not because of the heartache that shadows his eyes, but the way he wakes up each day, putting one foot in front of the other with no notion of how powerful those simple things truly are. He has so much hurt bottled in him and watching him fight for healing was one that kept me turning the pages.

    I would totally be Mara’s friend and bond over cereal, a fabulous den, and a B&B that welcomes all in need of a family. Not to mention cameo appearances from Walkers and others who make Maple Valley home. Make sure you pick this one up and settle in for a read guaranteed to touch your heart.

    *Full review at:

    **I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. This review was not required nor influenced.

  • Sarah Grace Grzy

    I am ridiculously happy right now. Y'all. More Maple Valley? You know I'm down for that.

    Before I even started this, I knew I would love it. And I was not wrong. I have not had anywhere near as much time as I'd like to read lately, but I finished this within less than 48 hours, and I have no regrets.

    Tagg's characters are always so unique, with compelling backstories, fun quirks, epic banter, and more, and Mara and Marshall were no different! From the prologue, I fell in love with Marshall. He ma

    I am ridiculously happy right now. Y'all. More Maple Valley? You know I'm down for that.

    Before I even started this, I knew I would love it. And I was not wrong. I have not had anywhere near as much time as I'd like to read lately, but I finished this within less than 48 hours, and I have no regrets.

    Tagg's characters are always so unique, with compelling backstories, fun quirks, epic banter, and more, and Mara and Marshall were no different! From the prologue, I fell in love with Marshall. He may have made me cry a couple--okay, several--times. Can I just give the poor guy a hug, please? And Mara . . . wow, I can relate to her a lot! Both these characters are just so fabulous, and I completely love them.

    The storyline moves along at a pretty good pace, although not too quickly. There was never a time I was bored or uninterested. Tagg deals with topics like abandonment, grief, and others in an incredibly realistic and moving way, and, as I mentioned, I was brought to tears more than once. The author always weaves in a storyline of mystery that was incredibly intriguing, and I don't think she has done that before. But I definitely hope she does it again!

    Just a couple of quick notes:

    All in all, I am in love with this book and these characters. I cannot wait for book 2! I am hoping for a Jen + Lucas story (have been since

    !) or a book about Sam . . . or both. If you are a lover of romance with deep themes and epic banter, plus a bit of mystery, I highly suggest you check out

    !

  • Denise Hershberger

    Tagg never disappoints! This book was a little deeper than some of her others have been, but I love authors that evolve in their writing. I also love authors who include realistic challenges for their characters. The trials that both Mara and Marshall face are ones that many endure or they know someone who does. This level of relatability to characters is a great strength for an author.

    The spiritual truths sprinkled throughout this book were of of my favorite parts. I highlighted those more than

    Tagg never disappoints! This book was a little deeper than some of her others have been, but I love authors that evolve in their writing. I also love authors who include realistic challenges for their characters. The trials that both Mara and Marshall face are ones that many endure or they know someone who does. This level of relatability to characters is a great strength for an author.

    The spiritual truths sprinkled throughout this book were of of my favorite parts. I highlighted those more than anything else. It was never preachy, but always honest. I appreciated watching multiple characters struggle with the "Why, God?" questions in this book. While it would be nice for those to always be easy answers, I am glad that Tagg didn't write it that way.

    But don't worry, true to Tagg's style there were still plenty of fun moments in this book too. And lots of kissing.

    I was pleasantly surprised by another aspect of this book, but you'll have to read it to find out!

    I also loved revisiting Maple Valley and some old friends!

    I received an advanced copy of this book from the author. This is my honest review. I had already pre-ordered the book before I received this advanced copy.

  • Amy

    You know there’s something missing in your life when you’re not reading a Melissa Tagg story. Somehow she pulls it all together, every element - and the book is complete.

    Last year while passing through Iowa, we drove through a small town and immediately my mind said “Maple Valley, this is it”. Yes it may be a fictional place - but it’s nestled deep into the hearts of everyone who’ve read the Walker Family Series & her 3 Christmas novellas rolled into one - “Enchanted”. A sense of home and b

    You know there’s something missing in your life when you’re not reading a Melissa Tagg story. Somehow she pulls it all together, every element - and the book is complete.

    Last year while passing through Iowa, we drove through a small town and immediately my mind said “Maple Valley, this is it”. Yes it may be a fictional place - but it’s nestled deep into the hearts of everyone who’ve read the Walker Family Series & her 3 Christmas novellas rolled into one - “Enchanted”. A sense of home and belonging awaits everyone who comes here, and the same is true for Mara. She’s lived a life of loneliness, heartbreak and sometimes fear. She arrived at the Everwood B&B, unsure of her purpose in life - but what she finds will fill her with hope and peace.

    Marshall Hawkins has suffered the biggest loss of his life. There is no going forward, or backward. Trapped in the torment of his present he is forced to take a leave of absence from his job as a Detective for the Milwaukee PD. Unsure of what to do or where to go he starts driving and somehow finds himself outside the Everwood.

    This book is a beautiful, tender and full of hope. The inspirational insights lift and edify the soul. The mystery surrounding Lenora was a perfect addition, adding another layer of depth to an already incredible plot.

    Thank you so much for a wonderful uplifting read, and a return to Maple Valley that we’ve all been longing for.

    I received a complimentary copy. This is my honest review.

  • Brittany

    What an emotionally gripping tale this was! Mara and Marshall were compelling characters and I loved the connection that grew between them as they tackled the renovation of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast.

    These two characters had riveting backstories. Mara battled feelings of abandonment and inadequacy, while Marshall struggled with what felt like never ending grief and pain from the loss of his little girl. I loved the glimpses of Marshall, the fun loving and caring man, that began to emerge dur

    What an emotionally gripping tale this was! Mara and Marshall were compelling characters and I loved the connection that grew between them as they tackled the renovation of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast.

    These two characters had riveting backstories. Mara battled feelings of abandonment and inadequacy, while Marshall struggled with what felt like never ending grief and pain from the loss of his little girl. I loved the glimpses of Marshall, the fun loving and caring man, that began to emerge during his stay in Maple Valley.

    The romance was beautiful and heart tugging. It was clear that Mara and Marshall should be together. Their hearts knew it, yet Marshall especially had a lot to overcome. There was also an intriguing mystery that wove its way through the pages.

    This was a beautiful story and I look forward to reading more books in this series.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

    You can read this review on my blog:

  • Melanie

    Now and Then and Always is the first book in Tagg's Maple Valley series and I loved it! The story captured my attention, I didn't want to stop reading, and I cared so much about the characters' journey.

    I loved how the characters weren't perfect and had to overcome some challenges in the story. It was also awesome how the story kept me guessing regarding certain things and the ending was fantastic.

    All in all, Now and Then and Always was amazing and I recommend it to fans of contemporary romance.

    Now and Then and Always is the first book in Tagg's Maple Valley series and I loved it! The story captured my attention, I didn't want to stop reading, and I cared so much about the characters' journey.

    I loved how the characters weren't perfect and had to overcome some challenges in the story. It was also awesome how the story kept me guessing regarding certain things and the ending was fantastic.

    All in all, Now and Then and Always was amazing and I recommend it to fans of contemporary romance. I need to read the next book as soon as it releases! :D

    *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

  • Rebecca

    " . . when I was in my deepest pain, God came for me. He didn't leave me in an injured pile on the sidewalk nor did he stand around waiting for me to get up . . . . . He came running for me."

    When Mara Bristol's journey to nowhere landed her on the steps of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast, she slowly and cautiously began to believe that her heart had found a place to call home. Now she's not so sure, the owner has disappeared and the repairs on the once fine estate are beginning to take their toll

    " . . when I was in my deepest pain, God came for me. He didn't leave me in an injured pile on the sidewalk nor did he stand around waiting for me to get up . . . . . He came running for me."

    When Mara Bristol's journey to nowhere landed her on the steps of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast, she slowly and cautiously began to believe that her heart had found a place to call home. Now she's not so sure, the owner has disappeared and the repairs on the once fine estate are beginning to take their toll. Upon learning of the property's fragile financial standing, Mara begins to panic. . . . until one stormy night, an unlikely hero in the form of Marshall Hawkins, literally crashes through the inn's front door.

    Detective Marshall Hawkins has been placed on a three month leave of absence from his job; his erratic behavior and mounting professional errors left his superior with no other choice. Still reeling from family tragedy, Marshall packs his bags and begins to drive; never expecting to find a place or a person who longs to become his "now and then and always".

    Melissa Tagg's writing style is so enjoyable to read; full of subtle and not-so-subtle humor, strategic words of wisdom, magnetic attractions and in this case, an intriguing family mystery. But perhaps it's her strong themes of restoration that her readers value the most, for in this story it's God who finds a way to whisper, "there's life beyond the brokenness".

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