When I Fall in Love is the third book in Susan May Warrens Christiansen series, following Take a Chance on Me and It Had to be You. When I Fall in Love is about daughter Grace, who wants to be a chef. Its set partially in Deep Haven, so there are some mentions of characters from the Deep Haven series. But its also partly set in beautiful Hawaii, where Grace participates in a cooking contest with hunky hockey player Max Sharpe. Hawaii and food. Whats not to love?
Despite the title, When I Fall in Love wasnt the standard lightweight romance (Susan May Warren novels never are). There are family complications in the relationship between Max and Grace, one of whom is Owen, Graces younger brother, who used to play on the same pro hockey team as Max. The other complication is Max, who has decided never to marry because of his family history. Theres also a subplot featuring Raina Beaumont (Lizas niece, from Happily Ever After), and this looks as though its setting up the next novel in the series.
Ive read a few foodie novels over the last few months, including A Table by the Window, While Love Stirs, and Stones for Bread. Theyve all been excellent, as is When I Fall in Love. Is there some kind of subliminal message there? I even highlighted her sauce recipe: brown sugar, molasses, honey (thats three kinds of sugar. It sounds good already), Worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Yum. Its not exactly barbecue season here in New Zealand, but Ill have to try this sometime.
However, its not the food that most impresses me about Susan May Warrens writing. Its the way she manages to seamlessly integrate solid Christian principles into her novels without ever sounding preachy. In When I Fall in Love, its Grace who has the spiritual lesson to learn, a lesson about abiding in Jesus and not just following Him. Its a lesson we can all benefit from. Recommended.
Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for providing a free ebook for review.
Rich. Decadent. Almost better than chocolate. That's the kind of read this is. Warren drops her readers into a fictional world that is so real it's believable. And then she pummels them with angst and drama and humour and snappy dialogue until they're begging for more. And she delivers, her readers are hooked and a habit is formed.
But woe to the poor characters who have leapt from her imagination into the pages of this book. She is not kind to them. In fact, she has a distinctly cruel streak when it comes to creating havoc for the Christiansen family. Honestly, there was one secondary plot where I had to read with one eye closed, wincing all the while. In fact, I thought I'd skip those scenes, but the author doesn't play fair. Enticing dialogue, rapier wit, heart crushing angst -- how can a reader resist? Anxiously awaiting future books to see how that particular gnarly mess pans out.
The author's attention to detail enriches the read all the more. Whether it is foodie descriptions or the symbolism in Grace's name, every element adds even more dimension to an already riveting read. And the romance? Prepare your fainting couch. Exquisite.
But honestly, what moved me most about When I Fall in Love is the awesome inspirational thread. This is a story about trusting God -- completely. With your future. With your past. And definitely your present. We can't begin to live until we surrender all to Him. Amen and amen.
When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren is another book in the Christiansen Family Series. This book deals with Grace and Casper Christiansen and their perspective love interests. Grace is unwillingly sent on a culinary school vacation in Hawaii for three weeks and meets Maxwell Sharpe. Casper meets Raina, a new girl in town during a rainstorm in which her car is stuck in the mud.
This is the second Christiansen Family novel I've read and so far this one is my favorite. At first, I was thinking it was just your typical romance novel, with mushy one-liners and lots of love at first sight. But this novel goes deeper and shares some insight and inspiration in the character's (and as it turns out mine as well) relationship with God. One of my favorite lines in the book talk about how you can't fix someone, only Jesus can. It is so true. That is just a taste of how Susan May Warren uses the characters' stories to encourage and turn the reader to seek God. I really enjoyed the story and want to read more about this complex and complicated family.
I really like Susan May Warren and her style of writing. Yes, she writes a pretty, predictable romance, but I like the balance of faith and love she puts into her writing. I didn't really like the flipping back and forth between Max and Grace and Casper and Raina, but that because I wanted to know it was all going to end and that just prolonged it all. I'm still curious how Raina's story is all going to end up. I think I know, but it will be a long journey to get there. I'm ready for the rest of the Christiansen family series now.
I fell in love with the Christiansen family during the first book and enjoyed reading Grace's story now. Grace, the daughter who is content to not leave the nest and be with her family, the very family that sent her to Hawaii for a cooking course vacation. Her sister Eden wants Grace to be prepared to cater her wedding to hockey star Jase. Jase's teammate Max is also headed to Hawaii for his yearly cooking course vacation and was asked to look out for Grace. The two develop a friendship but each must deal with their own issues in order for the friendship to proceed. We were also given a tiny peek into Grace's single brother's lives and hopefully we will get to read their stories soon.