Restoring Fairhaven… CelebrateLit tour review

About the Book

Book: Restoring Fairhaven

Author: Carolyn Miller

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Love hurts, or so the songs say, so who wants it?

Taking on her ailing father’s gardening business on Merriweather Island, Samantha Green only wants to escape her ex and to make her father proud.

But Sam gets more than she bargained for when Greener Gardens accepts the job of restoring the gardens of a reclusive writer, Max Fairhaven, whose historical novels about romance and unrequited love litter bookstore shelves and movie marquees all over the world.

Max much prefers the fictional world to the real, and the gardening girl’s interruptions means he’s driven from his writing cave far too often for his liking.

How’s he supposed to craft stories with her distracting him all the time?

Things change when he learns something of Sam’s family challenges, and his admiration slowly kindles. With his secretary’s goading, he’s forced to confront the past, while facing the fact that he needs to change in order to avoid a lonely future.

Gentle pruning and a whole lot of banter forges a friendship between this not-so-Southern belle landscaper and the half-British author. But is their budding attraction enough to grow into a flourishing happily-ever-after?

Restoring Fairhaven is the final “Merriweather book,” but don’t forget to embark on a tour of the next island in this series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

My Thoughts

Restoring Fairhaven is my first book by Carolyn Miller and the final book in the first set of Independence Islands books set on Merriweather Island. As with the other books, I appreciated the fact that it’s a beach read without being overly beachy. In fact, there’s a serious lack of the typical exotic beach location that you’d expect from a beach read. These books are about ordinary people living their everyday lives with the ocean for a backdrop.

If you’ve hesitated to pick them up because they’re beach reads (aka. fluff and nonsense) then you’re in for a pleasant surprise because they’re not that at all. Not that I don’t enjoy a bit of fluff and nonsense every once in a while, but if that’s not your cup of tea, then this book—these books—are perfect for you.

Restoring Fairhaven caught my interest from the very start, there were aspects of the story that kept me guessing until the very end, I enjoyed the characters—main and side—and will definitely be reading Ms. Miller’s next contribution to the series. 

Like I said, this was my first Carolyn Miller book, and knowing she’s a fellow Aussie I read it with that little tidbit in mind. The book is set in the US, and I only came across one tiny nuance of cultural difference that—I hesitate to guess—most people probably wouldn’t pick up. Apart from that one instance, the book sounded no different to the other books in the series that are written by Americans. Which was good and sad at the same time. I was hoping for more of an Aussie influence.

I requested a copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

(And for the curious: the Aussieness I spotted was the position of the word ‘yeah’ in a sentence. I’ve not met an American yet who puts yeah at the end of the sentence/phrase/thought, but that placement is common in Australia, and I’m trying to incorporate it into my current book which is set in Australia. There are exceptions to any rule, yeah. In my experience, though, it’s an Aussie thing. 😉)

About the Author

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena’s Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, Underestimating Miss Cecilia, and Misleading Miss Verity, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc Her contemporary novels include Restoring Fairhaven and Regaining Mercy, as part of the Independence Islands series.

More from Carolyn

I’m a long time lover of gardens, plants, flowers and trees! I’m married to a horticulturalist, who once upon a time worked at Lyme Park, the site of Mr. Darcy’s magnificent Pemberley from the 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, and who has also worked at Kew Gardens in England.

Some of my garden and plant highlights include visiting Blarney Castle’s Poison Garden in Ireland, New Zealand’s Hamilton Gardens, Dunrobin Castle in Scotland, Frederik Meijer Gardens in Michigan, the redwoods of Yosemite, California, Butchart Gardens in Victoria Island, Canada, and Jardin Botanique in Montreal, Canada.

I love to post pictures of flowers and trees on Instagram (  and have included pictures of some of these places at my website ( I have incorporated some of the gardens and plants in a number of my historical novels, including the gorgeous gardens at a castle in Scotland where I set Misleading Miss Verity.

I’m so excited to be introducing readers to my new contemporary books, where I can bring some of my love of gardens (& my hubby’s expertise!) to a new audience. Restoring Fairhaven sees readers introduced to a range of gardening experts who together will bring the gardens of the Independence Islands back to life.

If you’re someone who has enjoyed The Secret Garden, or Becky Wade’s My Stubborn Heart, you’ll be sure to enjoy this story of a reclusive writer and the gardening guru sent to restore his gardens – and his heart.

Happy reading!


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 16

lakesidelivingsite, January 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 17

April Hayman, Author, January 17

A Novel Pursuit, January 17

Texas Book-aholic, January 18

Rebekah Reads, January 18

Blogging With Carol, January 18

Inklings and notions, January 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 20

Mary Hake, January 20

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 21

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 21

CarpeDiem, January 21

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 22

Cultivating Us, January 22

Kathleen Neely, January 22

Livin’ Lit, January 23

Ashley’s Bookshelf, January 23

Simple Harvest Reads, January 23 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Older & Smarter?, January 24

Artistic Nobody, January 24 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For Him and My Family, January 25

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 25

Inkwell Inspirations, January 25

deb’s Book Review, January 26

Blossoms and Blessings, January 26

Joanne Markey, January 26

She Lives To Read, January 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 27

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, January 28

Splashes of Joy, January 28

Godly Book Reviews, January 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 29

Daysong Reflections, January 29


To celebrate her tour, Carolyn is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon prize and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. I’d like to enter to win.

    1. Author

      If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, there’s a link you can click on to enter. 😊

  2. Ha! Yes, it’s a bit of a British / Aussie thing to put a yeah at the end of a sentence, yeah? So glad you enjoyed this story – and don’t worry, the Aussie references will come in the later books, the last one featuring an Aussie male hero. Can’t wait for you to check them out!

    1. Author

      Can’t wait to read them! 😊

  3. Thank You for Sharing your Review With Us and For Being on the Restoring Fairhaven Book Tour, it really sounds like a Great Read.

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