Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: "Then Came You" (Second Chance Brides) by Wendy Lindstrom


THEN CAME YOU is the SWEET edition of The Longing

A Marriage Of Convenience—And Unexpected Romance

When her beloved father dies, Amelia Drake is forced to marry her father’s competitor, Kyle Grayson. The last thing Amelia wants is a marriage of convenience to the man who rejected her youthful flirtation—especially when she’s still smitten with him. But Kyle is her only option and she’s determined to make a real marriage with her handsome husband. Can she break through Kyle’s staunch business demeanor and show him that laughter and love are possible?

Genre: Historical Romance (Sweet Edition)
My Review:
Then Came You is such a fitting title for the second book in the "Second Chance Brides" series (the sweet versions of the Grayson brothers). Both Kyle and Amelia are living in the aftermath of lost futures with who they believed to be their "happily ever after". Kyle is still grieving his broken engagement with Evelyn and nursing his feelings of hurt and loneliness. While Kyle knows that Evelyn and Radford belong together, it doesn't hurt him any less that she is no longer with him. Amelia is living the life she believes she is "due" because of her previous relationship with Richard, and lives in her own state of loneliness and regret. For Amelia, the shame she feels regarding her previous relationship drives so many of her actions. Each is lost and don't realize that what they need to make them whole again is each other. Through the scenes at the beginning of the book, the author paints a story of sadness, regret, and loneliness for each of them that is so compelling that the reader feels these emotions right along with the characters. What neither character realizes at the time is that the events of their lives were leading them towards who they were meant to be with - for each of them. 
Societal rules of the time form the foundation of the story and play an influential role in what happens between Kyle and Amelia. Kyle's guilt over his role in Amelia's father's death leads him to support Amelia and her mother through buying their mill. Propriety about interactions between men and women of the time drives Kyle and Amelia to get married. Propriety about the purity of women upon marriage fuels Amelia's guilt over her previous relationship. Kyle's honor means that he honors his wife and their marriage, sacrificing his relationship with another woman. It's an interesting look into the societal rules of the time and how they influence the behaviors and actions of men and women. As a strong, independent woman myself, I found it an interesting perspective of a time where women's roles in society differed greatly from modern times. I would say that the rules and traditions of the times almost serve as more than the "setting" for the book, they serve as another character, influencing the lives and actions of the characters.
Having read The Longing (the sensual edition of Then Came You), I do have to say that there was one point in the book where it was clear the sensual scene was removed. A scene was progressing that was leading to the consummation of Amelia and Kyle's marriage, and then the scene ended abruptly. As a reader, I found myself having to "catch up" with what was missing and what happened during that scene. In this case, I believe the author could have left some of that scene in, keeping the story "sweet" but enabling the reader to discover Amelia's secret along with Kyle, instead of having to piece the clues together as the story moves forward. Other than that one scene, I felt the story flowed well and wove an emotional story of loneliness, guilt, regret, hope, and ultimately love. After mourning along with Kyle and his loss of Evelyn in "Twice Loved", I was looking forward to seeing Kyle move forward and get his own "happily ever after" and I wasn't disappointed. What happens to Kyle and Amelia when they reach the depths of their loneliness and regret?  Then Came You ... and love.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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About the Author:
I was born and raised in upstate New York. My seven siblings and I were as wild and untended as the land around us, nurtured by the rich, black earth and warm sunshine. We swam in a shallow creek and made forts in the corn field where I would lie beneath the enormous blue sky and imagine epic adventures.

Alone I would haunt the forest, sharing my stories with the trees. I would press my face against their bark to feel their energy; a deeply furrowed oak, a scaly pine, a smooth beech, all welcoming my skinny arms and childish cheek. Thirty feet in the air, I would perch on their limbs, feeling safe beneath their leafy canopy. There I would become the heroine of the stories I imagined. There I began my life as a writer.

My first attempt at storytelling was in English comp class at SUNY University at Fredonia. My professor, Melinda Wendell, told me I had a voice for storytelling and that she hoped to see my work in a bookstore one day. (Thank you, Professor Wendell!) I never finished that particular story, but in the messy, handwritten pages of my journal an idea began to form. While researching, I came across a Civil War memoir by George K. Collins and I knew I’d found the premise for my first book Shades of Honor.

My award-winning Grayson Brothers series set in 19th Century Fredonia echoes the sounds and smells of my childhood. Like me, my characters are driven to understand what it means to be alive to each experience and fully embrace the unknown.

While writing books three and four of my Grayson Brothers series I spiraled into chronic fatigue syndrome. Although I dabbled with a few projects during that time, I didn’t have the energy or focus to write a book. Like all adventures, there comes a moment when a person must embrace the unknown and leap! I took up tai chi to get myself moving again. I started kickboxing a few months later and eventually began taking karate. I’m happy to say that I have since earned an Green Belt in A.K.T. Combatives and have returned to vibrant health. Most importantly, I published SLEIGH OF HOPE and LEAVE IT FOR THE RAIN, books 5 and 6 in the Grayson Brothers series. More books in the Grayson Brothers series, and also in my new Crane Landing series, are in the works.


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