It's been a long time coming but Jess finally gets her story! I was first introduced to this character in Kristi Ann Hunter's first novel, A Noble Masquerade, which remains to this day one of my favorite Christian romance novels. It was so inspiring and taught me a lot about forgiveness and sacrifice. This book was a learning experience as well, particularly with the complex background given to Jess and how her hero fits into it all. There were so many twists and turns, and while the story began a bit slow for me, it picked up and became one that I couldn't put down.
Jess has been hiding a secret for ten years, one that, if discovered, could mean not only her death but the death of the people she loves. But now, with the discovery that someone she long thought dead is possibly alive, it's time for her to come out of hiding to help. With the assistance of Derek Thornbury, an irritating yet highly intelligent man, Jess must find an object long hidden in myth and legend in order to save her family - and her future.
Jess and Derek were an interesting couple. They seemed oddly paired at first, constantly bickering and with very little common, so I had a hard time getting invested in their relationship. I didn't see where the story could possibly go that would lead to them getting together. Of course, the author knows best, and I clearly didn't see the direction she was going. I kept on reading and eventually saw a glimmer of interest in Jess, a spark of longing in Derek, and once that happened, I was hooked. Jess was a very complex character, having a long and windy backstory, and she was understandably jaded with the world. Derek had largely been sheltered and saw things in black and white, so he didn't understand how she could live her life in such shades of grey. They were well suited to each other, once they spent more time together. The second half of the book was particularly heart wrenching, as the reader watches them grow closer, even though they know it could never work if her plan comes to fruition. And then watching them deal with that knowledge was...just lovely. I would have liked the ending to be a bit more drawn out, but I loved it for what it was. Romance.
I can't wait to see what Kristi Ann Hunter writes next! I always enjoy her stories and her characters draw me in so well. Exciting times ahead, I'm sure.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**