Wow, Lara Van Hulzen’s writing just keeps getting better and better! Have you checked out her books? I thoroughly enjoyed her Men of Honor series, but Loving Kate, the second book in the Silver Bay series, is definitely my favorite book of hers so far. And don’t you just adore that cover? 🙂 Continue reading
Y’all know I’m a huge Denise Hunter fan, right? Did you see the Hallmark movie made from her book, The Convenient Groom? I didn’t enjoy the movie nearly as much as the book. So, fair warning, read the book. lol. Enough of the commercial. Back to Just a Kiss…
Riley’s just come home from serving in the Marines, minus half of one leg and suffering from PTSD. His best and dearest friend, Paige, can’t wait to help him adjust to life back in the States. Riley’s loved her since high school, but Paige was a little slower to realize her feelings…and his.
I confess I struggled to write this review. Not because the book was bad. Hardly! As with all other Hunter books, I gobbled snatches whenever I could. But I. Did. Not. Like…
Gasp! How bad is that? Riley’s the hero, the brave man who served his country, the friend who chose not to reveal his true feelings solely to preserve their lifelong friendship.
At times, I wanted to reach into the book and sit Riley down over a cup of coffee. To warn him that unless he stopped with the surly attitude directed at Paige, he would lose her for good. How could she love this guy?
Maybe Riley would kindly explain that depression does that to a person. That it was like being tossed into a deep, dark prison where pain and sleepless nights are the norm. No wonder Riley acted that way. Paige chose to love him for the hero she knew him to be, and the walls of bitterness and resentment had to crumble eventually. Good thing he finally came around. And so did I. 🙂
The real goodie in this book wasn’t the romance. For me, it was the meaty nuggets to chew on later.
- How I consider myself lacking because of certain physical limitations
- How stubbornness and pride keep me from achieving my full potential
- How I need family and other connections
- How I sometimes fixate so much on what’s wrong, it’s difficult to be grateful for what’s right
- How seasons in my life come around for a reason, a purpose, and I shouldn’t fight them, but learn, grow, evolve.
This might not have been my favorite of Hunter’s books, but I’m so glad I chose to spend a few hours hanging out with Riley and Paige. And I would do it all over again.
Disclaimer: Sending my thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for providing me with a free copy of Just a Kiss in exchange for my fair and unbiased opinion. Other than the free kindle copy, I was in no way compensated for my review.
A Reluctant Melody has been on my TBR list since it released in January. But my reading has downshifted significantly lately, and I just found it on my kindle again. Yay! If you enjoy inspirational historical romances with a thread of intrigue, you’re in for a treat! But you might want to read The Yuletide Angel first. Not that it’s a requirement to enjoy A Reluctant Melody, but Angel gives you insight into Kit. And who doesn’t love a glimmer of Christmas in the middle of summer? Just sayin’. 🙂
Here’s a little about the book first.
The Cover Story~
Kit Barnes’ drinking ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. The most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past and the one person he hurt the most.
A pariah among her peers, Joanna is all too eager to sell her property and flee the rumors that she sent her late husband to an early grave. But she will let the gossips talk and the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she’ll allow Kit back into her life.
When a blackmailer threatens to reveal her long-held secret, she must choose between trusting Kit or seeing her best friend trapped in an abusive marriage.
Will Joanna risk another betrayal? Or will she find a way through the pain of the past to love and trust again?
Joanna Stewart finds solace playing the piano. Kit Barnes used to find comfort in a bottle, but now his faith guides his life and work. Along with a pastor partner, Kit plans to buy and renovate a house to accommodate other recovering alcoholics. Joanna’s house is perfect for their mission, and Kit might have convinced Joanna to sell her property, except for this…
She would pay into eternity for her lapse in judgment, for loving a man who used her and tossed her aside. Hadn’t her father said as much before he cast her out of his house? If Papa were her this minute, he would remind her again of the sin she’d committed, and the mercy she would never find from the almighty and judgment-prone Creator.
Whoa! You can imagine Joanna’s reaction upon seeing Kit again and the conflict that oozed from the pages! With a benefactor holding a ticking clock, though, Kit had no choice but to convince Joanna to sell. Her continued refusals made him wonder if he hadn’t ran ahead of the Lord’s will. Often, I worry the same thing in my own life.
Favorite quote: “God doesn’t demand perfection from us first, Jo. He perfects us through our faith in Christ.”
A sprinkling of historical tidbits, a trail of intrigue, and the abundance of spiritual nuggets pulled me in every chance I got to read. While I suspected some elements, a few twists surprised me. I appreciated the real battle Kit waged over his addiction, even after being saved, and how his struggle wasn’t easy or glossed over. I generally prefer more sizzle in my romance reads, but because of their disastrous past and the constraints of the time period, I understand the restraint. Overall, though, A Reluctant Melody is a book I will keep in my library, just to reread and savor those spiritual goodies all over again.
TO PONDER: When someone I know struggles with consequences of poor choices, do I extend grace or judgment? Do I offer a listening ear or a cold heart? Am I a help or a hindrance?