Archie’s #BUNS are here at last!
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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.
Bailey Falls strikes again!
And, if readers weren’t already smitten by the setting and ambience of Upstate New York, in Alice Clayton’s newest release, Buns, she takes readers back to the Hudson Valley, reinforcing all the things that readers already love about the area and adding even more historical relevance to the town as she illustrates the role that the Bryant Mountain House has had in creating a natural and opulent experience just outside of Bailey Falls.
Because readers are seeing Bailey Falls through an outsider’s eyes, they get to reacquaint themselves with the Mayberryesque feel of the small town as well as gain new insight into a place that was once an important part of who Bailey Falls was – the Bryant Mountain House. And, as Clara Morgan works to rebrand the historical hotel, bringing it into the twenty-first century by blending the old with the new and putting a bit of a twist on traditions, readers also get to witness a whole other side of Bailey Falls – a side that adds a new layer to an already majestic town, allowing it to become an even more pivotal character in the breakthroughs Clayton’s newest hero and heroine experience in Buns.
One aspect of the Hudson Valley series that I absolutely adore is the type of people Clayton uses as her main characters. They are definitely not cookie cutter constructs because their unique personalities and quirky actions are not commonplace. In a way, the male and female leads in this series embody certain attributes that seem contrary to one another, but as their stories continue and the characters transform through a number of new experiences, those differences seem to be the very aspects that draw the hero and heroine together, providing each of them with a counterpart that complements them in every way and giving each couple a chance at a happy life as long as they don’t allow their respective pasts to complicate things or run away because the emotions they are feeling are ones they worked so hard to bury and lay dormant for fear of breaking even more than they already have.
Clara Morgan is one hell of a woman; she’s fought her entire life to get to where she is now, relying solely on herself and keeping herself as isolated as possible because, that way, she won’t have to risk being left behind or thrown away. Never in a million years would she have thought that a quaint town like Bailey Falls and a high strung, frustrating man like Archie Bryant would have her breaking all of her rules and risking her professional career, but she is, and she can’t help but feel drawn to her Hotel Boy and his intelligence and of course, his buns! Archie Bryant is as straight-laced and traditional as they come. Everything about this Bossy outsider infuriates him, especially her rudeness and the fact that her ideas actually make a whole lot of sense.
These two couldn’t be more different, but for some reason, their conflicting personalities draw them together instead of drive them apart. And, as the hotel undergoes its transformation, creating a symbiotic relationship with old school and modern décor, Clara and Archie find themselves transforming as well, experiencing new desires and reaching for something that they never thought they’d have and as long as their fears and the complications that arise don’t scare them away, perhaps they’ll find their own little piece of paradise in Bailey Falls, just like Clara’s best friends have.
I absolutely ADORED Buns; Clara and Archie were amazingly complex characters whose personalities continued to change throughout the course of the entire story. The atmosphere that Clayton created through the hotel’s elements as well as the town itself added such depth and feeling to an already lovely storyline.
Alice Clayton’s words and characters continue to dazzle me and transport me to places that I’ve never been, hoping against hope that someday I’ll get to experience the cities and states that Clayton so easily brings to life.
5 Poison Apples