~ About the Book ~
Married within a year of meeting, Ethan and Brandi add a foster daughter to their newly established family. Their story is enchanting—inspiring. Except when the fairytale fails. The stresses of unmet expectations and wounds from their pasts knife into their marriage, severing what they believed would be forever.
Hope for a broken marriage. Healing for their wounded spirits. It would take both to find evergreen. Are they brave enough to try?
Series: #3 Grace Revealed series (can be read as stand-alone)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: 22 March 2018
~ Excerpt ~
Ethan leaned against the rough siding outside the lodge, near the kitchen door. As he tipped his head back, his hands covered his face.
No wonder divorce was so common. This together-forever thing…
So hard. Quite possibly, impossible.
But he’d promised. And when he wasn’t boiling angry with the woman, or hurt by her indifference, he did love her. At least, it was probably love. The way she gripped his heart. Possessed his mind. Tortured his waking and sleeping.
Love turned inside out.
God, it isn’t supposed to be like this.
Brock and Cheryl seemed to have found happy, which honestly didn’t seem fair. His sister had been more of a mess than he was.
Sighing, he let his full weight fall against the logs at his back. He probably shouldn’t have ripped into Brand. But really? It was like she never thought of him. Cared.
She knew he hated fish—especially trout. Even the smell made his stomach turn. She knew that. But it didn’t matter. Didn’t matter that they hadn’t had a quiet, just-them meal in two weeks. Didn’t matter that as a couple they were running paper thin. Didn’t matter that it showed him he wasn’t important to her.
Because bottom line, he wasn’t.
He’d given her his heart—something he’d sworn he’d never do—and she’d folded it up and jammed it in her back pocket, like an empty gum wrapper. Getting married hadn’t changed anything for her—her world was hers, that was all. Brandi wasn’t about to rearrange her life for him.
Whatevs, girl. Ethan pushed away from the lodge and turned to the door. After a lungful of air in and then out, he tugged on the screen and pushed through the entry. The stillness in the kitchen felt hollow. Or maybe that was his spirit. Marriage to Brandi was supposed to fill that cavern of emptiness. Two is better than one…
Yeah, that. Not so much.
~ Review ~
Well, my heart’s feeling a little raw right now, partly because Brandi and Ethan’s story was so incredibly authentic and heartrending, and partly because one particular line leapt out of this book and exposed one of my own deeply buried struggles: It’s like if I can’t be the best at everything, then I must be failing, and I can’t even wrap my head around why. Well, that makes two of us, Brandi, and while my own life is nowhere near the mess that Brandi and Ethan have to work through, I’m going to be pondering that little nugget of insight and its impact on my life for some time to come.
But back to the book. It doesn’t matter what genre Jennifer Rodewald is writing in, her stories never fail to tap into a deep well of emotion. Whether it’s her lighter-hearted romantic novellas, her dystopian trilogy (published under the name of J. Rodes), or her contemporary romances dealing with struggling and broken characters, something about the way she writes touches me right at the core.
As I noted above, that makes this a physically painful read at times. Brandi and Ethan are Broken-with-a-capital-‘B’. The phrase ‘the honeymoon’s over’ could have been written for them—if they’d had a honeymoon to start with! Add in an equally broken foster daughter with enough attitude to give third-degree burns, and you have a situation that would stress the healthiest of marriages, let alone one that’s barely begun and already fraying at the edges.
At the risk of overusing the word, everything about this novel is authentic—the characters, their struggles, their flaws, their pain, their anger, their desire to love and be loved, and above all, the journey that finally brings them to a place of healing and restoration. And that is why every time Jennifer Rodewald comes out with a story that’s sure to pummel my heart, I’m right at the head of the line, offering my heart with both hands. Because that restoration at the end is worth every minute of the journey (and the tears) it took to get there. And I’m always challenged to love bigger and love better as a result. And perhaps look a little more closely at myself as well.
Don’t be afraid to risk your heart on this one. You will be blessed!
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.
~ Previous Books in the Series ~
Read my review for Red Rose Bouquet.
~ About the Author ~
Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.
Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence. Blessed with a robust curiosity, she loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new.
After growing up in Denver, Jen moved to Nebraska to attend college where she met and married a Husker. She now lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, laughs at her horses and chickens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.