Until I Knew Myself (Tammy L. Gray) – Review

5 stars

~ About the Book ~

RITA Award-winning author Tammy L. Gray delivers an unforgettable new series following five struggling friends in search of the true meaning of family through secrets, betrayal and the unexpected influence of an outsider…

Tyler Mitchell grew up an orphan, taken in by his best friend’s family when he was only sixteen. Even though ten years have passed, and he’s been given everything he should ever want—a loving home, an adoring girlfriend, a successful career, and lifelong friendships—Tyler has always felt a foreigner in his own life.

When a surprising phone call reveals the death of his biological grandfather, Tyler’s seemingly perfect life starts to unravel. The people he loves most in world have kept from him the greatest secret of all—knowledge of his father’s family.

Now hunting for more information about his past, Tyler discovers nothing is quite as it seems. And the definition of family is far more complicated than choosing between blood and loyalty.

Series:  #1 Bentwood Series
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Release date:  8 March 2018
Pages:  260
Publisher:  Independent

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

“Do you ever regret it?” Ty asked, his stomach locking again. He’d never pressed Beck’s feelings on the subject. Never really wanted to.
He turned, finally giving Tyler his focus. “Regret what?”
“Your parents taking me in when we were kids.”
Beck paused, then grinned. “Nah. Though you were a moody SOB back then.” he knocked Tyler’s shoulder with his own. “But, truthfully, that’s why I wanted to know you. For two weeks you roamed the halls in our school, barely saying a word to anyone, even when a rumor went around that you’d transferred from an alternative school.”
Tyler hadn’t known about that rumor until after he’d fully immersed himself in their world. Though Beck was right, back then he didn’t give a crap about what anyone thought, especially a bunch of rich, preppy kids who assessed his worth with a quick once over.
Beck stood straighter, finally realizing that Tyler wasn’t smiling back. “Where’s this coming from?”
He felt the death certificate burning through his jeans. “Nowhere. Just doing a little soul searching.”
“Well stop. It’s the weekend, and you have a beautiful woman calling you from the dance floor.” Beck flattened his hand on Tyler’s back and pushed him forward. Before Tyler took his next step, the guy had found a new silky-haired brunette to talk to.
Walking toward Journey on the dance floor, Tyler felt the hole widen in his chest. A niggling sense that he was stepping off into a deep, dark hole.
He had no history. No legacy to aspire to. His mom was gone and the only connection he had to his Mitchell side was some smeared ink on a death certificate.
Isolation pressed on every side as he tried to fight the horrifying truth: He was a twenty-five year old orphan with no idea who he was supposed to be.

~ Review ~

For years chased a shadowI am TOTALLY in love with this new series from Tammy L. Gray. The characters have captured me, heart and soul, and the story is equally gripping, hooking right in to just about every emotion you can experience: love, loss, betrayal, anger, joy, hope, forgiveness, even humour! And while it doesn’t have overtly Christian content, it illustrates some beautiful spiritual and relational truths—and powerfully, at that.


He'd seen her pain

Tammy Gray excels at creating raw, authentic characters, and there are six of them in this series, each with very different personalities. Ty, Journey, Beck, April, and Sean have been friends since school, but their group has fractured somewhat in the aftermath of broken romances and the general pressures of life and work. And yet, each of them is still closely associated with some of their former group, making for some complex dynamics in the friendships. Caroline Crawford enters this story and this group of five friends a little bit like a breath of fresh air, but she also adds a new thread of tension to the group as well as bringing a history that we only just scratch the surface of here, and I can’t wait to see how that develops through the series.

Telling Secret wouldn't end thingsTyler’s story forms the backbone of this first book in the series, and it is powerful. Remember all those emotions I mentioned at the beginning? Intense, but wow! It’s a journey not only to discover who he is, but to discover where he belongs. And it’s a journey that throws plenty of curveballs (to Tyler and the reader), some of them pretty painful. But one of the things I love about Tammy Gray’s novels is how deeply you feel the characters’ emotions—all of them. I definitely needed the tissues a time or two in this one!

Absolutely a must-read. I cannot get the next book in this series soon enough!

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Meet the characters of the Bentwood Series

~ About the Author ~

TammyTammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.

When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.

Connect with Tammy:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, New Releases and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Until I Knew Myself (Tammy L. Gray) – Review

  1. Erynn Newman says:

    Love this review and the I sight into the characters. Can’t wait to start this series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Winnie Thomas says:

    I love Tammy L. Gray’s books. I can always count on an emotional roller coaster ride when I read them. This one was wonderful! I’m looking forward to the others in the series! Thanks for the review, Katie!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Chanel M. says:

    Wow! Sounds like an intense and emotional read. I haven’t read any books by Tammy L. Gray yet, but this looks like a good place to start.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rissi says:

    Didn’t read your review because I have this one to read and then, hopefully, review, but your first review line tells me everything! Sounds like an amazing story that I very much anticipate discovering. 🙂 So glad to be reminded I *must* read this one asap.

    Liked by 1 person

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