Sometimes the hardest road we travel is the one that leads us home.Jake Rawlings knew he had been born for more than life in the sleepy rural town of Bluff Creek. Being naturally athletically gifted and the son of one of the most renowned high school football coaches in the South, Jake knew he was destined for the life of a professional athlete and he would not let anything or anyone get in his way. But a series of unfortunate events leads to the loss of Jake’s dream, leaving him bitter and angry. He distances himself from his family and his hometown; vowing that when and if he does return to Bluff Creek, he will once again be the envy of everyone. In his relentless chase for fame and fortune, he finds himself hitting rock bottom with his sports bar on the brink of bankruptcy. Desperate to keep his business afloat and its financial woes a secret from everyone, including his wealthy, albeit spoiled, fiance, Whitney Peterson, Jake makes decisions that could cost him more than just money. While his life seems to be unraveling before his very eyes, he is suddenly called home to attend the funeral of his once beloved grandfather. And he’s shocked to find that the answer to his troubles might actually lie in Bluff Creek. At the tender age of eight, Julie Wooten fell head over heels in love with Jake Rawlings, only to have her heart crushed by his singular pursuit of fame and fortune. Julie’s life has changed dramatically in the years since Jake left town. Her hopes and dreams put away in an effort to keep the secret that altered her path forever. She thought she could live a peaceful life in Bluff Creek running her grandmother’s diner, but when Jake is forced to spend more time in their hometown than either of them would like, Julie feels anything but peace. And while she is determined to avoid Jake at all cost, he seems to be everywhere she turns. The more she sees him around town, the more she is torn between remembering why she fell in love with him to begin with and keeping him out of her life completely. Forced to stay in town longer than he planned, Jake finds a quiet inner calm that he hasn’t felt in years. And while he and Julie seem to be at odds at every turn, he also can’t seem to stop thinking about her. Past choices made by each of them threaten to shatter any calm he may have found at home. Faced with decisions that will alter both of their lives completely, Jake and Julie must decide if they will trust God or continue to force their own way, causing pain for not only themselves but everyone around them.
‘Why did he have to get hurt and lose his dreams? Why were other people’s lives so easy and his so hard?’
I discovered Amanda Mason last year with her ‘A Mountain Worth Moving’ and fell in love with her writing. This book only solidified that decision. It was very emotionally deep and powerful. Jake Rawlings, once on a fast track to a star football career, injures himself out of that dream, and must return to his small hometown when his grandfather dies. Something he does not want to do. So back home he goes, accompanied by a whining, demanding fiancé, who is not even sure he loves anymore, and finds that his life is going to be forever changed. Forced to stay in Bluff Creek for six months, Jake is totally at odds with the happenings in his life.
Mason brings her readers into a seemingly impossible situation, yet proves that God is the master of those types of things. He can make a river in the desert. If only these characters will allow Him to take control instead of stubbornly trying to fix their lives themselves. Well written with wonderful characters, this is one book I can truly highly recommend. I eagerly look forward to more from this author.