Now and Then and Always (Maple Valley #1)
"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.

Now and Then and Always (Maple Valley #1) Details

TitleNow and Then and Always (Maple Valley #1)
Author
ReleaseMay 20th, 2019
PublisherLarkspur Press
ISBN-139780997964233
Rating
GenreChristian Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Now and Then and Always (Maple Valley #1) Review

  • Jen.
    January 1, 1970
    ..I love small, quirky towns. I love a good B&B setting in a small, quirky town. Toss in a renovation of the B&B in the small, quirky town?Yeah, I pretty much loved Now and Then and Always!!Set in lovable Maple Valley, Now and Then and Always is a fabulous blend of romance, mystery and faith. The characters are layered and relatable. The supporting cast was exceptionally strong, and the friendships made in this story were wonderful! Before reading Now and Then and Always, I’d only read n ..I love small, quirky towns. I love a good B&B setting in a small, quirky town. Toss in a renovation of the B&B in the small, quirky town?Yeah, I pretty much loved Now and Then and Always!!Set in lovable Maple Valley, Now and Then and Always is a fabulous blend of romance, mystery and faith. The characters are layered and relatable. The supporting cast was exceptionally strong, and the friendships made in this story were wonderful! Before reading Now and Then and Always, I’d only read novellas by Melissa Tagg (see those reviews here! and here! ) so I was excited to see how a full length novel would play out. Honestly, guys…this was perfect!This is a deep story and the lead characters, Marshall and Mara, have major hurts in their past. You feel those hurts right along with them. Yet, there is so much hope in their stories, you never feel down-and-out while reading this book. I found it to be rather uplifting! Melissa Tagg’s storytelling is a gift! I’m so glad this was the start of a new series! The promise of more stories set in Maple Valley is real and I can’t wait for more!Oh, and may I add that I’m sitting here eating a bowl of Lucky Charms while I type this review. Well, maybe they’re generic store brand “Magic Stars” but, hey – still counts. Why do I mention this beloved breakfast cereal? You’ll have to read the book to find out!Five Shining Stars! I oh-so-absolutely recommend this book! To purchase your copy of Now and Then and Always, visit www.Amazon.comjengalaxy4.wordpress.com/ I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not required. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
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  • Denise Hershberger
    January 1, 1970
    Tagg never disappoints! This book was a little deeper than some of her others have been, but I love authors that evolve in their writing. I also love authors who include realistic challenges for their characters. The trials that both Mara and Marshall face are ones that many endure or they know someone who does. This level of relatability to characters is a great strength for an author.The spiritual truths sprinkled throughout this book were of of my favorite parts. I highlighted those more than Tagg never disappoints! This book was a little deeper than some of her others have been, but I love authors that evolve in their writing. I also love authors who include realistic challenges for their characters. The trials that both Mara and Marshall face are ones that many endure or they know someone who does. This level of relatability to characters is a great strength for an author.The spiritual truths sprinkled throughout this book were of of my favorite parts. I highlighted those more than anything else. It was never preachy, but always honest. I appreciated watching multiple characters struggle with the "Why, God?" questions in this book. While it would be nice for those to always be easy answers, I am glad that Tagg didn't write it that way. But don't worry, true to Tagg's style there were still plenty of fun moments in this book too. And lots of kissing. I was pleasantly surprised by another aspect of this book, but you'll have to read it to find out!I also loved revisiting Maple Valley and some old friends! I received an advanced copy of this book from the author. This is my honest review. I had already pre-ordered the book before I received this advanced copy.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    Now and Then and Always is the first book in Tagg's Maple Valley series and I loved it! The story captured my attention, I didn't want to stop reading, and I cared so much about the characters' journey. I loved how the characters weren't perfect and had to overcome some challenges in the story. It was also awesome how the story kept me guessing regarding certain things and the ending was fantastic.All in all, Now and Then and Always was amazing and I recommend it to fans of contemporary romance. Now and Then and Always is the first book in Tagg's Maple Valley series and I loved it! The story captured my attention, I didn't want to stop reading, and I cared so much about the characters' journey. I loved how the characters weren't perfect and had to overcome some challenges in the story. It was also awesome how the story kept me guessing regarding certain things and the ending was fantastic.All in all, Now and Then and Always was amazing and I recommend it to fans of contemporary romance. I need to read the next book as soon as it releases! :D*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
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  • Toni Shiloh
    January 1, 1970
    A return to Maple Valley always makes me happy. There’s just something about the people and the atmosphere that makes me happy to open the pages of a Tagg book and settle down for a good read. And Now and Then and Always was no exception. One of my favorite Melissa Tagg books, hands down. There is such depth to this book! Sure there are the signature laughs hat Ms. Tagg always brings forth. I mean I’m all for the humor around sugary cereal (read the book, you’ll get it). But there was just an un A return to Maple Valley always makes me happy. There’s just something about the people and the atmosphere that makes me happy to open the pages of a Tagg book and settle down for a good read. And Now and Then and Always was no exception. One of my favorite Melissa Tagg books, hands down. There is such depth to this book! Sure there are the signature laughs hat Ms. Tagg always brings forth. I mean I’m all for the humor around sugary cereal (read the book, you’ll get it). But there was just an underlying tone of heartache and the need for healing that immediately pulled me into the story.I do love a tragic hero after all. And “Marshall Hawkins, 35, Milwaukee” may be one of my favorite tragic heroes of all. Not because of the heartache that shadows his eyes, but the way he wakes up each day, putting one foot in front of the other with no notion of how powerful those simple things truly are. He has so much hurt bottled in him and watching him fight for healing was one that kept me turning the pages. I would totally be Mara’s friend and bond over cereal, a fabulous den, and a B&B that welcomes all in need of a family. Not to mention cameo appearances from Walkers and others who make Maple Valley home. Make sure you pick this one up and settle in for a read guaranteed to touch your heart.*Full review at: https://tonishiloh.com/2019/05/27/rev...**I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. This review was not required nor influenced.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Melissa Tagg gets better with every book. I’m always expecting a good read when I pick up one of her books, but each time I fall in love with the story. Now and Then and Always is a book full of charm, heart, and real life.Maple Valley is one of my favorite settings – it’s such a quirky place, but still feels like it could be entirely real. I enjoyed that the view of Maple Valley in this story was a bit of an outsider’s perspective. Mara is not originally from there, and she is more about hiding Melissa Tagg gets better with every book. I’m always expecting a good read when I pick up one of her books, but each time I fall in love with the story. Now and Then and Always is a book full of charm, heart, and real life.Maple Valley is one of my favorite settings – it’s such a quirky place, but still feels like it could be entirely real. I enjoyed that the view of Maple Valley in this story was a bit of an outsider’s perspective. Mara is not originally from there, and she is more about hiding herself away rather than ingraining herself within the town. Also, a rundown bed and breakfast – full of mystery and history – how delightful!Mara’s past is a sad one indeed, but Marshall, oh how his backstory broke my heart. I’m not sure how she does it, but Tagg manages to take a heavy topic and pull hope from it, all the while respectfully handling the emotions and grief that come along with it.In the romance genre, I tend to feel that relationships move too fast, but I never feel that way with Tagg’s stories. Even if a friendship develops quickly, the next steps are not taken lightly and never to the detriment of the plot or character development. It just feels more true-to-life and makes the payoff so much better at the end.As ever, the secondary characters are endearing, and I just know they have stories of their own. I adore how the readers gets bit and pieces of their stories – it always makes me wonder if one of them will be getting their own book next.I loved this poignant story of healing, and I am so glad that Tagg isn’t leaving Maple Valley just yet. I am absolutely looking forward to the next book in the series. This book is a favorite of 2019 for sure.I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and was not required to post a positive review. This review is my honest opinion.
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  • Sarah Grace Grzy
    January 1, 1970
    I am ridiculously happy right now. Y'all. More Maple Valley? You know I'm down for that. Before I even started this, I knew I would love it. And I was not wrong. I have not had anywhere near as much time as I'd like to read lately, but I finished this within less than 48 hours, and I have no regrets.Tagg's characters are always so unique, with compelling backstories, fun quirks, epic banter, and more, and Mara and Marshall were no different! From the prologue, I fell in love with Marshall. He ma I am ridiculously happy right now. Y'all. More Maple Valley? You know I'm down for that. Before I even started this, I knew I would love it. And I was not wrong. I have not had anywhere near as much time as I'd like to read lately, but I finished this within less than 48 hours, and I have no regrets.Tagg's characters are always so unique, with compelling backstories, fun quirks, epic banter, and more, and Mara and Marshall were no different! From the prologue, I fell in love with Marshall. He may have made me cry a couple--okay, several--times. Can I just give the poor guy a hug, please? And Mara . . . wow, I can relate to her a lot! Both these characters are just so fabulous, and I completely love them. The storyline moves along at a pretty good pace, although not too quickly. There was never a time I was bored or uninterested. Tagg deals with topics like abandonment, grief, and others in an incredibly realistic and moving way, and, as I mentioned, I was brought to tears more than once. The author always weaves in a storyline of mystery that was incredibly intriguing, and I don't think she has done that before. But I definitely hope she does it again! Just a couple of quick notes: (view spoiler)[There are a couple of things I disliked about this book, but overall I loved the rest of it for it not to affect my 5-star rating. The first would be the kissing. Um. *coughs* It was a little passionate at times, and to be honest, I wish there had been less of it. But that's just my personal preference when it comes to romance. The other little scruple I had was with how Marshall didn't deal with any withdrawal after cutting cold turkey on his meds after 2+ years of constant use. It was kind of explained towards the end of the book, but I still feel like that may not have been the most realistic scenario, although it could have been. I guess I personally would have liked to see that play more into the storyline, but again, that's just me. (hide spoiler)]All in all, I am in love with this book and these characters. I cannot wait for book 2! I am hoping for a Jen + Lucas story (have been since Keep Holding On!) or a book about Sam . . . or both. If you are a lover of romance with deep themes and epic banter, plus a bit of mystery, I highly suggest you check out Now and Then and Always!
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    What an emotionally gripping tale this was! Mara and Marshall were compelling characters and I loved the connection that grew between them as they tackled the renovation of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast.These two characters had riveting backstories. Mara battled feelings of abandonment and inadequacy, while Marshall struggled with what felt like never ending grief and pain from the loss of his little girl. I loved the glimpses of Marshall, the fun loving and caring man, that began to emerge dur What an emotionally gripping tale this was! Mara and Marshall were compelling characters and I loved the connection that grew between them as they tackled the renovation of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast.These two characters had riveting backstories. Mara battled feelings of abandonment and inadequacy, while Marshall struggled with what felt like never ending grief and pain from the loss of his little girl. I loved the glimpses of Marshall, the fun loving and caring man, that began to emerge during his stay in Maple Valley.The romance was beautiful and heart tugging. It was clear that Mara and Marshall should be together. Their hearts knew it, yet Marshall especially had a lot to overcome. There was also an intriguing mystery that wove its way through the pages.This was a beautiful story and I look forward to reading more books in this series.I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.You can read this review on my blog:https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...
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  • Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
    January 1, 1970
    I've been so anxious to read this book! Melissa Tagg is one of those consistently good authors that keep me coming back for more. And this cover! It is an awesome representation of significant part of this story. I love the colors too.This story is about two people, both broken from tragic and traumatic things in their lives, but still fighting to move forward. Mara and Marshall are both characters that you root for, even in their darkest moments. I was invested in their stories and in their ult I've been so anxious to read this book! Melissa Tagg is one of those consistently good authors that keep me coming back for more. And this cover! It is an awesome representation of significant part of this story. I love the colors too.This story is about two people, both broken from tragic and traumatic things in their lives, but still fighting to move forward. Mara and Marshall are both characters that you root for, even in their darkest moments. I was invested in their stories and in their ultimate peace and happiness. As a reader, that is what I long for. That emotional connection to the characters.I loved the added bits of mystery/intrigue and the tiny bits of suspense. It gave the story some added elemental life to balance out the emotional build up. Everything unfolded brilliantly and kept me turning those pages because I just couldn't stop. It was so good!The secondary characters have me so interested! I can't wait to see what is coming next!Content: mild peril, kissing, Christian elements (praying, forgiving, finding your way back to God)- I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    " . . when I was in my deepest pain, God came for me. He didn't leave me in an injured pile on the sidewalk nor did he stand around waiting for me to get up . . . . . He came running for me."When Mara Bristol's journey to nowhere landed her on the steps of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast, she slowly and cautiously began to believe that her heart had found a place to call home. Now she's not so sure, the owner has disappeared and the repairs on the once fine estate are beginning to take their toll " . . when I was in my deepest pain, God came for me. He didn't leave me in an injured pile on the sidewalk nor did he stand around waiting for me to get up . . . . . He came running for me."When Mara Bristol's journey to nowhere landed her on the steps of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast, she slowly and cautiously began to believe that her heart had found a place to call home. Now she's not so sure, the owner has disappeared and the repairs on the once fine estate are beginning to take their toll. Upon learning of the property's fragile financial standing, Mara begins to panic. . . . until one stormy night, an unlikely hero in the form of Marshall Hawkins, literally crashes through the inn's front door.Detective Marshall Hawkins has been placed on a three month leave of absence from his job; his erratic behavior and mounting professional errors left his superior with no other choice. Still reeling from family tragedy, Marshall packs his bags and begins to drive; never expecting to find a place or a person who longs to become his "now and then and always". Melissa Tagg's writing style is so enjoyable to read; full of subtle and not-so-subtle humor, strategic words of wisdom, magnetic attractions and in this case, an intriguing family mystery. But perhaps it's her strong themes of restoration that her readers value the most, for in this story it's God who finds a way to whisper, "there's life beyond the brokenness".
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    You know there’s something missing in your life when you’re not reading a Melissa Tagg story. Somehow she pulls it all together, every element - and the book is complete. Last year while passing through Iowa, we drove through a small town and immediately my mind said “Maple Valley, this is it”. Yes it may be a fictional place - but it’s nestled deep into the hearts of everyone who’ve read the Walker Family Series & her 3 Christmas novellas rolled into one - “Enchanted”. A sense of home and b You know there’s something missing in your life when you’re not reading a Melissa Tagg story. Somehow she pulls it all together, every element - and the book is complete. Last year while passing through Iowa, we drove through a small town and immediately my mind said “Maple Valley, this is it”. Yes it may be a fictional place - but it’s nestled deep into the hearts of everyone who’ve read the Walker Family Series & her 3 Christmas novellas rolled into one - “Enchanted”. A sense of home and belonging awaits everyone who comes here, and the same is true for Mara. She’s lived a life of loneliness, heartbreak and sometimes fear. She arrived at the Everwood B&B, unsure of her purpose in life - but what she finds will fill her with hope and peace. Marshall Hawkins has suffered the biggest loss of his life. There is no going forward, or backward. Trapped in the torment of his present he is forced to take a leave of absence from his job as a Detective for the Milwaukee PD. Unsure of what to do or where to go he starts driving and somehow finds himself outside the Everwood. This book is a beautiful, tender and full of hope. The inspirational insights lift and edify the soul. The mystery surrounding Lenora was a perfect addition, adding another layer of depth to an already incredible plot. Thank you so much for a wonderful uplifting read, and a return to Maple Valley that we’ve all been longing for. I received a complimentary copy. This is my honest review.
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  • Kailey
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a deep and beautiful story! It’s a wonderful story full of healing, forgiveness, and grace. I loved it! It made me laugh and get teary-eyed. I enjoyed it so much! This book makes me want to read all of Melissa Tagg’s other books! Oh, how I wish Maple Valley was a real place so I could go visit! I highly recommend this book!I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author, but was not required to write a review. The thoughts and comments are my own.
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  • Susan Snodgrass
    January 1, 1970
    'It was a whisper. A prodding. A conviction. In another life, in hi sold one where he was a man of deep faith, he might've believed that was a divine murmur. God's voice. Saying his name. Letting him know someone saw and heard and cared.'Melissa Tagg takes us back to Maple Valley in this first novel in a new series. How I love that town! There are but a few fictional places I would like to visit or even live, and Maple Valley is one. Mara Bristol has ran from a devastating experience and was tak 'It was a whisper. A prodding. A conviction. In another life, in hi sold one where he was a man of deep faith, he might've believed that was a divine murmur. God's voice. Saying his name. Letting him know someone saw and heard and cared.'Melissa Tagg takes us back to Maple Valley in this first novel in a new series. How I love that town! There are but a few fictional places I would like to visit or even live, and Maple Valley is one. Mara Bristol has ran from a devastating experience and was taken in by Lenora, who bought the old Everwood Bed and Breakfast, with the intent of fixing it up completely. But now, Lenora has left and five weeks have passed with no sign of her. Mara is still taking care of the B&B when one night a stranger passes out on her porch in the midst of a terrific storm. Detective Marshall Hawkins has been given three months' of administrative leave because of his erratic job performance. Marshall has lost his 6 year old daughter to leukemia and cannot seem to get past his grief, not even two years later. It rules his life. So he gets in his truck and drives and ends up at the Everwood, head throbbing with a migraine and a storm brewing. For some reason, he feels he should stay and help Mara fix up the place and turn it into a thriving bed and breakfast.As these two begin to work together, both experience something wonderful as their burdens seem to be shifting . Marshall is broken, oh so broken, and Mara, too, is broken and we are allowed the blessing of seeing them both journey into healing. There is even a mystery, at which Tagg proves herself a dab hand in creating. Every time I read a Melissa Tagg book, I completely bury myself in it and hate to come up for necessary tasks. She causes her readers to simply fall in love with all her wonderful characters in this precious town. I want to go to Maple Valley so badly! She does add her trademark thread of humor throughout also, along with a powerful spiritual theme. I smiled, I laughed, I shed tears as Tagg once again proved her writing is classic inspirational romance, fit for the keeper shelf and destined to be read again and again. Well done!*My thanks to the publisher and author for a preview copy of this book. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. I was not encouraged nor expected to leave a positive review.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Now and Then and Always ( Maple Valley #1 )By: Melissa TaggNow and Then and Always is book one in a brand new series by Melissa Tagg. Ms. Tagg carries us back to Maple Valley where there are memories. I was hooked right at the start and could not put it down. The story is well written and the characters are realistic and well developed. This is Mara and Marshall story. Both are dealing with some hurt in their past. Mara is a former Nanny who was forced from her job and is now trying to take care Now and Then and Always ( Maple Valley #1 )By: Melissa TaggNow and Then and Always is book one in a brand new series by Melissa Tagg. Ms. Tagg carries us back to Maple Valley where there are memories. I was hooked right at the start and could not put it down. The story is well written and the characters are realistic and well developed. This is Mara and Marshall story. Both are dealing with some hurt in their past. Mara is a former Nanny who was forced from her job and is now trying to take care of a run down Bed & Breakfast. Marshall is a Detective who is on leave and trying to get his life back on track after the loss of his daughter. There were times I was laughing and other times I was crying , and I mean crying with tears flowing down my face. I love these two character and Marshall was my hero. There is abandonment , grief, hurt, healing ,forgiveness, and romance in this wonderful story. I also loved the spiritual parts running through the story. I was given a complimentary copy of this book , but was not told that I had to give a positive story. All opinions are my own.
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  • Audrey Bodine
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 out of 5 stars.Now and Then and Always is the first full-length novel I have read from Melissa Tagg and it easily found a space on my favorites list.If you have never ventured to Maple Valley, this book will welcome you in with a warmth and spirit that will make you wish you could walk the town’s streets and look up at the shining brass lampposts.The setting is made all the more endearing by its residents. While Maple Valley and the Everwood wrap around Mara and Marshall’s story like a cozy 4.5 out of 5 stars.Now and Then and Always is the first full-length novel I have read from Melissa Tagg and it easily found a space on my favorites list.If you have never ventured to Maple Valley, this book will welcome you in with a warmth and spirit that will make you wish you could walk the town’s streets and look up at the shining brass lampposts.The setting is made all the more endearing by its residents. While Maple Valley and the Everwood wrap around Mara and Marshall’s story like a cozy blanket, it is the supporting characters who build the reader a fire and brew them a proper cup of tea. Or maybe pour them a bowl of cereal.(Once you read the book, hopefully that joke will make sense.)For some reason, I imagined Mara Bristol as a brunette before I read the book. She’s actually a redhead. It took me a while to adjust that knowledge to my reader’s image of her, but that didn’t stop Tagg from sharpening my understanding of who Mara was as a character. And what a character. She’s part turtle-coming-out-of-her-shell and part mama lion attempting to protect what she cares about, even with a deep thorn burrowed under her paw.Then there’s Marshall Hawkins. It’s daunting to approach topics you’ve never written about, let alone heartbreaking and life-shattering histories such as his. And I’m so very glad Tagg didn’t let that stop her.Marshall is a hero you root for, cry with, and whose jokes make you laugh. On paper, a generic hero. Unless it’s a paperback copy of Now and Then and Always, which is essentially three-hundred-fifty pages of how no character in this book is generic.As a couple, Mara and Marshall are one of my favorites in fiction. I would say more but I don’t want to spoil anything. Basically, their unexpected friendship lays the foundation for a great romance and I was rooting for them by the time they were officially introduced.This was Tagg’s first venture of weaving mystery into a novel, but I doubt I would have guessed that if I hadn’t known.While I didn’t think every aspect of the mystery was five-star, the clearly thought-out plot points of the mystery and overall quality outweighed my personal preference. At one point I was texting a friend—who had already read the book—capitalized gibberish and markers of where I was in the story because I simply needed someone who understood what I was going through. This book sent me on an emotional rollercoaster. (Which I loved.)If you’re looking for Tagg’s trademark humor and sweet romance, immersive descriptions with delightful characters, and a faith that binds it all together, you will find it in this book. But you will also discover a story that grapples with some of the hardest situations and emotions we can face, and leaves you with an uncontrived feeling of hope. Despite the difficult topics, this book was uplifting for me. It’s a testament to the talent of the author and the very real saving grace of God, which is reflected in Now and Then and Always.I would recommend this book, absolutely. If you find this book isn’t for you, maybe because of the heavy themes or something else, I would still encourage you to try other works by this author.*While I did receive a free review copy of this book from the author, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Sooooo GOOD!!I really loved the Walker Family series and now I can tell I am going to adore the Maple Valley series especially since I get to see the Walkers in them too :) This book just captured my attention and was so hard to put down when I absolutely had to do mom and wife stuff! I really loved Marshall (hero). He had been through so much emotional pain and seeing him evolve and get closer to God and grow to love sweet Mara (heroine). Mara and Marshall were an unlikely couple, but in the en Sooooo GOOD!!I really loved the Walker Family series and now I can tell I am going to adore the Maple Valley series especially since I get to see the Walkers in them too :) This book just captured my attention and was so hard to put down when I absolutely had to do mom and wife stuff! I really loved Marshall (hero). He had been through so much emotional pain and seeing him evolve and get closer to God and grow to love sweet Mara (heroine). Mara and Marshall were an unlikely couple, but in the end they were perfect for each other. There is romance, mystery, heart ache and great friendships in this book. A beautiful story I will long remember! Highly recommend!!
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Ah, Marshall and Mara! It's been a while since Melissa Tagg's last release, but Now and Then and Always was definitely worth the wait!At the beginning of the book, both Marshall and Mara are at varying stages of brokenness (though aren't we all?), and their time at the Everwood leads to healing and restoration. I enjoyed their romance (the "meet cute" was especially fun), but, more than that, I loved their friend group. Mara lived at the Everwood for months before getting to know anyone from Map Ah, Marshall and Mara! It's been a while since Melissa Tagg's last release, but Now and Then and Always was definitely worth the wait!At the beginning of the book, both Marshall and Mara are at varying stages of brokenness (though aren't we all?), and their time at the Everwood leads to healing and restoration. I enjoyed their romance (the "meet cute" was especially fun), but, more than that, I loved their friend group. Mara lived at the Everwood for months before getting to know anyone from Maple Valley—but after the B & B's owner Lenora disappears, she has to venture into town to see what she can do to save the Everwood ... and that's when she gets to know Jenessa, Lucas, and Sam. Eventually, Marshall gets swept into their group, too, and I just loved these friends who became family.There's also a mystery in the pages of this story: what happened to Lenora, and why did her parents flee the Everwood when she was a child? I figured out none of the answers, but I sure had fun guessing (and I'm glad things weren't quite as sinister as I'd feared).I loved reading Marshall & Mara's story ... now I hope that Jenessa & Lucas's story comes next!Disclosure of material connection: I received a free copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    If you have read any of Melissa Tagg’s book series, you are already familiar with Maple Valley. If you haven’t, prepare to fall in love with this quiet, quirky town and its welcoming community. Though Now and Then and Always doesn’t give you quite as much “town time” as her other books, you’re going to love this book so much that you’ll immediately want to read everything she’s written. I have read them all, and if it’s possible to pick a favorite, this one may be it.I love that Now and Then and If you have read any of Melissa Tagg’s book series, you are already familiar with Maple Valley. If you haven’t, prepare to fall in love with this quiet, quirky town and its welcoming community. Though Now and Then and Always doesn’t give you quite as much “town time” as her other books, you’re going to love this book so much that you’ll immediately want to read everything she’s written. I have read them all, and if it’s possible to pick a favorite, this one may be it.I love that Now and Then and Always has a bit of mystery to it…like a cozy Nancy Drew but with romance and heartbreak and…okay, not much like a Nancy Drew book. When you read it, you’ll see exactly what I mean! So, the mystery sets Now and Then and Always apart from Melissa Tagg’s other series which are mainly inspirational romance with lots of humor and heart.Now and Then and Always instantly draws you in to the story. You know straight off that these characters are going to become part of your world for the next several hours, days, weeks, months. And when you reach the end, you’ll miss them. You’ll want the next book like now! That’s how I felt and still feel. Sometimes, no matter how many books you read, there are always characters who just stick with you. I think you’ll find that Marshall Hawkins is one of those characters.As a mother, the worst thing that could happen to me would be losing one of my kids. I lost my husband 5 1/2 years ago, and as hard as that was, time helps ease the pain. I can’t imagine ever not feeling pain if I experienced loss like Marshall’s. I’m sure I’d turn to mind numbing pain killers/sleep aids…whatever would block out the pain.But then there’s Penny, Marshall’s ex-wife. Her character, flawed yet forgiven, is a blaring reminder of God’s love that gets us through the storm. Though this is a work of fiction, I know parents who have lost children, yet their steadfast faith in God gets them through. But God’s not pushy. He’s not going to force you to cling to him when the winds of your storm are so strong that you just want to let go. He will wait for you to come to Him.I could go on and on, but you just need to read Now and Then and Always by Melissa Tagg. You’ll enjoy the book thoroughly just for the story alone. But the deeper message is in there. Read it. Find your own favorite characters. And savor the nuggets of wisdom.This review first appeared on my blog Christy's Cozy Corners.
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  • Abbi
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book for pretty much forever. I’ve built it up so high in my mind that you’d think the real thing wouldn’t even have a prayer of meeting my expectations. But guys, it not only met them, it exceeded them! Such an absolutely and wonderfully amazing book that I couldn’t love more if I tried!Marshall is so broken as the story starts and my heart broke for him and I fell in love with him all at the same time. The loss he’d faced was unimaginable and I can’t even I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book for pretty much forever. I’ve built it up so high in my mind that you’d think the real thing wouldn’t even have a prayer of meeting my expectations. But guys, it not only met them, it exceeded them! Such an absolutely and wonderfully amazing book that I couldn’t love more if I tried!Marshall is so broken as the story starts and my heart broke for him and I fell in love with him all at the same time. The loss he’d faced was unimaginable and I can’t even fathom thar kind of pain. Two years later and he was a shell of the man he once was. But even through his hurt he was still kind and he cared about people. I loved watching as his time in Maple Valley started to slowly heal him and lead him back to the ultimate Healer.Mara hadn’t had an easy life either. Her father left when she was young, her mom basically checked out from then till her death, she had to deal with a stalker, and through it all was alone with no one to lean on and no place that felt like home. Until she stumbled onto the Everwood, Lenora, and a place to belong.Marshall and Mara were wonderful together, a perfect team from the start. Their meet-cute was hilarious and I loved watching their relationship grow as the book went on. They both had a lot of healing to do and God used a quiet little bed & breakfast, each other, and the right words at the right times to draw them closer to him and to help them heal.I honestly loved every second of this book from the lighthearted moments to the deep ones everything was beautifully crafted to create an amazing story! Maple Valley is my fictional home and I loved getting to come back again. I cannot wait for the next time!I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Rebekah Millet
    January 1, 1970
    THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING! I’m usually not at a loss for words when writing a review, but my-oh-my. I don’t even know where to start. Melissa Tagg has floored me with ALL THE FEELS in this novel. Laughter, wounded characters, romance, faith, suspense. And it’s all wrapped up in a return to our beloved Maple Valley. And for those of you who haven’t read the previous Walker Family series based in Maple Valley, no fears. You can dive right in to this first book in this new series without worry of bei THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING! I’m usually not at a loss for words when writing a review, but my-oh-my. I don’t even know where to start. Melissa Tagg has floored me with ALL THE FEELS in this novel. Laughter, wounded characters, romance, faith, suspense. And it’s all wrapped up in a return to our beloved Maple Valley. And for those of you who haven’t read the previous Walker Family series based in Maple Valley, no fears. You can dive right in to this first book in this new series without worry of being lost. If I could give this book a bazillion star rating, I would.
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  • Cayla
    January 1, 1970
    So happy to be back in Maple Valley. Loved Marshall & Mara's story, and the reminder that God is always trustworthy, even in life's hallways. 💕
  • Kara Peck
    January 1, 1970
    This beautiful book. So poignant. So healing. Once again I fall in love with Maple Valley. I can’t get enough of this quaint little town. I loved the touch of mystery that came with this story. Somehow every book Tagg writes just gets better and better. Forever fan. *I received a complementary copy of this book. My opinions are my own and I’m under no obligation to review *
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  • Meagan
    January 1, 1970
    Ohhhh my, I adored this book. So very much. I love all the little (and some not-so-little) Walker family cameos (oh hai, Logan! *insert starry-eyed look here*). I love Marshall (who's giving Logan a run for his money as my favorite Tagg hero).I was looking for a book to read on a plane ride, and suddenly remembered I had the ARC for this. I quickly downloaded it while I still had WiFi access, and started reading soon after departure. I was immediately drawn in, and proceeded to finish it well be Ohhhh my, I adored this book. So very much. I love all the little (and some not-so-little) Walker family cameos (oh hai, Logan! *insert starry-eyed look here*). I love Marshall (who's giving Logan a run for his money as my favorite Tagg hero).I was looking for a book to read on a plane ride, and suddenly remembered I had the ARC for this. I quickly downloaded it while I still had WiFi access, and started reading soon after departure. I was immediately drawn in, and proceeded to finish it well before the flight was over!The mystery component caught my by surprise -- but it definitely was a welcome surprise. I was kept guessing throughout the book, and thought Tagg did a wonderful job at maintaining the twists and turns.Excellent, excellent read and first book in a new series. I can't squee enough about it!I received a copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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  • Jaycee Weaver
    January 1, 1970
    One of Tagg’s best books to date. There’s something truly special here in Now and Then and Always. I laughed, I cried. I grieved with Marshall and fretted with Mara. Such a beautiful story with Tagg’s remarkable ability to paint the picture and develop the characters with care, compassion, and depth. Tidbits of action and mystery add yet another layer to this rich tale of two broken spirits rehabilitating an old B&B as God does similar work in each of them. **I received a complimentary early One of Tagg’s best books to date. There’s something truly special here in Now and Then and Always. I laughed, I cried. I grieved with Marshall and fretted with Mara. Such a beautiful story with Tagg’s remarkable ability to paint the picture and develop the characters with care, compassion, and depth. Tidbits of action and mystery add yet another layer to this rich tale of two broken spirits rehabilitating an old B&B as God does similar work in each of them. **I received a complimentary early-release copy of this book that in no way impacted my review or my decision to do so. I’ve been a fan forever!**
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  • Jeanne Takenaka
    January 1, 1970
    I believe Now and Then and Always is the best book Melissa Tagg has written yet. What happens when two characters have lost their sense of “home” and are trapped by the pain of how that sense of belonging was ripped away? Mara Bristol fled her past and is kind of lost in her present. She lands on the front porch of the ramshackle Everwood Bed and Breakfast and is taken in by its widowed owner, Lenora. The two women grow in a friendship as they try to keep the bed and breakfast alive. When Lenora I believe Now and Then and Always is the best book Melissa Tagg has written yet. What happens when two characters have lost their sense of “home” and are trapped by the pain of how that sense of belonging was ripped away? Mara Bristol fled her past and is kind of lost in her present. She lands on the front porch of the ramshackle Everwood Bed and Breakfast and is taken in by its widowed owner, Lenora. The two women grow in a friendship as they try to keep the bed and breakfast alive. When Lenora doesn’t return from a trip, Mara feels abandoned once again, even as she tries to keep the business from going into foreclosure.Detective Marshall Hawkins lands at the front door of the bed and breakfast one stormy night and ends up staying longer than he ever anticipated. As he spends time with Mara at the bed and breakfast, something about the place—and perhaps Mara—draw him to stay and help her fix the place up.This story, with a mystery or two thrown in, captivated me. The characters felt so real as I read, even the secondary ones. Their emotions, responses, decisions all felt authentic. And I loved the way Tagg wove in the mystery surrounding Lenora’s past. I loved how Mara came to terms with some of her choices and perceptions, as well as how Marshall had to own some of his past choices. And, I loved how the relationship between Mara and Marshall grew so naturally. Tagg delved into the issues of grief, the sense of being a failure, and the importance of belonging in a sensitive way. She doesn’t sugarcoat the issues each character faces, but she brings about resolution in a realistic, uplifting way. The story’s setting, Maple Valley, is its own character in this story. I wish I could visit and relax in its small-town ambiance. Tagg threaded surprising twists into the story. I honestly found myself laughing out loud and tearing up as I read. And the ending? Absolutely, perfectly swoon-worthy. This story has all the feels.Readers who enjoy realistic stories with authentic characters and a touch of mystery interspersed will love Now and Then and Always.**I received an electronic copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Zac Weikal
    January 1, 1970
    Maple Valley, Iowa may just be my favorite fictional town, so when I found out that Melissa Tagg was taking us there again in Now and Then and Always I knew I had to read the book! In this new series, we are welcomed to Everwood Bed & Breakfast which is run by Lenora and is in need of major repairs. Mara Bristol experienced tragedy and finds a place to belong at Everwood where she helps Lenora with the property. As the story moves on Lenora leaves Mara in charge of Everwood while she goes on Maple Valley, Iowa may just be my favorite fictional town, so when I found out that Melissa Tagg was taking us there again in Now and Then and Always I knew I had to read the book! In this new series, we are welcomed to Everwood Bed & Breakfast which is run by Lenora and is in need of major repairs. Mara Bristol experienced tragedy and finds a place to belong at Everwood where she helps Lenora with the property. As the story moves on Lenora leaves Mara in charge of Everwood while she goes on a trip, but she doesn't return and Mara is left with a rundown property she doesn't own and a foreclosure notice from the bank.In Tagg fashion, Melissa took a charming setting and created real characters and wrote a story that was deep and heartfelt. The characters were well developed and each had their own struggles to work through during the story. The Everwood had a mystery of its own which was an enjoyable element.Detective Marshall Hawkins was planning on spending one night at the Everwood, but that stay turns into a longer. I still remember him and Mara looking around the Everwood because I could envision the wallpaper and the setting. I felt the frustration Mara had as she received the foreclosure notice and had to figure out what to do to help Lenora, who was missing, and save a building in her care that she didn't own.My trip back to Maple Valley was an enjoyable one. I'm glad Tagg gave us glimpses into the lives of some characters from her previous series and I'm looking forward to her next book and returning to Maple Valley.*I received a free copy of this product to facilitate this post, however you, my readers, come first and all opinions are my own.
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  • Inspirationalfictionreader
    January 1, 1970
    Another food warning! I usually do not eat sugary cereal and I do not like milk. That being said, you might want to have some sugary cereal and milk on hand when reading this story! I ate three bowls - not all at once though! ;-) I loved this story!!! It made me laugh out loud, it tugged at my heartstrings, and also me cry - more than once! I know when an author is able to draw those feelings out, it’s a good book. Melissa Tagg knows how to write engaging characters and they live in the best tow Another food warning! I usually do not eat sugary cereal and I do not like milk. That being said, you might want to have some sugary cereal and milk on hand when reading this story! I ate three bowls - not all at once though! ;-) I loved this story!!! It made me laugh out loud, it tugged at my heartstrings, and also me cry - more than once! I know when an author is able to draw those feelings out, it’s a good book. Melissa Tagg knows how to write engaging characters and they live in the best town ever! I want to move to Maple Valley!! I loved Marshall Hawkins. Thirty-five. Milwaukee. (You’ll get it when you read the book!) He is such a great character who is going through some really really awful times. My heart literally ached for him and I wanted him to be okay. I also really liked Mara and I loved their first meeting and the hilarious conversation that followed! And there are parts throughout the story where Marshall plays a running joke on Mara that had me laughing out loud - every time! All of the secondary characters really added to the story and I want them all to have their own stories! I also loved the religious aspects of this story! There are so many great quotes I want to share, but I’ll stick to just one, “But we always have a choice, don’t we? To let our hurts forever weaken us or...or instead find some way to draw strength from what we’ve been through.” This is so true! We can wallow in our misery or we can choose to let God use what we have been through to grow and strengthen us. I highly recommend this story! I was given a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
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  • Rachel McDaniel
    January 1, 1970
    There are SO many ways I can begin this review—or extremely gushing spiel? Fangirl prattle to the max? Call it what you will, BUT one thing that remains completely certain is Now and Then and Always is Melissa Tagg at her finest! Seriously, this novel is brilliant.First off, this author created such a vividly believable setting that I am kinda on a quest to find Maple Valley—and subsequently live there forever. Not only is the town charming but so are the people in it. After consuming all the ot There are SO many ways I can begin this review—or extremely gushing spiel? Fangirl prattle to the max? Call it what you will, BUT one thing that remains completely certain is Now and Then and Always is Melissa Tagg at her finest! Seriously, this novel is brilliant.First off, this author created such a vividly believable setting that I am kinda on a quest to find Maple Valley—and subsequently live there forever. Not only is the town charming but so are the people in it. After consuming all the other stories by this author, reading Now and Then and Always was like visiting old friends and creating new ones with Mara Bristol and Marshall Hawkins. Mara Bristol could be my fictional kindred spirit. Any girl who considers Lucky Charms as a staple in her diet and pretty much ventures everywhere barefoot is practically my bestie. But beyond her craving for sugary cereal is a young woman who is searching for a sense of belonging. For a place to call home. My heart was immediately drawn to Mara’s kind heart but even more so, her insecurity. As she was renovating the old bed and breakfast, I was rooting for her to find the courage to see herself with the same potential. To realize that she was stronger than her fears. Marshall Hawkins is a hero of all heroes, trouble is, he doesn’t realize it. He’s broken. His faith is brittle. And he seems to shut out everyone and everything. As I was cheering for Mara to see herself as God sees her, I was championing for Marshall to open his guarded heart to healing. I loved this character from his flannel shirts to his devoted conviction to help Mara—despite his own feelings of helplessness. Of course this wouldn’t be a Melissa Tagg novel without her signature flair for witty, humorous banter, romance that sizzles with chemistry, and of course references to classic movies/actors. Add all this to an intriguing mystery—one that keeps you guessing—and it equals a five-star story! I can’t wait until the next book in this series. Until then, I’ll continue my search for Maple Valley in the real world. ;) **I received a copy from the author. All opinions are my own.
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  • Ronya
    January 1, 1970
    A rambling run-down bed and breakfast, some deeply broken people, a decades old mystery…when put together with God in the center, it makes for a powerfully moving story.I’ve missed Maple Valley…the charming, quirky town and its amazingly loving and welcoming residents. Reading Now and Then and Always, set on the outskirts of Maple Valley, just felt like coming home – oh I wish this was a real place! As always when we visit Maple Valley, we get to meet some new characters, but we also get to “run A rambling run-down bed and breakfast, some deeply broken people, a decades old mystery…when put together with God in the center, it makes for a powerfully moving story.I’ve missed Maple Valley…the charming, quirky town and its amazingly loving and welcoming residents. Reading Now and Then and Always, set on the outskirts of Maple Valley, just felt like coming home – oh I wish this was a real place! As always when we visit Maple Valley, we get to meet some new characters, but we also get to “run into” some old favorites. It’s such an added joy to catch up with these “friends.”The newest Maple Valley residents, Marshall, Mara and Lenora are flawed and broken people. In this story, we witness God meeting each of these characters right where they are. And although this is a fictional story, it mimics how God uses us, flawed and broken people, to do His work…to care for, to offer acceptance, to love one another. The deeply broken characters in this book serve as examples to us of people in our own lives who need to be offered that care, acceptance and love. God uses Melissa Tagg’s writing to teach us how to be His hands and feet. Her writing has a unique blend of humor and depth that grabs hold of our hearts and ministers to us as we read.This story deals with addiction, grief, hurtful family relationships, abandonment, abuse and scars. It deals with choices, perspectives and healing. It deals with all of this while sharing a beautiful story that draws you in and causes you to feel as if you are a part of it. Therefore, even though I have finished this story, I do not want to leave Maple Valley and these people yet. My real life is full of people who are dealing with these same things…the good and the bad. This story encourages me to be present in their lives and be the kind of friend and relative that I loved meeting and visiting with in this book.If I’ve not made it clear enough in my review thus far, I love this book. It touched my heart and I am already anticipating another visit to Maple Valley. Although set in a beloved fictional town full of stories already told, Now and Then and Always can be read as a stand-alone novel. If however you enjoy the added depth of reading stories in order, to enhance the overall enjoyment of the book, like I do, then I would recommend going back to the beginning of Maple Valley and starting with the prequel novella to the Walker Family Series, Three Little Words. *Thanks to the publisher and the author for the complimentary copy to review. A good review was neither encouraged nor requested. All thoughts expressed are my own.
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  • Gracie
    January 1, 1970
    So. Highly. Recommend. This. Book.Ohmygoodness. It’s so incredible!!! (Can you hear my squealing?! 😂)Seriously though. I’ll be honest. I went into this book, not knowing what to expect. Contemporary romance books can occasionally have the tendency to be cheesy or shallow. But not. This. Book.So much heart, such a beautiful story about two hurting, messed up, broken people, with lives full of so much pain, only God can heal it. Only God can mend the shattered pieces, and build something so beauti So. Highly. Recommend. This. Book.Ohmygoodness. It’s so incredible!!! (Can you hear my squealing?! 😂)Seriously though. I’ll be honest. I went into this book, not knowing what to expect. Contemporary romance books can occasionally have the tendency to be cheesy or shallow. But not. This. Book.So much heart, such a beautiful story about two hurting, messed up, broken people, with lives full of so much pain, only God can heal it. Only God can mend the shattered pieces, and build something so beautiful out of the destruction. And Melissa Tagg did such an admirable job of showing that incredible truth.Also, the characters are my FAVE. I cannot even tell you how much I enjoyed getting to know Marshall and Mara. The humor and wittiness were an absolute blast to read, and the character development was marvelous. Also there was mystery. Intrigue. Flannel. Friendship. Growth. Old movies. And a purple door and shutters. 😭 This book will make you want to cry. Laugh. Scream. And dance for joy that there is indeed hope after the darkness. That out of so much immense grief, God can bring healing, and new beginnings, and Life.So, yeah, it gets All The Stars!! And you neeeeed it. So much.Why are you even waiting? Get this book!!! 😆I received a copy of this book from the author for FREE, and a positive review was not required.
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  • Melody
    January 1, 1970
    Loved itI am always happy to pick up a book by Melissa Tagg. She never disappoints. I have been trying to carve the time to finish because I just want to keep turning pages. What a beautiful heartfelt story. I may have needed a couple tissues for this one. I love Maple Valley and I love that there so many people there to keep loving.
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