Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings.
Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker.
Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from?
SERIES: Freedom Lake #1
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Toni Shiloh
RELEASE DATE: September 26, 2017
“You might not see it now, but He [God] was there. He was in just as much agony as you.”
Every book I read by Toni Shiloh is heartwarming and engaging, with a gentle romance and a sweet message of faith. Returning Home did not disappoint!
Two flawed, hurting characters struggling in both their faith in God and their trust in each other. I loved that Shiloh didn’t just stick a band-aid on their pain. Instead, she wrestled through it with them and therefore so do we, the readers. It’s an honest look at the tendency to turn our disappointment with life into anger at God.
One of my favorite scenes is when Evan’s dad sees him with his prosthetic for the first time. So tender and moving. For that matter, I love Evan’s parents and even the doctor in charge of his care in Freedom Lake. Jo Ellen’s mom? Well… she and I would have words
But don’t get me wrong – it’s not a heavy story of angst. There is humor and friendship and family and yes… romance! Evan and Jo Ellen are not lacking in sparks, and that first kiss? Be still my heart and hand me a fan. Also at the heart of this story is friendship. I love Jo Ellen’s friends Michelle and Chloe as well as Evan’s friends Daryl and Guy … and I’m so looking forward to reading more about them in this trilogy!
Bottom Line: Returning Home is a sweet story of finding love in unexpected people and finding grace in unexpected moments. It’s about forgiveness and faith … and about trusting God with the hard stuff in life as well as the joys. Shiloh’s writing style is engaging and warm, and the characters will quickly become friends (except for Jo Ellen’s mom lol). Looking forward to more from this series – and from this author!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!
KissingBook Level: 4 / Keep that fan and fainting couch handy!
Guest review contributed by Reading Is My Superpower. Peek at Top Ten Tuesday and Favorites Friday but also frequent author interviews/giveaways in a style of review that stands out from the rest.