❝ I’m not my past, I’m my present. And my future is wide fucking open. I can make whatever kind of life I want for myself, and the life that I want for myself is with you, only with you.❞
*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Synopsis via Goodreads: 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.
Clara Morgan has made a career out of rebranding hotels that have lost their charm and now she has her eyes set on making partner at the firm she works for. She hopes that her latest project will help seal the deal and earn her the position she has worked so hard for. Bryant Mountain was once a fun and lively family resort located in Bailey Falls, but is now struggling to make a profit and Clara hopes to turn their situation around and get them back in the black. However, making changes become difficult when the son of the man who hired her shuts down all her ideas. But Clara refuses to give up. Her career is on the line and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make her partner…even if that means getting a little messy.
Buns is the third and final installment in Alice Clayton’s Hudson Valley series and while I was excited to dive into this one, I still had a few hesitations. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this book because we don’t know much about Clara beforehand. In the previous two installments, Clara was always traveling because of her job so we rarely saw her interacting with the other two couples and I was worried that I wouldn’t end up liking her character. I was right to have my hesitations, but not for the reasons I had initially thought. Clara actually ended up surprising me and I found her to be very relatable. Clara is hardworking, self-efficient and goal-oriented. She is damn good at her job and everyone knows it. But there is also another side to Clara, a vulnerable side. Because of her past, she has a hard time letting people in and she tends to keep people at arm’s length. She is very hard to love as a character and although I was frustrated me at times by some of the decisions she made and how she handled certain situations, she was just trying to keep her heart safe so I can’t fault her for that.
I absolutely loved getting to see the rest of the gang again. I was never really a fan of Roxie and Leo before this book, but they’ve kind of grown on me now and it was exciting to see how far they’ve come in their relationship. And of course I was all over my faves, Natalie and Oscar! I missed Natalie’s unfiltered personality so much and she’s definitely the glue that holds this trio together. She and Oscar a literally goals and I just want more of them! 😭😭
While I liked the characters, the romance was a letdown for me. I just wanted more moments where these two actually had a conversation without the constant back and forth. I wanted more swoon, more tenderness, more passion! While he too was stubborn, Archie Bryant had his sweet moments but those moments weren’t enough to win me over. I can’t say I really cared for Archie at all because he didn’t leave a memorable impression on me. *shrugs*
The Hudson Valley series has finally come to an end and although I didn’t end up loving Buns as much as I would’ve liked, it was still a satisfying ending to fun and comical series and I sure am going to miss spending time in Bailey Falls with these characters and their wild adventures.