Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood.
Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She’s almost his worst nightmare, and she’s also working on restoring something—herself.
As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common—a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration.
While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?
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“Oh sweetie… I’ve asked God to show you just how much He loves you.”
From the publisher’s blurb, it’s tempting to assume that Restoring Love is Mitch and Angela’s story. That’s not really true, however – not at the core of the novel. It’s not even a romance, though that does play a sweet role in Mitch and Angela’s aspect of the story.
At its heart, Restoring Love is Bianca’s story. It’s a novel about a young mom, suddenly single for all intents and purposes, struggling to make ends meet and fighting to make sure in the midst of all the crazy that her kids don’t lose sight of her love for them. Jesus isn’t even on her radar. At least, He isn’t until He places three separate people in her path. Besides her compassionate landlord who does what he can to overlook the fact that she’s hopelessly behind in the rent and her crazy neighbor lady who doesn’t seem fazed by the figurative walls Bianca has firmly in place, there’s also the sweet resident at the assisted living home where Bianca works. Each of these individuals loves Jesus and wants Bianca to know that He loves her, too.
So… you see… while there IS a delightfully sweet romance thread and while Mitch and Angela ARE major parts of the plot, Restoring Love is really the story of how Jesus draws a hurting young woman to Himself. It is at once convicting and inspiring, opening my own heart to how often I avert my eyes to the needs of people I pass by everyday. It’s a challenge to get a little uncomfortable, to feel a little awkward, for the sake of extending a hand of rescue to someone who needs to know that Jesus loves her. It’s about pressing on, even when initial attempts are rejected. And it’s about leaning on the only One who can bring about true restoration.
Bottom Line: While Restoring Love builds off the characters introduced in Beyond I Do, it’s fine as a standalone, and Jennifer Slattery’s compassionate heart for people shines brightly from the pages. Moments of humor walk hand-in-hand with the sweet and the sorrowful, providing the right amount of each so none overwhelms the mood. I’ve read (and loved) several of this author’s books now, but Restoring Love is my favorite… so far!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!
Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries (http://whollyloved.com), she and her team put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She writes devotions for Internet Café Devotions, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and edits for Firefly, a Southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
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Jennifer Slattery is giving away a copy of Restoring Love to one of my readers (US only). Comment on this review and head over to our chat post to claim 5 extra entries in the Rafflecopter form!
What about you? Has God placed someone in your path to show you He loves you? Do you watch for chances to do the same?