Courting Mr. Emerson

  • Author Melody Carlson
  • Release Date March 5, 2019
  • Publisher Revell
  • ISBN/ASIN 9780800735272
  • Our Rating
  • Reviewed by Dorine

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Our Review

COURTING MR. EMERSON by Melody Carlson is a sweet, faith-based novel that portrays forgiveness and self-improvement for a seasoned man much in need of a life alteration.

Mr. George Emerson is a cranky, stodgy, self-professed bachelor and atheist who can’t fathom his life after retirement. His life has always been so well-ordered, how will he adjust to the chaos coming his way?

Willow West is a free-spirit hippie who has claimed Jesus as her savior. She’s not typical in any way, so why should her faith be any different? Luckily, the town she settles in with her grandson has a free-thinking church perfectly suited for Willow.

Can these two opposites form a friendship that will bind them forever?

Mr. Emerson is a pistol and hard to like during parts of this novel. At first, he seems very old-fashioned and set in his ways. Almost like he’s older than he is and he’s stuck in a time-warp.

Willow sees something more in George and they form a friendship. Can this artist and gallery owner revive a sad English teacher who has lost more than his entire family?

I didn’t always like George. He went through a transformation that wasn’t always pretty. I could relate to Willow more as an artist, but she is pushy and insensitive at times. What they find together is the beginning of something good for both their growth.

There are a lot of characters in this small town that feels very much like Mayberry R.F.D. They each have a purpose in moving this story forward. George isn’t the only one who needs to learn a few things, especially forgiveness. Willow’s life isn’t a picnic, either, but she tackles her problems with faith that it will all work out. Something she can teach George, if she doesn’t drive him crazy first!

Melody Carlson writes an endearing, sweet Christian story that is relatable in many ways. Don’t we all have that one dark friend or relative who we’d love to bring over to the light? This is that story.

I read the first half of this book really fast, as it has all the themes I love. I enjoyed Willow’s interest in art and how she instilled that love in others. There were several house renovation projects that were also intriguing. I likewise love an opposites-attract romance that focuses on friendship, which very much resembles my husband and I through our years as a couple.

The second half of the book slowed. I think that’s because George becomes such a temperamental sad-sack that I lost patience with him. Thankfully, he finally gets it together, but it was almost too late in the novel for my preferences.

That made the end feel rushed, even though it was very satisfying. Maybe an epilogue would have left me with that huggable warmth I crave from inspirational small-town romances. Even with that small disappointment, I will definitely try more books by new-to-me author Melody Carlson.

Matter of fact, I hadn’t connected the novella I read last month, A CHRISTMAS BY THE SEA, to this author until now. I’m looking forward to THE HAPPY CAMPER coming out in March of 2020 – vintage camper renovation and an Oregon farm definitely snags my interest!

COURTING MR. EMERSON is perfect for those who love a romance with seasoned characters. It has a 1950s feel and is very sweet. Faith as the conflict and resolution is well done. If you’re looking for something very different from the norm in romance reading, Melody Carlson satisfies that craving.

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