Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings.
Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker.
Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from?
Evan Carter stared at his girlfriend, admiring her beauty. Brenda’s pixie haircut framed her pretty face and a soft smile graced her lips. She wore charm and gentleness like a cloak as she gracefully changed lanes. She drove his new Altima like it was made for her.
He loved that Brenda suited every aspect of his life. She was a slam dunk in the girlfriend department. He ran his fingers over the velvet box in his pocket. Tonight was the night. The restaurant staff had been informed of his plans. With their help, his proposal would be flawless.
“Should I adjust the temp?” he asked.
“I’m good, sweetie,” she smiled at him, then quickly faced forward again.
Brenda would make the best high-school coach’s wife. His students loved her and she loved basketball as much as he did. It was so easy to be with her.
“Evan, you made the perfect choice. This car is so quiet. I can’t believe we can’t hear the outside noise.”
“I know. That’s what sold me.” He pointed up ahead. “Make a right at the light.” He hadn’t revealed their dinner location. If he didn’t pay close attention, they’d miss a turn.
“Are you sure you don’t want to tell me where we’re going?”
“I’m sure. I still think you should have let me drive. Then it would really be a surprise.”
She laughed. “Of course, it would have been better, but I’ve been itching to get behind the wheel ever since you bought it.”
A black truck swerved in and out of their lane.
“Baby, slow down. Watch out for that truck!”
There was nowhere to pull over, no way to avoid the impending collision. The two-lane road had no shoulder and the truck was picking up speed.
The black truck righted itself. But before Evan could even sigh in relief, the truck corrected, ending up in their lane, headed straight for them.
They were going to collide.
Evan held his breath, clenched his eyes, and braced for impact. Brenda’s scream pierced the air, but it seemed far away. His seat belt locked tight as the car came to an abrupt stop.
A weight dropped onto his leg. Pain exploded, smoke filled his nose. His body struggled to make sense of what happened. Finally, he closed his eyes and gave in to the darkness.
Right from the first few lines, there is action, and I was hooked. I couldn’t put this book down, I had to know what was going to happen next. The action and the characters are so realistic and believable. I stayed up past midnight reading this book. I found myself caring deeply about what would happen to these characters.
The tragic event resulting in Evan’s return to his parent’s home brings about a huge change in his life, one that he didn’t plan for, nor want. He is understandably angry and puts up walls to keep others away. Written with such feeling and emotion, you can’t help but wish you could reach out somehow and offer encouragement.
I appreciated how Toni seamless wove a strong faith into this story and how each character found their own path to a relationship with God. Not that it was easy. This story is real, raw and full of vivacity. It doesn’t shy away from the tough subjects but faces them head-on with a measure of grace and a sprinkling of love.
I sincerely enjoyed my time in Freedom Lake with Evan, Jo, and the other cast of dynamic characters. I look forward to reading more from Toni Shiloh and reading more stories from Freedom Lake! Fans of Becky Wade & Brandy Bruce will find they enjoy Toni Shiloh’s writing as well.
(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)
About the Author:
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace of the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior.
She writes soulfully romantic novels to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
Before pursuing her dream as a writer, Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where
they are raising their two boys.
When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, making jewelry, and spending time with her family.
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October 16-Christian Bookaholic
October 17-Blossoms and Blessings | The Power of Words
October 18-The Green Mockingbird
October 19-Joy of Reading | Red Headed Book Lady
October 20-Singing Librarian Books | Ponderings of a Poet & Procrastinator
October 21-Faithfully Bookish
On tour with the Singing Librarian