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    An Emotional Journey

    An emotional, heart-wrenching, and thought-provoking story that is much topical right now in the current events. Maybe that is the reason why - I admit - I have kept putting this book off. I saw in the blurb that a tornado had leveled part of the town, and the hero was injured because of it, and suddenly all the hurricane, earthquake and wildfire news came that much closer and my idea of escape-reading was far-fetched. Jenny and Adam Buchanan had married young, straight out of high school, after Adam had been in a serious car accident. The book has timing issues throughout the eARC. When they have been together ten years, when married six, when married nine years, when they got married when they were 18, then when they were 19, then being now 24, or 26 or next time 28, loving each other half of their lives but together only ten... So, the fact was, they got married very young and were under 30 years old. They lives were set around the circle of family, taking care of their boys, building up the family business until the tornado hit the town, and Adam was seriously injured, again. It has been three months from Adam's injury when Jenny's cup runs over and life gets too much to handle. Adam's recovery is not happening fast enough and keeping up all the balls in the air is just too much for her and the laundry-gate happens. As I was reading this story, I realized I was reacting to Jenny not only as disliking her as a character, but resenting her on a very personal level, as well. It has only been three MONTHS from the tornado yet she expects things to be moving on, Adam to snap out of it, and start to adjust to life in a wheelchair, and other limitations that could be part of his life rest of his days. I don't remember when I have been as mad at a character as I was with Jenny. As a person with a partial disability, and not at the state of wheelchair or epilepsy, it took me three YEARS to adjust to the new life, to adjust the medication, to adjust not being able to work, to snap out of the funk, and she expects him to perform as a functioning, contributing person after three MONTHS?! Lady... It is a good thing she is a fictional character, right?! I liked Adam. Maybe it was easy for me to relate to him. His struggle to find his new place in his old life was realistic. His feelings for his family are true, his need to protect them from himself are noble, if not what they needed or wanted. I loved the connection he builds up with his sons, they brought tears to my eyes several times with the earnest, emotional scenes as they adjust to the new life. So this story came to be a bit too personal for me, and thus it was difficult to be 'partial and fair' at times with Jenny and the twists in the plot. But I do believe the story deserves the four Spoons because it is well written and the story has a great flow, it engages the thoughts and emotions of the reader, and the characters have depth and show development as the tale unfolds. The great truth about saying "I do", and 'do' being an active verb, not an emotion or a feeling, and thus promising to choose love and commitment each day, and actively work towards that goal with one's actions and behavior as well, is a great lesson and reminder to the readers. Life is not easy, it can be very challenging, and to choose to act upon the promise made, even when everything goes wrong, that is the true test of the commitment to love each other in sickness and in health... An interesting, challenging, and inspirational story about marriage and love at the most trying times in life ~ Four Spoons
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    Difficult to read at times, but oh so good!

    I knew Adam and Jenny's story was going to be tough to read, and I wasn't wrong. Seeing them be all happy and married in much of book one ( Famous in a Small Town ) and then him nearly dying in the tornado and then his bitterness and their distance from each other in book two ( Rebel in a Small Town ) was difficult enough--seeing things from their perspectives, though? Was sure to be even harder. And it was...and wasn't. It was a relief to see the reasons behind what they were doing, even when I didn't agree with them--and there were parts that I strongly disagreed with. Why couldn't they just see that they still had a life, a future together? That she wasn't pitying him, and that Jenny and the kids didn't "deserve" better? Couldn't she see that Adam really was trying? This book was hard to read, but rewarding at the same time, because Adam and Jenny do (eventually--talk about waiting until the last minute; argh!) figure it out. And watching two people who have been together forever but are just finally figuring out how to really be together at last makes for one heck of a story. I'm really looking forward to seeing them together again in future series books, as they continue to work their way through being a stronger, better family together :) Breakup is the third book in the series, and though you do have enough background here for it to work okay as a standalone, it will have a lot more impact if you've read the first two books first and have seen this one coming up in the rearview. Plus, the first two books a great stories in their own right, so you'll be doing yourself an extra-special favor by reading them all. ;) Rating: 4 stars / B+ I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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