My rating: 2 stars / It was okay
Synopsis from goodreads.com
Seven years ago, Julia McKenzie rejected the man she loved, wanting to experience more of life. Now, at the age of twenty-four, she regrets that decision. What will Seth think of her, when they encounter one another hundreds of miles from home? Will the man she cared for understand the direction her life has taken and love her in spite of her choices?
Pastor Seth Russell has never completely forgotten the girl he once courted. When she shows up in his new home of Baker City, all those feelings return. But why is she sneaking around town late at night? Even more important, will she reject him and break his heart again, or can God heal the breach between them?
This novella is part of the Love Blossoms in Oregon series which I have enjoyed (see my review of Wishing on Buttercups). Pastor Seth makes appearances in the first two books of the series and I was so excited to read his story. I had a hard time relating to Julia- the introduction of her backstory was vague about why she jilted Seth and the intensity of her regret was inconsistent throughout the book. She ran hot and cold with him as their relationship began to redevelop, and could only see her situation in black and white- either isolate herself from society in order to serve the Chinese immigrants, or give up her charitable endeavor altogether if she ever wants a normal life. While she wanted to make a difference and fight prejudice, she was also judgmental of others who weren't as passionate as she. I liked the scenes where the characters from the previous novels get to know Julia and help her overcome her internal struggles and find peace. The "villian" in the story was Mrs. Evans, a busybody from Seth's church who didn't approve of Julia. I thought she was portrayed very over the top; she became a caricature. It bothered me that both Seth and Julia used the phrase "Mrs. Evans and her ilk" during their inner dialogues. Seth and Julia are both repetitive as they agonize over the choices in front of them which prevented the story from flowing smoothly for me.
I've read wonderful reviews from others who really enjoyed this novella, so please don't let my hang-ups prevent you from reading it if you are a fan of the series! I am looking forward to the third book, Dreaming on Daisies, which releases later this year.
(ARC provided by the author for unbiased review)