Friday, July 25, 2014

When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace's faith will face its toughest test yet.

But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled---or maybe yanked---away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Susan May Warren and her publisher for sending me a copy of "When I Fall In Love" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Susan May Warren’s latest Christiansen Family novel, “When I Fall in Love”, is another engaging, enjoyable and challenging read.  The release of each Deep Haven novel reveals better writing, richer characters, creativity in confronting of real life issues, more detailed plots, snappier dialogue and more engaging internal character monologue.  As I invest my time in these characters, they become even more dear to me.  That is where I find myself as I eavesdrop on a wedding, a plane ride, a cooking class and a pizza delivery/rescue.  This is a great book that deserves to be on the keeper shelf of every reader who enjoys contemporary Christian romance!

Max Sharpe, an upcoming hockey player, takes the same vacation every year: three weeks in Hawaii perfecting his cooking skills, winding down from the hockey season, relaxing and living life to the fullest while he can.  Grace Christiansen doesn’t take vacations.  She’s afraid to travel, not wanting to be too far from home.  So, when her family surprises her with a trip to Hawaii for a cooking class, she’s less than thrilled.  She’s even less excited when she learns that her family has arranged her trip at the same time one of Owen’s former hockey teammates is going so he can look after her.  This arrangement is the perfect recipe for two people not looking for love to fall smack-dab into the middle of it!

This story is not without conflict, though.  I laughed, I cried, I sighed, I begged the characters to make different choices.  I learned a bit about myself and who I want to be.  I contemplated what is truly important in life and the “quantity versus quality” debate.  I love how these novels confront real issues that any Christian might face rather than presenting Christians as perfect in both thought and deed, which would be easy – and tempting – to do on paper.  I can look over my life since I’ve been a Christian and see bad decisions I’ve made and the consequences of those decisions I’ve had to live with.  This novel woke me up to some of those and gave me a desire to pursue a more godly path for the future.

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