Predictable, cliche, but not nauseating
As a general rule I don't read books categorized as "romance" - they're so sickly sweet I gag if I try to read them.
Good news. This book isn't like that. It has some good messages in it, and the characters are real enough.
Bad news. There's still way too much kissing for my taste. I know that may sound prudish, but kissing before they're a couple, kissing when they aren't sure about their coupleness. It takes about halfway through the book to start, but once it does it's implied that it's pretty serious kissing. I find that very disappointing since this work is labeled as a Christian work. I get that the characters aren't perfect. Neither am I. But as writer you also influence people's ideas, perceptions. Maybe even help them form some ideas for their own life. I know, there aren't sex scenes or things like that which (I hear) are common in non-Christian romance novels. But what about fleeing from temptation? What about setting a higher standard?
The story would be quite compelling without the unnecessary kissing ... or at least some of the descriptions accompanying those scenes.
It's no wonder Susan May Warren is a bestselling and award winning author. This is a fabulous look at a very complex cast of characters. There's more to each than meets the eye.
I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, and I cheered for the characters. The only one I didn't really care for was Eden's brother Owen - but that was a necessary evil. My short review? Highly, highly recommend. Read on for my long review.
Eden Christiansen thinks the purpose of her life is to be the cheerleader for everyone else. She has a mediocre job in the obits department, a slew of siblings who each has their own awesome talent, and a superstar hockey brother she feels she has to serve and protect at all costs. Even if it's to her own detriment. Always comparing herself to their accomplishments, she feels that somehow, no matter how hard she tries, she'll never be as good as them. Yet she wants to do something spectacular - she just doesn't see it happening in the obituary department.
Jace Jacobsen has his own demons to destroy. He, a hockey superstar, has a less than desirable name and past. He knows better than anyone his own faults - and wishes he could change things.
As the story unfolds, both main characters see the other for what they are - hurting people who need someone to care for them. To see that they're worth something. To look past the exterior and see the potential.
Supported by a stellar cast of characters, this isn't just a story about how two people meet and how they learn to like each other. This is a story about heart conditions, desperation, despair, losing everything important, new beginnings, old hurts, and finally, forgiveness. Love. Mending. Growing.
Each person has their own story, and no one lives to themselves. I loved the main plot, the secondary plot, and the emerging plot that I'm pretty sure is going to be the focus of another Christiansen family book. And I can't wait to read it.
*My thanks to the publisher and author for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not required they be positive.*
This is the second book in The Christiansen Family series by Susan May Warren. I thought it was pretty good. There was a lot of tension between the characters. I really liked Eden, who was one to stay back and be everyone's cheerleader. She had to learn to let go. Recommended!