I loved this story! At first I had some doubts.... BUT Deeanne's writting just HOOKED me! LOVED IT! Funny (Johnnie especially!), HOT romance... heck, overall just one GOOOOD story! - WITH a GREAT message- truly.
This book was engaging and delightful. I found I was laughing and enjoying the characters immensely.
A drawback was that I found there was a bit more sensual content in it than there needed to be. In a romantic novel you expect kissing and holding and the like, but some of it was a little pushing it. After reading a few other of Deeanne's books, it seems like it is her style to include some content. It's not BAD, it's just a bit more than I expected. Although, it's not as much as other books of hers that I've read.
I was, also, a bit disappointed in how it was the impression that if you're good; you're "bad" but Rachel's determination to be as pure and respectable as possible is admirable. Even though it was disappointing, it was easy to see the way non-christians see us. The point was well made that Christian's often live in our own little bubbles where we don't associate with "sinners" even though Jesus himself did.
I have a lot of respect for Rachel van Buren's character. She was trying so hard to be a light in the dark where she was, but didn't realize that her actions and attitude towards the other women of the town wasn't a loving example of who she is in Christ. She was unchristlike, rude, and demeaning towards the women.
Thankfully she sees how her actions are not changing anything, but in fact making it worse. She realizes that she isn't being a good example of Christ's love and that she's judging them and setting herself up on a podium. She sees how she needs to stop looking at the speck of dirt in another's eye, when there is a plank in her own and to stop judging them because she has no idea what they are really like. (Matthew 7:1-6) She was seeing the woman at face-value, but when she gets to know them she realizes that they are no different than she is, they just made different choices and mistakes. She realizes that she can love them and accept them, but not accept their sin and follow the lifestyle that they choose. In the end she is able to find a way to help them and show them who Christ is, without judging them and making them feel worse than they already do.
Also, her love and devotion to her family is honorable and she tries to teach them and help them grow in the only way she knows how.
I found the book overall was a good read and had some good lessons in it. All in all a good book.
I can see where some of the other reviewers are coming from, as I was a little uncomfortable with some of the sexual tension, though mostly because I felt like I was intruding. I was also disappointed with the ending regarding Lissa, but not everything can end happily. All in all, though I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoy the attention to detail that this author uses and the actual anecdotes used. While I liked the first book better, I still liked this book and don't feel like I was cheated at all.
This was the first book I've read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. I won't say that I didn't feel uncomfortable with the sexual aspect of this book, which in my opinion didn't need such heavy emphasis and description. We can read that kind of romance in secular fiction. Still, it was extremely well written, and for that I give it 4 stars.