Author: Rachael Johns
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
She'd left him at the altar, but her heart was always his……
After more than ten years away, Australian soap opera star Ellie Hughes returns to the small town of Hope Junction, determined to fly under the radar while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.
But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn't long before the people of Hope Junction are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie's visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.
Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. Because Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.
When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?
This had to be the most unusual second chance love story I've ever read. Before anyone thinks, "Oh, god. It's a horrible book.", let me explain.
Flynn and Ellie's story could have been a by-the-book second chance romance if not for one little aspect that Ms. Johns incorporated. What I expected and got was: awkwardness of meeting again after ten years apart; uncertainty of their feelings for one another as they spent time together; hostility and wariness from Flynn toward Ellie. What I didn't expect was the way the rest of Hope Junction reacted to Ellie's return. Any negative feelings Flynn felt for Ellie was magnified a hundred times over by the good townsfolk.
You want to talk about exceptional writing? Ms. Johns has it down pat in that regards. The hostility poured from the pages. Good Lord, you'd think Ellie cut a man's arm off by the way she was treated!
I enjoyed this story immensely. There was a lot of back and forth between Flynn and Ellie's feelings for one another. That bit when Flynn lost all reason and tried to move on with plastic Lauren? Genius! The negatives of that relationship were so blatant I kept wondering what the hell it was going to take for Flynn to realize Lauren was wrong for him with a capital W. But I do give him credit for trying. If he hadn't tried, he wouldn't have ever known that there would never be anyone for him but Ellie.
That doesn't mean Ellie wasn't without fault. She returned to Hope Junction to care for her injured godmother Matilda. Though she knew Flynn was still there, she wasn't returning to renew a relationship with him. The reason she left and the reason she didn't come back weighed too heavily on her to try anything with him. Of course, she didn't tell him that, not all of it. Matilda's death might have put things in perspective for her in that she finally came clean as to why she stayed away, but she had to know he wasn't going to react well when she told him, right?
Was his reaction to her devastating news warranted? Yes, I believe so. But I don't believe he was right in staying away so long afterwards. The ending that came was a long time coming, and I don't mean just the ten years they were apart. The entire story was deserving of an incredible ending. Ms. Johns certainly didn't disappoint.
Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training.