Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
“Well, look at me. I’m the cheerleader. I’m the one who sits in the stands and waves the foam finger. I’m just the bystander. In their lives. In my life,” Eden explains in Susan May Warren’s love story, It Had to Be You.
This three hundred and seventy-eight page softbound book is part of the Christiansen Family series, targeted toward readers who love sweet romance with relational conflicts, confrontation, and forgiveness. With no profanity, overtly sexual scenes, or extreme violence, the story centers around accepting what God graciously gives in life. After the narrative, an author biography and eighteen group discussion questions are included.
In this romantic tome, single Eden Christiansen has always been the one in her family that emotionally supports everyone. In her role as protector, housekeeper, mentor, and fan of her professional hockey player brother, Owen, she has spent her entire life taking care of others. Although she has been working for a local Minneapolis newspaper the last four years writing obituaries, she feels she will never become the writer or reporter she yearns to be because she constantly puts others before herself.
Caught up with the buzz and adrenaline rush of being in the spotlight as the upcoming NHL rookie, Owen makes poor choices again and again while Eden covers, protects, and enables him. As he idolizes the popular playboy team captain, Jace Jacobsen, she cringes at the veteran player’s aggressive, abrasive style on and off the ice, hoping her brother is not swayed to mimic him.
When Owen gets an injury that threatens his career, Eden and Jace must keep their emotions in check to try to help the hurt and angry player. As the two are thrown together, they become notably aware of their many societal differences; but they slowly help each other understand how God graciously forgives, forgets, and allows hope, promise, and change.
As Jace and Owen are challenged by the violence their bodies endure at each hockey game played, Eden questions her ability to write life into her obituary notices, trying to find her real place in the grandstands of life.
Once again, Warren does an exceptional job detailing the power on the ice, the friction of popular verses sidelined personalities, and how God develops love between those hurting, feeling lost, and abandoned. With this being part of a series, there is plenty of family characters for future romantic dynamics.
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.