Welcome to my stop on the Jessie Belle blog tour, hosted by Singing Librarian Books!
Nestled in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, lies the quaint town of Merryton, Colorado. You will never find finer people or better friends. But try keeping a secret in Merryton and you will soon find that the good townspeople are better than any private investigator or undercover journalist. The men and women of Merryton are like living barometers, and when a storm is brewing in the life of one of their own, they are sure to get to the bottom of it–and forecast it on the Merryton grapevine.
Jessica and Blake Summers know a thing or two about what it’s like to be the latest and greatest news on the vine. Their thirteen year marriage has had more than its fair share of heartache and loss. Then the past comes knocking, in the form of a teenage girl, a daughter Blake never knew existed. The news sets the Merryton grapevine on fire.
In the wake of this revelation and firestorm, Blake and Jessica are forced to reevaluate their own relationship and priorities, all while learning that raising a teenage girl is not for the faint of heart. But in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, they discover that Madeline may just be what the doctor ordered to heal their broken hearts and mend their own tattered relationship.
Will they have the courage to look forward and find a greater love than they could ever imagine? Or will past hurts and the town grapevine tear them apart?
Jennifer Peel is the mother of three amazing kiddos. Wife to her one and only for the past twenty-one years. Lover of late night talks, beach vacations, the mountains, pink bubble gum ice cream, tours of model homes, and southern living. She can frequently be found with her laptop on, fingers typing away, indulging in chocolate milk, and writing out the stories that are constantly swirling through her head.
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You heard it here first, folks. After reading Jessie Belle and stellar books by Varina Denman, Dawn Crandall, and Rachelle Rea, I am officially retiring my dislike for first-person narratives. Clearly, I just hadn’t read the RIGHT first-person narratives before now.
Jessie Belle is one of those books that tears at your heart. Jessie and Blake have been married for 13 years and somewhere along the way – after miscarriages and the loss of a son – they’ve turned into roommates more than husband and wife. Just when Jessie thinks their marriage may be over, Blake receives some news that further threatens the tenuous hold they have on their relationship. Now, with separate rooms & separate bank accounts & separate lives, Jessie and Blake must try to navigate the emotional reality of a surprise teenager while they decide if they can salvage whatever is left of the love they shared. All of this under the ever-watchful eye of their small town, where every kiss and every argument is fair game for the gossip grapevine.
Speaking of the gossip grapevine, the crafting ladies that hang out at Jessie Belle’s cafe every day absolutely delighted me! They were a hoot and a half!! They added some much-needed levity when the tension of Jessie and Blake’s marriage felt too raw on my heart. Jessie … I saw a lot of myself in Jessie. I could learn a lot from her too. Instead of waiting around for her situation to change, she began to focus on repairing her emotional wounds by tapping in to what makes her “her” again. And wow – what strength that woman has! More than I could muster up in her situation, I think. Blake – oh my goodness, he needed a good purse-whomping! There were far too many moments when I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into that man. And yet, like Jessie, I couldn’t give up on him entirely – by the end of the book, I was glad I stuck it out with him.
And that’s really the theme of the book… sticking it out when you’d rather call it a day. Fighting for your marriage because growing apart isn’t a reason to give up on each other. Giving yourself permission to fall in love again – with your own spouse. While heart-wrenching to read at times (because I could so easily identify with Jessie), Jessie Belle is one of the most tender books I’ve read this year. It will encourage and soothe and wrap you up in a story of enduring love.
Bottom Line: Well-written with a pleasing voice, Jessie Belle is yet another first-person narrative that I found enjoyable. I was instantly engrossed in the characters’ lives and hearts and invested in the story’s outcome. Even as I reeled with Jessie from one emotional blow after another, I smiled and swooned as Blake expressed his love for her in his own way. Jessie Belle is a book that heals as well as entertains, and I highly recommend it to fans of Katie Ganshert or Varina Denman. (Note: Since I primarily review Christian fiction, I feel obligated to point out that this is general market fiction and there are a couple of mild curse words scattered throughout – very few and far between.)
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
If you have been struggling in your marriage and you wonder if you should stick it out or call it a day, visit my friend Varina Denman’s blog and check out these posts she wrote. Some great encouragement here – as well as resources!
Click on the link below to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for an ebook of Jessie Belle!
November 9–Singing Librarian Books
November 10–Toni Shiloh Prayerfully-Lifted Romance
November 11–Wishful Endings
November 12–Bookworm Lisa | Katie’s Clean Book Collection
November 13–Reading is My Super Power
November 14–Mel’s Shelves
If you are interested in becoming a Singing Librarian Books tour participant, apply HERE.