Title: You Belong with Me
Author: Tari Faris
“You can never really fix something shattered. But you can take the pieces and make something even better. Don’t leave the painful parts of your life in a box on the shelf. Figure out how to make something beautiful out of them,” Hannah is told in Tari Faris’s novel, You Belong with Me.
~ What ~
The first in the Restoring Heritage series, this three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback targets those interested in a contemporary romance in a struggling Midwest town. With no profanity, topics of abandonment and the foster care system may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an excerpt from the next book in the series, a dozen discussion questions, acknowledgments, the author’s biography, and advertisements.
In this story set in the small town of Heritage, Michigan, twenty-five-year-old Hannah Thornton is determined to fix everything and everyone, including her decades-old friendship with Luke, a once-foster child who still feels he does not belong anywhere. When she enters the town into a nationwide restoration contest, she tries to put the shattered pieces from their past back together her way, not realizing God has different plans. With the help of Luke, her brother, and other key players in the community, she not only accepts help from others, but she learns to trust and believe in them. In the meantime, Luke must process who he really is and that he is wanted.
~ Why ~
This is a fast, easy afternoon read of past loves that are reignited when lies are forgiven, misunderstandings are explained, and truths are confessed. I like the long-term friendship between the two protagonists and how they fight to keep it as it moved from platonic to romantic. Being the first in the series, many of the peripheral characters are important to the storyline.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not understand the charm of small-town living may not enjoy this read that focuses on working together to beautify their community while deepening relationships. Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the references of praying to God and allowing Him to be the decision-maker and guide in their lives.
While I appreciated the focus on prayer as an answer to all, I wished the story included the eternal plan of salvation. I found the main character to be a little shallow in her wishy-washiness, careless determination, and self-absorbed decision-making that could have affected the entire town negatively.
~ Want ~
If you enjoy a small-town romance with a bit of intrigue, forgiveness, and honesty, this is a lovely read that will make you want to know what happens in Heritage in the next book of the series.
Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.
This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/34kDW9x