Author: Susan May Warren
Review by Grace Olson
Taken from Tyndale House Publishers’ website description of When I Fall in Love:
Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. 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.
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.
Talk about an emotional wringer. Susan doesn’t hold back in courtesy of the reader’s feelings in this next installment in the Christian Family Series. In this book, we get to know Grace Christiansen of course, but Owen and Casper also have major roles in this story that take a look at their character and give a hint as to what is to come in the next three books. After requesting this book, I read some reviews about it and realized I might be in for a tear-jerker. I was right.
I loved the exotic setting of Hawaii and reading about Grace and Max’s adventures. It was a nice break from the Minnesota north, though Grace wasn’t too keen on it at first.
Not only do Grace and I share the same name, but I felt like I could truly identify with her. She’s not a risk-taker, she likes the tried and true. When her family pushes her into a three week culinary class and vacation in Hawaii, she balks. And gets sick on the plane. Ick. Talk about not fun, huh? But she changes and grows while she’s in Hawaii, and I couldn’t help but root for her and Max, even while I learned more about the dark secret that is keeping him from reaching out to her. Then the unthinkable happens, and they both head back to the mainland. One feels guilty. They both suffer from a broken heart. Of course, they’re not allowed to stay that way. They are thrown together numerous times, but it seems that they will inevitably have to part ways again or Max will have to tell Grace what he’s been hiding from her.
I liked reading about Raina and Casper’s story as well, heartbreaking as it is. I hope Susan tackles that Christiansen brother next.
The spiritual aspect of this book was also well done. Susan has a way of intertwining it with the plot and characters so that it develops naturally and doesn’t appear forced or come across as preaching. Grace has been living on the edge of life, and that includes the edge of her relationship with God. She has to take the plunge to an abundant life with Him. Max also needs to take the step to start living life—but for entirely different reasons. Both must trust God to work out all their circumstances for their good.
I loved how she addressed the concept in this book of knowing ahead of time that your loved on is going to get horribly sick and/or die, and yet choosing to love him or her, in sickness and in health. It’s a truly intriguing idea, one that culminates at the end of When I Fall in Love and had me wiping away a few tears. I’ll be returning to this book before too long again, I’m sure. Well done, Susan.
Do you like to read books that might make you cry? Do you prefer a sweet, if possibly unrealistic, happily-ever-after? Or do you like to finish knowing the characters have trials ahead, but are equipped with what they need?
About the Author
Biography from Tyndale House Publishers’ website: Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.
Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives.~ To learn more about Susan and her other books, visit her web page: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/
I was given a review copy of When I Fall in Love from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.