Someone Like You
By Victoria Bylin
Bethany House, 2016
Single mom Julia Dare has a lot on her plate.
A brand new Christian, Julia is busy trying to run her own business, spend time with her widowed mother, and raise her young son, Max, despite his father's less-than-ideal influence on him. When a big account from her event-planning business sends her to the Caliente Springs resort, she's shocked to come face-to-face with Zeke Monroe, the resort's general manager and her college sweetheart.
With his faith in tatters, Zeke Monroe is determined to keep the historic Caliente Springs resort running despite financial difficulties. But when Julia walks back into his life, he can't ignore the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client's dream wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. When Zeke and Julia are pushed to their limits both personally and professionally, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?
|Pismo Beach, CA|
Someone Like You is everything Christian fiction should be … It has an engrossing storyline, picturesque setting, engaging characters who struggle with serious life issues, and relevant spiritual themes. The cover hints at a charming contemporary romance, but don’t be deceived because there is so much more – as is the case with all of Victoria’s books. I can’t explain what it is about Victoria’s writing, but her novels have that indefinable “something” which creates an emotional pull that captures my heart.
A compelling Christian romance that tackles tough topics head-on … a description all too rare in Christian fiction. And that is exactly what Victoria does so beautifully in this story by reflecting real life where Christians struggle, not just with “comfortable” sins, but with serious ones. They fall, and fall hard. As Julia points out to Zeke, “Getting up takes a lot more time than falling down.”
Someone Like You takes place in the idyllic setting of a California resort, Caliente Springs, and from the lead characters all the way to the stable manager, everyone feels real. Several social issues come into play – narcissism, premarital sex, guilt, loss of faith, burnout, manipulation and control.
Narcissism - extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view
of one's own talents and a craving for admiration;
the pursuit of gratification from vanity
I don’t believe I’ve seen a narcissist featured before and found Hunter’s character fascinating, even though he got under my skin and I hated to see him enter a scene. I even felt an underlying theme about the need to examine our motives and be very careful in choosing who to date. Julia lived with something that we all know very well – that although our sins are freely forgiven, their results can be long lasting.
And then there’s the incredibly delightful brown goat, Ladybug! Comic relief, yes, but more than that, I think she’s symbolic of the wild, lost and lonely parts of us … the internal battle between the godly desires and the flesh-and-blood humanness. Someone Like You is full of spiritual insight, one of the most meaningful being that God’s grace is abundant in the midst of our failures – for we serve a God of new beginnings, who can fix that which is broken, who makes all things new. I think this beautiful passage that Victoria quoted at the beginning reflects the story’s overall theme …
“I will give you a new heart and put a
new spirit in you; I will remove from you your
heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
- Ezekiel 36:26
Someone Like You goes on my “best of the best” list. Highly recommended.
Victoria Bylin writes contemporary and historical romances known for their realistic, relatable characters. Her work has finaled in contests such as the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and the RT Reviewers' Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky.
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Thank you to Bethany House and Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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