My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
Sometimes the dream you never planned for is the one you can’t live without.
Six years after a painful divorce, Josh Conrad is happy traveling the world as a photographer. When he arrives in Portugal, he plans to complete the assignment as quickly as possible. What he doesn’t plan for is Sofia, the girl he baptized eleven years earlier on an LDS mission, and soon he’s making excuses to prolong his trip.
Sofia Monteiro leads a structured life in Braga, Portugal, teaching high school by day and caring for her mother by night. After she reconnects with Josh through mutual friends, the memory of a failed relationship and her new graduate program are enough reasons to stay away from him.
As they collaborate on a project, Josh is wary of repeating his old mistakes and Sofia hesitates to spend time with an American who’s only passing through.
Can two people with wounded hearts bring themselves to trust their dreams to each other?
The Secret Life of Daydreams is a clean and wholesome contemporary LDS romance set in Portugal.
What a lovely setting! I enjoyed "traveling" to Portugal and experiencing the culture of the region through Sofia and Josh. They are unexpectedly reunited and the time they spend working together makes them never want to be apart, even though there are obstacles to having a long-term relationship. Josh comes to her rescue several times and she helps him open his heart back up. Sofia has some heavy burdens and trials, but her faith and the support of her friends helps her stay strong. Josh is floundering and wallowing in his life's disappointments, yet still reaches out to others and serves with compassion. The plot seemed to drag on in the middle when there wasn't any progress in their relationship or Josh's issues. I felt like he was a stone wall not only to Sofia but also to the reader since any details about his past and spiritual choices were saved for the very end of the book as a sort of reveal. It prevented me from understanding his situation or fully connecting with his character and I definitely felt Sofia's frustration with him. However, the ending wrapped things up nicely and I was happy to see everyone happy again :)
(I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher; all opinions in this review are my own)