Book Review: The Valentine Proposal by Beth Pugh

Posted January 31, 2022 by meezcarrie in Beth Pugh, Christian, contemporary, romance / 9 Comments

Pine Valley Holiday #1

GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Candlelight Fiction
RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2022
PAGES: 268

Award-winning photographer Mason Montgomery is back in Pine Valley, Kentucky. Hopefully, for good, if his business proposal is accepted. On paper, he’s the perfect buyer for Forget-Me-Not Photography. Too bad the seller, Ol’ Man Rowe, doesn’t see it that way. He’s looking for a family man to take over, and Mason’s bachelor status doesn’t fit the bill.

For shy Lily Anne Dawson, life has not turned out the way she’d hoped. Working at her mother’s bakery and editing for the local newspaper is a far cry from her journalistic dream. She’s a failure. A lonely failure worrying about infertility with no romantic prospects in sight.

That all changes when a decade-old promise to marry on Valentine’s Day pushes the two together at their high school reunion. The impromptu proposal offers a solution to their problems. But marriage requires honesty—and both have secrets. Secrets that could make or break their budding love.


Though I no longer live in Kentucky, it’s always nice to go back to those beautiful rolling hills and down home hospitality on the pages of a book! Such is the case with Beth Pugh’s debut novel, The Valentine Proposal! Pine Valley is full of eccentric characters and good food, and it’s a quintessential small town – the good, the bad, and the too-much-in-your-business haha. The kind of town where high school reunions are almost sacrosanct. Each of these elements comes together to make what happens next make sense when it probably otherwise would require a hefty suspension of disbelief. The author uses the setting well to support her plot and her characters.

I also readily admit to being a sucker for engagement/marriage of convenience stories, and while The Valentine’s Proposal doesn’t purely follow that trope it’s close enough to have been decidedly on my radar. Mason and Lily Anne are sweet characters who were friends in high school. Take one small-town high school reunion, add a ‘silly’ pact these two characters made ten years ago plus one potentially life-altering event for each of them respectively, and you’ve got the perfect set-up for his spur of the moment proposal.

While this is a whirlwind relationship shift & sometimes feels like a really bad idea (lol), the author takes the necessary time in the story to grow her characters individually and together. I appreciated that they both had struggles they were dealing with, some seated deeply over the years, that needed to be addressed before their relationship could have the solid foundation it needed. Mason’s gentle mission to show Lily Anne that he can be trusted is touching and sweet – in fact, I could use those adjectives to describe the story as a whole. This pacing and tone to the story provide a pleasing juxtaposition to the impulsive engagement and fast-approaching wedding, balancing out the mood for readers and allowing us to relax into the events as they transpire.

Bottom Line: The Valentine’s Proposal is an endearing debut novel from Beth Pugh. Mason & Lily Anne’s shared past, mutual beliefs, and similar struggles make it easy at times to forget the whirlwind nature of their current relationship, a dichotomy that the author successfully uses to her advantage. While I thought some of the interactions/reactions/dialogue were a bit unnatural or needed deeper layers, I have a feeling that will improve with each new book the author writes and it likely won’t detract from your enjoyment. There are also several supporting characters who intrigued me, and I hope to see their stories soon! A great choice for fans of Candee Fick’s Wardrobe series and Ruth Logan Herne’s Wishing Bridge series.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / liked it!

KissingBook Level: 2+ / warm rosy glow of sweetness with some nice kisses

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Born and raised in the rolling hills of eastern Kentucky, Beth Pugh learned early on that nothing compares to a home cooked meal, front porch sitting, and Sunday morning church services. Through a random ICQ chat, she met her husband and they’ve been embracing those family traditions for years. Now, she hopes to share those same traditions with her son and her readers. She has seen God turn her greatest grief into indescribable joy and tells everyone she meets about the goodness of the Father—sometimes multiples times in one sitting if there’s coffee and donuts involved. She has been published by The Good Men Project, Scary Mommy, Sasee, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Lexington Herald-Leader, and On Parenting at The Washington Post. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her jamming out in the parent pick-up line, reading on the couch, or cheering for the Chicago Cubs just like her daddy taught her to do. Sometimes, her characters do those things, too.

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What about you? What makes you want to read The Valentine Proposal by Beth Pugh?

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9 responses to “Book Review: The Valentine Proposal by Beth Pugh

  1. Kendra Muonio

    The author sent me this book a few months ago and I have been to busy to get around to read it.I love the cover and it sounds like a great book

  2. Sounds like a fun book!!! Since I’m approaching a high school reunion (on the committee for such) sounds like a must read!!! Thanks for sharing the info! 🙂

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