Book Review: ‘Still the One’ (Deep Haven Collection 1) by Susan May Warren & Rachel D. Russell

The last thing he wants to do is return home.

Cole Barrett, former Army Ranger, has a new mission objective. Sell his grandfather’s house and put Deep Haven in his rearview mirror as fast as possible. Deep Haven holds the hurts of physical abuse at the hands of his grandfather, a man now in a memory care facility with dementia. Recently divorced, single, and unattached, Cole just wants a new life as a US Marshal. One where he can forget the past and start new.

Unfortunately, there’s a tenant in the garage apartment who’s refusing to move. Even worse? It’s his childhood crush, Megan Carter, and her son.

She’s waited years for her first love to return.

Wedding planner and single mom Megan Carter is no stranger to Deep Haven. To her, it’s the place where she makes dreams come true—at least, everyone else’s. Her big dream is to purchase the Black Spruce Bed & Breakfast to turn it into a premier event venue and, if she can stay booked for enough weddings over winter, she’ll have enough money to buy the inn, move out of Grandpa Barrett’s garage apartment, and finally give her nine-year-old son, Josh, the life he deserves. After using part of her intended down payment to cover his hockey fees, she’s behind on her Black Spruce funds and only has thirty days to come up with four thousand dollars.

Still, she’s oh, so close…until her childhood friend-slash-crush, Cole Barrett, returns to Deep Haven. Unfortunately, he’s not back to fulfill a silly childhood promise to marry her, but she never expected him to evict her! The last thing she needs is more expenses. Or for another man to walk into her heart…and break it.

Maybe it’s never to late to finish a love story…

When a blizzard strikes Deep Haven, and Megan is overrun with wedding catastrophes, it takes a former Ranger to step in and help. But the more he comes to her rescue, the sooner she’ll be able to move out…and he can move on.

And that’s what they both want, right?

Return to Deep Haven with this magical tale about the one who got away…and came back.

Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling novelist of 80 books. With more than 1.5 million books in print, she is beloved by reviewers and readers around the world. Visit Susan at

Rachel D. Russell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and My Book Therapy’s Novel Academy, and is a regular contributor to the Learn How to Write a Novel blog. The mother of two teenagers, she often interrogates her husband on his own military and law enforcement experience to craft believable heroes in uniform. The rest of her time is spent cantering her horse down the Oregon trails. Visit Rachel at

My Rating: 5 Stars!

‘God didn’t have any kind of happy ending for someone like Cole.’

One thing I look for and know will make a book really speak to me is when I can ‘connect’ with the characters. When I can really get a feel for them and they seem real to me. This book certainly ticked that box! The characters really came alive in my mind from the first page, which certainly bodes well in a debut novel. The book was well written with truly believable characters, a plot that was completely interesting. Both of the main protagonists had issues that made them seem even more real as well. I can’t say how much I love digging down into a book when this happens early on. I was all in from the first paragraph.

Rachel D. Russell is now on my future radar whose books I want to read. Set in Deep Haven, MN, the small town everyone wants to visit, if not live in, it was wonderful to see characters again I had not ‘seen’ in years from Susan May Warren’s books. Reading this book was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one that brought joy to my heart. There was also a wonderful spiritual lesson to learn here. Well done!

*My thanks to Sunrise Publishing for a copy of this book. I received no compensation. The opinion in this review is entirely my own

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