THE LITTLE THINGS by M. Jean Pike
GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: White Rose Publishing
RELEASE DATE: July 21, 2023
A decade ago, Rochelle Delany made a decision that changed her life forever.
Wanting more than just football games and potluck suppers, she boarded a bus for California and didn’t look back. But instead of a glamorous life, she became trapped in a nightmare of labor trafficking. Now, she’s made a daring escape and returns home to Ohio.
Sandy Fairbrother has a problem with trust.
Twice betrayed, he now puts his faith only in God. He’ s a single dad doing his best to grow his construction business and raise his young son. But haunted by an impulsive kiss Rochelle gave him fifteen years ago, her unexpected return has him rethinking things. He’ s been given a second chance to win her heart. And this time, he plans to succeed.
Rochelle barely remembers Sandy, but she’s drawn to his goodness. But just when she thinks she’s found peace, her past catches up with her, and she finds herself in danger of losing the only safe haven she’ s ever known.
“You’ll find, my darling girl, that sometimes, God’s most glorious answers are to the prayers you never even prayed.”
The Little Things is my first introduction to author M. Jean Pike, and I think it’s definitely a good one to start with if you’re wanting to get a feel for her writing voice & style. This contemporary romance also has a touch of suspense – just the right amount to add a different kind of tension to the mix and make romantic suspense fans (like me!) happy without being too much for people who just want the romance.
Rochelle Delany is a compelling heroine right from the start. While she holds her secrets close (even from readers), you can tell that there’s much more to her story than even her family has assumed. We get the sense right away that there was more to her continued refusal to come home than a cold heart or grand aspirations, even though her brother – all the family she has left now that their foster mother has passed away – seems to believe the opposite. In fact, she really is the embodiment of the concept that we should be slow to assume because we likely don’t know the whole story. As Pike gradually reveals the layers to Rochelle’s past few years, I became very sympathetic toward her plight and began rooting in earnest for her to find a safe haven.
Enter Sandy Fairbrother and his adorable son Jace. Swoony house-builder/restorer Sandy heart may have been broken by his ex-wife, the mother of his son who he now raises alone, but he’s also been carrying a torch for Rochelle since their school days. His close friendship with her foster mother kept Rochelle in the forefront of his mind over the last few years, as well as joining Bessie in praying for Rochelle’s well-being. I appreciated this foundation that the author established to keep Sandy’s heart tender toward the town’s prodigal daughter, even when her own brother seems mostly frustrated with her sudden reappearance. Certain decisions on Sandy’s part made more sense in light of this deep affection for Rochelle (though I do think their relationship still advanced at warp speed toward the end), and I really loved the two of them together. For his own part, Jace is a little boy with a big heart who quickly wriggles his way past Rochelle’s defenses and into her heart – and mine! And then there’s Gus, the diapered dog who I could easily picture, much to my amusement.
Bottom Line: The Little Things by M. Jean Pike is a sweet romance with a redemptive faith thread, small town setting, and layered characters you’ll enjoy meeting. The dash of suspense fleshed out the various dimensions to Rochelle’s story and also allowed the author to spotlight something that’s not talked about a whole lot – in fiction or otherwise. I enjoy novels that make me smarter and more aware of issues that aren’t part of my own experience. I especially loved little Jace and Gus the dog… not to mention the thoughtful way everything comes full circle in the end. A quick & engaging read!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
What about you? What makes you want to read The Little Things by M. Jean Pike?