Book Review: Now and Then and Always by Melissa Tagg

now and then and alwaysNow and Then and Always

Author: Melissa Tagg

Publisher: Larkspur Press

Published: May 28, 2019

“It was just a house. Just a weathered old house in a hidden grove, shuttered and still…”

Last year, after traumatic circumstances forced her from her job as a nanny, Mara Bristol finally found a place to belong—the winsome Everwood Bed & Breakfast at the edge of Maple Valley, Iowa. For months, she’s helped its owner, Lenora, maintain the ramshackle property despite their shortage of guests. But when Lenora fails to return from a month-long trip and the bank threatens foreclosure, Mara worries she’s once again alone . . . abandoned . . . about to lose the only true home she’s ever known.

Detective Marshall Hawkins is no closer to whole today than he was two years ago . . . the day his daughter died. Between his divorce, debilitating migraines, and a dependence on medication, his life is falling apart. And when a reckless decision on the job propels him into administrative leave, he has no other plan but to get in his truck and drive. A one-night stay at the Everwood was supposed to be just that. But there’s something about the old house—or maybe its intriguing caretaker—that pulls him in.

Together, Mara and Marshall set out to save the Everwood. But its secrets run deeper than they could’ve imagined. As they renovate the house and search for its missing owner, they’ll each confront the pain that brought them to the Everwood in the first place . . . and just maybe discover a faith and love to help them carry on.

Romance and mystery collide in this first installment in award-winning author Melissa Tagg’s new Maple Valley series.



In the first book of her new series, Tagg brings readers back to Maple Valley, a quirky small town filled with memorable characters, quaint scenery, and places we’d all like to visit. Joining that list of must-visit imaginary locales is a central star of Now and Then and Always–the Everwood B&B. This charming home away from home for many of the characters is a focal point for Marshall and Mara, the hero and heroine, respectively, of Tagg’s latest novel. With her trademark rom-com style infused in every scene, Tagg has also continued to explore adding depth to her stories with Now and Then and Always. Mindful of the sensitive subject matter but up front about the issues, Now and Then and Always stars characters who are challenged yet resilient, flawed yet humble, and wounded yet (eventually) open. Blending humor, romance, realistic challenges, and a little something extra into a story that could play off of a heightened HGTV reality show, Tagg has crafted a worthy entry into her Maple Valley cannon.

RATING4 stars


Melissa TaggMelissa Tagg is the award-winning author of the popular Walker Family series, the Where Love Begins series and the Enchanted Christmas Collection. She’s a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. Her recent releases include a Carol Award winner (One Enchanted Noel), an RT Book Reviews TOP PICK (All This Time) and a Publishers Weekly Spring Top Ten Pick (Like Never Before). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at and on Facebook and Instagram.

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