Monday, May 4, 2015

London Tides - Carla Laureano

London Tides (MacDonald Family Trilogy #2)Publisher:        David C. Cook

Market:            Christian

Genre:             Fiction; Christian Romance

Series:              MacDonald Family Trilogy #2

Length:            340 pages

Pub. Date:       June 1, 2015

Description (from Amazon):

Irish photojournalist Grace Brennan travels the world’s war zones documenting the helpless and forgotten. After the death of her friend and mentor in the field, Grace is shaken.

She returns to London hoping to rekindle the spark with the only man she ever loved—Scottish businessman Ian MacDonald. But he gave up his championship rowing career and dreams of Olympic gold years ago for Grace ... only for her to choose career over him. Will life’s tides bring them back together ... or tear them apart for good this time?

My Review:

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy via the publisher at NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is another book that the editor at The Christian Manifesto sent out for review, and I picked up based solely on reading the description.  As a result, I didn’t have many expectations going into it.  I didn’t even know it was a part of a series until I added it to my Goodreads.  It definitely is a book that can be read as a standalone as I didn’t feel like I was missing anything from the previous book while reading this one.

I really enjoyed the characters of Grace and Ian.  Grace clearly has issues she needs to work through from her past.  However, she was in denial to that; it wasn’t until push comes to shove that she realizes she doesn’t have it all as under control as she thinks.  I was cheering her along the whole time.  Ian is just a genuinely nice guy.  Really, a picture of forgiveness and grace.  In fact, if I have one issue with him it’s that he forgives even when I don’t think I would be able to.  He’s almost too perfect.  But isn’t that how we like our heroes in romances?

The supporting characters of Asha and others in the story strike just the right night of supportive, adequately developed characters without stealing the show.

The book is well paced without dragging description or convoluted prose.  The last bit did seem rushed to get to the conclusion.  It was almost like the author wasn’t sure what new conflict to add and so was ready to get to the happy ending.

The story world of both London and glimpses Grace’s previous photojournalist life were easy to immerse myself in.  Having been to London, it was fun to “visit” places again. 

The romance in this story was believable.  Ian and Grace seem to genuinely care for each other, yet their individual issues (specifically Grace’s) seem to get in the way at times.  Ian’s patience goes above and beyond, a picture of forgiveness that Grace needs to see.

The book isn’t overtly spiritual.  Grace’s faith is mentioned a few times throughout the book.  It comes into play that her belief in God and Him taking care of her is what has helped her get through many of her difficult times.  However, her faith doesn’t seem to be helping her work through the issues those difficult times created.  None of the characters seem to have a vibrant, growing relationship with God. 

There are some scenes that get a bit steamy but none cross a typical conservative line.  There are also words used that are considered British curse words.  I don’t think either of these things are enough to alienate any but the most conservative readers.   I tend to be pretty conservative when it comes to those two areas and was not offended. 

I think this book would appeal to readers of contemporary romances who want a sweet story with authentic character growth.  It can be read by both Christians and non-Christians alike.  I sped through the book.  However, I have no idea where they would take the series from here.  All the loose strings seem nicely wrapped up.  Perhaps the next book will bring one of the supporting characters into the spotlight?

Pros:  likeable characters; true feeling; realistic

Cons:  a few seriously romantic scenes; some British swear words

My Rating:  4 out of 5 (very good)


***This review is also posted on The Christian Manifesto and Goodreads.

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