Book Review: The Girl He Used to Love by Amy Vastine

June 30, 2016 Amy Vastine, contemporary, romance 8

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about the book

The past will always be between them

He swore he’d never return home. Then a flat tire lands Dean Presley back in Grass Lake, Tennessee, and he’s forced to confront the woman he left behind.

Faith Stratton was once the love of his life. Now her gifted brother could be the rising Nashville star Dean needs for his struggling music label.

But it means taking Sawyer away from the horse therapy farm that Faith’s so proud of. That won’t be easy, especially since those old feelings that started all the trouble… Well, let’s just say he can’t go back there, because he doesn’t want to relive the memories of the terrible accident that drove them apart.

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SERIES: Grace Note Records #1
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Heartwarming
RELEASE DATE: July 1, 2016
PAGES: 368

“Faith had thought she’d had all her feelings for him under control until he serenaded her horse. Everything went right back to complicated…”

What a delightful book!

Sassy and sweet. Great characters. Tender emotions. Engaging story. The Girl He Used to Love by Amy Vastine has it all!

The Girl He Used to Love book reviewFaith and Dean have fantastic chemistry together, and they also have a lot of baggage between them. Namely, young love that ended twelve years ago with the tragic death of Faith’s best friend, Dean’s sister Addison. Grief and guilt and regret from the past swirl around their present and provide the setup to some very well-written and poignant moments. The scenes at the cemetery – all of them – were among my favorites for their authenticity and range of emotions.

But it isn’t all angst and tenderness between Faith & Dean. There’s also a lot of truly fun banter and delicious romantic tension. The impromptu dance scene is one of my favorites – as is the mud experience.  These two will put a grin on your face – guaranteed.  They will also steal your heart.

And ultimately, the message in The Girl He Used to Love is perhaps the most important element. Especially the examination of how grief and deep-seated guilt can take their toll on every part of our lives – relational, professional, personal – and how forgiveness of ourselves is the first step toward heart-healing.

Bottom Line: Many emotions gallop through The Girl He Used to Love – grief, anxiety, guilt, regret, love, joy. Amy Vastine has crafted a story rich in tender moments and compelling characters. Wry humor and southern sass keep the book light in spite of its deep emotions, and the romance is deliciously done. Family and friendships play as important a role in the story as Faith & Dean’s relationship, creating a well-rounded novel that’s a perfect choice to read on your summer vacation! And the setting is truly lovely – the Tennessee hills feel like home to me anyway so I immediately moved in to Grass Lake with my whole heart. I’m looking forward to more in this series and from this author!

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(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

My Rating: 5 stars / Terrific story!

KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion

Reviewer’s Note: Even though this is a book written for the general market, it is completely clean and free from profanity. Highly recommended for my Christian-fiction fans as well.

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about the author

amy vastine

Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

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Other Books by Amy Vastine

What about you? Dean is from the small town of Grass Lake but for the last several years he’s been living in Nashville. Do you prefer the big city or a small town, and why?

Carrie

8 Responses to “Book Review: The Girl He Used to Love by Amy Vastine”

  1. Andrea Stephens

    This book sounds lovely. I live outside a big city, I came from a middle sized town, though it’s much bigger now. I prefer less hustle and bustle. I mean I nearly got ran into 3 times today all within a 5 mile radius of my house. I was following all traffic laws. One of the times I was in the left turn lane, behind a car, the person behind me kept blowing the horn at me then pulled around me nearly hitting me and the car in front of me. I don’t think I could live in a very small town though, I like convenience too much.

    • Carrie

      yeah… and everybody knows everybody else’s business lol! Still, it does have its advantages 🙂 But a part of me still would love to live right in the heart of a big city … just for a while.

      • Andrea Stephens

        If they aren’t sure of everybody else’s business they make things up. I lived in a small town for a while. Quiet is nice though. My sister lives out in the sticks from the town we grew up in, not even on a paved road, I love looking at the stars from her house. In suburbia and cities, few stars can be seen, but the snow gets plowed pretty quickly.

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