I'm sad that my journey with these characters has come to an end. Love by the Book by Cara Lynn James was a fantastic conclusion to the Ladies of Summerhill Series.
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In order to get better acquainted with Nell and one another, Melinda and Nick agree to spend the summer in their own private quarters of the Bryson family vacation home, Summerhill. As their love for Nell grows, so does their attraction to each other. And for the first time in their lives, they sense that God has a bigger plan in motion.
Yet old habits die hard and Melinda and Nick each find it difficult to resist the pull of their former worlds.
When the unthinkable happens, they find themselves faced with seemingly impossible choices and a new understanding of God's true love.
My review: I devoured this book. I would have read it faster if I wasn't reading another book at the same time. Melinda is a very relatable character. She loves material goods. She loves pretty things. Some would consider her selfish and shallow, but deep down, she has a good heart. She is forced to examine her life when her wealth is stripped from her, and she doesn't like what she sees. Following her transformation from shallow to a character with love, kindness, and depth is satisfying and I found it quite realistic. Nick is also a relatable character in that he is trying his hardest to please his earthy father. Relying on himself, however, he finds that he falls quite short. Melinda teaches him to start relying on the Lord for everything, not just when he needs help. Their love story is sweet.
I was surprised, however, at the content of this book. While it is a clean romance book, there was a lot of illusion to marital relations that you don't normally find in these types of books. It did not deter from the story, as the moral of it was to learn to love others (including your spouse) as God loves you. It just surprised me. Cara Lynn James did a wonderful job of creating a plot that was believable and weaving in the theme of relying on the Book (being the Bible) and the Lord for everything in your life. It shows the characters struggling to do just that, and I praise Cara Lynn James for that. It's not always easy to live by the book. Human nature is very hard to ignore.
Overall, this book was a very satisfying conclusion to the series. Cara Lynn James does an excellent job of creating characters that you can relate to and plots that aren't overly exaggerated and unbelievable. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author in the future!
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Upcoming Review: Anathema by Colleen Coble