Professional renovator Tish Amble decided long ago that staying in one place is about as exciting as peeling wallpaper from plaster. So before the paint in each newly transformed home is dry, Tish is researching her next move. This time she chooses a small town in Michigan with a dilapidated Victorian that challenges her imagination.
But Tish's idyllic small-town dream fizzles when she finds more in the creepy basement than what was revealed on the seller's disclosure-what looks like traces of foul play. With a hovering police officer living next door and a possible love interest just two doors down, Tish has her hands full. Will she discover the truth before it's too late?
Nicole Young has a degree in communications and has earned several awards for speechwriting and presentation. In 2004 she won the Noble Award for the Best First Chapter from the American Christian Romance Writers. Nicole lives with her family in Garden, Michigan. This is her first novel.
Nicole Youngs debut novel, Love Me If You Must, is a tale of personal restoration that develops in a life that has been devastated. Tish Amble finds much more adventure than she expects in the seemingly untainted town of Rawlings. As the usually withdrawn Tish develops relationships with the locals, she recognizes not only the faults and virtues behind their appearances, but she also starts to understand some of her own shortcomings and strengths. Though tragedy strikes, guilt prods, hormones soar, preconceptions press, and the past haunts, she ultimately accepts and moves on in the peace and hope of God and His love.
Tish Amble is renovating a Victorian-era home to sell before moving on to her next project. Her own basement lends much to her mental and emotional instability, first when she sees a startling but unproven vision of a bodys imprint in the cement that fills in the houses old cistern, and then again when a body really is discovered in her basement and she becomes the primary suspect for the crime and the laughingstock of the small town. When she learns that her dream British hunk is involved in some suspicious goings-on, she finds herself in the midst of the criminal chaos, despite her innocence. She is helped greatly by her police officer neighbor, who always seems to have her back, even though she doesnt trust him. Tish soon finds herself being pursued by the real killer in a desperate chase, but survives and is able to uncover her redeeming evidence and help put the case to rest.
The suspense and confusion of unsolved crimes and budding relationships find Tish holding back and pushing forward at the same time, trying to clear her name and be free of her past while behaving in eccentric and suspicious ways that only draw more attention to herself. Tishs behavior often seems unrealistic and over the top, and her imagination is even more sporadic than her actions. In her mind, she eventually accuses practically everyone she meets. Her withdrawn and untrusting personality keeps her on guard against her new neighbors. However, she quickly gets caught in a misleading love triangle with two Rawlings men and becomes friends with several people she judged too harshly at first. In the midst of ever-increasing drama and chaotic events, Tish struggles to carry on with her life while her past still haunts her.
Though the story gets off to a slow start, once the action gets rolling, Love Me If You Must is able to draw the readers in just enough to keep them interested. At times, several of the characters actions seem unrealistic and exaggerated. A few subtle twists will catch the reader off guard, but it does not take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out where the plot is headed. I wouldnt advise any hardcore mystery readers to indulge in this book, but if you are looking for a light novel with some romance and mystery thrown in, Love Me If You Must is a good pick. Laura Coulter, Christian Book Previews.com