book, Book Review

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

About the Book:Book - Until I Found You
Author: Victoria Bylin
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Fiction Addict / Publisher
Publication Date: May 2014
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Inspirational
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” however I confess, my interest in this novel stemmed purely from being attracted to its polished, yet beautifully unrefined cover design. It seemed the perfect portrait of a genuine moment of love, which is what made it stand out. After that, I found the synopsis sounded equally charming which made me happy since I’m a big fan of contemporary romance. We begin by journeying with Kate Darby back to her grandmother, Leona’s small hometown of Meadow after she gets a heart-stopping phone call that her grandmother has had a stroke. A woman who likes to be in control of her life and enjoy order to it, Kate is not prepared to deal with the change coming her way, particularly when she meets Nick Sheridan. Nick’s past is one full of skeletons and is a life lived he isn’t proud of. Now, six months after giving his life to Christ, Nick is taking a year off from dating and is content to try and sell his new book while running Leona’s small newspaper during her leave. Rescuing Kate from a near-death experience put the two of them on a collision course of trust, friendship… and attraction. But with his vow to stay away from dating and Kate’s non-existent faith, their fledging relationship comes up against more than one complication.

In storytelling, it’s exciting for the reader to see or pull out parallels – particularly those that have a spiritual bent, because it amps the story comprehension and can be a beautiful way to pay homage to the faith it’s representing. The prose of Until I Found You definitely uses a recurring theme to solidify the romance angle and for me, it was a bit too parallel heavy for things to read smoothly. That being said, once a reader realizes what this theme is meant to convey to the importance of the story, and if you understand that, then the book picks up from there. Unlike most of its peers, there is a lot of emphasis on the new Christian because both of its characters are either distrusting of God or have only recently given their life to Him. Because of this, the story is an encourager that doesn’t shy away from the truth of Christianity. Too often, we think that by being a Christian, life’s troubles and mysteries fade leaving us “protected.” This isn’t true – there is still sorrow, hardships and joy in our lives, same as anyone. Some days we may falter in our faith, others we stand in awe of our blessings. That’s life. No matter who we are. As the story weaves in and out of the frightening realities Kate faces, the ultimate message Bylin imparts is for her characters to choose joy and to ask why we are a part of something.

Until I Found You does struggle to find its footing. There is too much emphasis on the physical attraction between the leads (in my opinion though I understand the importance of it), pacing seems to rush, slow then rush again. Regardless, looking beyond the obvious, the story is one that needed to be told. It’s messy (in a good way), complicated and in its unique way, poignant. The characters face internal struggles that aren’t always resolved as they should be – Nick because he’s made a promise to faithfully keep to a yearlong sabbatical while he grows in his faith and Kate because she won’t let go of her idea of “perfect” – which is part of the beauty of the story. Just as this cover design “feels” authentic, an intimate moment of love in its truest form, this story is an intimate portrait of what Christianity in its purist form can look like. It may take a while to find this story, but when I did, I thought this was a lovely story full of promise.

A version of this review originally appeared on Fiction Addict.

Synopsis: Contemporary Romance to Make You Laugh, Cry, and Fall in Love.

When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life: “God, if you’re real, I want to know you.”

It’s Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate’s rescue. Nick is handsome, confident, and seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She’s not planning to fall in love with one of the locals.

Nick Sheridan is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn’t expect to be swept off his feet by the car’s occupant. He’s made a vow: no dating for a year. And it’s a vow he intends to keep in spite of his attraction to Kate Darby…

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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