Newly introduced to Jules Bennett’s work and wanting to start from the beginning, I recently read her debut novel Home Again. This is a sweet romance that legitimately weaves together deceit and despair with love. The storyline holds the reader as they cheer on Ellie to overcome adversity and find her HEA (aka, happily ever after).
Foremost in a book, I want drama, mystery and suspense. This book gives me what I want. It follows Ellie during a time of transition while she hides from an abusive ex-boyfriend. She has endured heartbreak over the past several years and returns to her childhood home distrustful and frightened, overwhelmed and exhausted, stalked by her ex-boyfriend but determined to get back on her feet. She has strength but walks head first into her biggest weakness – Gavin. When she arrives, she is surprised to find Gavin, the one man who she’s ever loved, moved into their old home. With a shared history, the two tiptoe around one another as the story unfolds. Ellie carries a secret that she now has to either keep from Gavin at the cost of a possible relationship or confess the secret and risk Gavin’s anger.
I have to admit, I also love a yummy alpha hero. But I didn’t get that feeling from Gavin. He is a successful attorney, living on his grandfather’s estate and dating a woman he is ambivalent towards. I reconciled this weakness in character to the fact that he has been tormented by the love he continued to harbor for Ellie. When Ellie shows up, he is overwhelmed by the intense feelings that he still feels towards her. Gavin is a sexy man who impresses the reader by protecting Ellie and deciding to open his heart to her despite her past deceit. But the yummy character I’d like to know more about was Shane, Gavin and Ellie’s childhood best friend.
I can’t help myself, I judge a book by its cover. And I am bummed to say that the cover of Home Again does not do the story justice. If the book hadn’t been handed to me and recommended by a friend, I may never have picked it up from a book shelf. I am here to tell you: ignore the cover, read the book. If you’ve never read Jules Bennett before, start here. It’s a sweet and tender love story.
Most important, I need to feel the love to love the book. Jules draws her characters’ emotions so intrinsically that the reader feels everything that the character experiences. Despair, loss, anger, fear, and love are tangible in the story. This book will grab you by the heart from the very start and it won't let you go. I laughed and I cried (I don’t usually do this when I read but was completely taken in the moment). If you want to believe in true love again, this is a book that you’ll want to read.
RATING: Three out of Five Chocolate Dipped Strawberries