Dara Collier teaches music at an elementary school in Sedalia, Missouri, and is in the process of adopting three-year-old Chad, the son of her best friend who died in Iraq. When Jared Fletcher, the man who broke her heart four years earlier returns unexpectedly, they must each face the past. Can Dara risk her heart a second time to the man who walked away from her without a word? Can Jared trust the girl he left behind because he thought she had chosen another? Distrustful of the feelings they discover still exist between them, they must learn to let God show them how to trust and to love again.
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I always read reviews before purchasing books. When I found this book, I read the reviews and found 1 positive and 1 negative so I decided to check it out for myself. Oh boy am I glad I did. I couldn't stop listening to this story! I really wanted to find out what happened to Dara. I LOVED this book. It is well written (although a little in the realm of HALLMARK). The characters are well developed and the story is clear.
The narrator did a very good job. I kept thinking, o.k. that negative review had to be a personal attack because there is no way anyone could mistake the different characters or their voices.
Maybe it's because I come from a educator background that I relate so well with the main character but she totally caught and kept my attention. I wanted to adopt the little boy, Chad and what a hunk Jared was not to mention what a stand-up kind of guy....if only. I look forward to listening to more stories from this series. And, I hope it's the SAME narrator.
Dara Collier has a lot going on. She is a teacher, a volunteer at church and a mother to a three-year-old boy. Chad, the boy, is her best friends son. Her best friend died while in the military and was quite direct on what she wanted for her son. She wanted Dara to care for and adopt him.
Jared is back in town after a hiatus in Hawaii working on his struggling, contract business. Now he is trying to set the business straight at the home base, the town in which he grew up and Dara lives.
The two were boyfriend/girlfriend throughout high school, but one Jared left town without a word, no forwarding address, phone number, nothing. They had been planning to get married, Dara could not understand what had happened or how she could've been so wrong about the boy she loved.
There are several parts in the book that feel a bit cultish or misrepresentation or misunderstanding of the Bible. Dara read a passage in the New Testament [written by Paul] stating that it was better to be alone and work entirely for God than to be distracted with a husband (my paraphrase is awful.) So to her it meant her first love had not worked out, so she should remain dedicated to the church and not consider marrying again. She was never married! A far different interpretation that I have had or ever spoken about with many Christian friends and family.
Other than these, in my opinion, misinterpretations, I found this book to be really interesting. It was well thought out and left open for another book to follow up in the series. This is not a cliffhanger, all the ends are tied up, but another name is mentioned near the end, perhaps to intrigue the listener to watch for another book. Which I will.
Amanda Fugate-Moss did a good job. It seems I've had a run on good to great narrators as of late. My only issue with her is that when the female character was speaking it sounded more robotic than emotional. It wasn't terribly bad, but just something that stuck out, especially as this is a female narrator. However, overall she gave a good performance with three main characters; a three-year-old boy, Dara & Jared plus lots of secondary characters. Children's voices are really hard for me to take an audio, but she did this smoothly, along with Jared.
Notes: Christian romance, nothing to warn of. I think it would make a great Hallmark style movie. Christian romance is not my usual genre, when *I was offered the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for my thoughts opinions in this review, I thought, "why not?" I'm better for have reading it and I do look forward to the author next books, I will be adding them to my Wish List.
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