Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review of "Together With You"

Rating:  4 Stars

Review:  Although Victoria Bylin has written many novels,  "Together With You" marks the second novel published by Bethany House and my first introduction to her writing.  "Together With You" is a novel that is multi-layered and rich in self-discovery, forgiveness, redemption, and nurturing relationships. The title and cover might suggest a simple and light-hearted love story, but the first chapter reveals deeper issues.  While Dr. Ryan Tremaine has a thriving medical business, his family is broken, and he is struggling from the guilt, pain, and consequences unleashed after having an affair that destroyed his marriage and his integrity.  Carly Mason is a compassionate college student and former social worker living far from her Kentucky roots.  After finding Dr. Tremaine's young daughter, Penny, Carly interacts with her in a warm manner that tugs at both the reader's and Ryan's hearts.  Despite Carly's reluctance to become emotionally invested in Penny, the relationship that develops between them has lasting effects on Penny and each member of the family.  

Victoria Bylin skillfully draws readers into the pain, joy, heartache, and struggles that can exist within a family and individual's hearts.  From Ryan's pain to the hurt and anger boiling within his young teenage son and the jumbled thoughts of young Penny, "Together With You" is a serious and thought-provoking novel.   Yet, these characters only represent a portion of the complete story.  Carly is a young woman who enters their home and seems to have the conviction and ability to meld each of their lives together.  Readers realize that she is also struggling with guilt from her past and a faith that has been tested.  

The tender and tentative relationship that develops between Carly and Ryan is masterfully developed between them as they work to respect each other, their differences, and their past mistakes.  The conclusion of "Together With You" offers readers a powerful message of forgiveness and of building faith and family.  

Victoria Bylin delivers a serious and reflective novel that will likely stir each reader's heart. Although "Together With You" was the first novel that I have read by her,  I anticipate reading more of Victoria Bylin's books in the future, beginning with  "Until I Found You," which was released May 2014.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Summary from Bethany House:   Sometimes the most unexpected love can be exactly what a heart needs...

When a Lost Child warning blares over the mall's PA system, Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that the child suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's past suddenly confronts her. Never again will she become personally involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart.
Dr. Ryan Tremaine is trying to put his life back together. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan has put his faith in his Sink-or-Swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruit Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.
Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

Known for her realistic and engaging characters, Victoria Bylin delivers an emotion-packed story reminiscent of The Sound of Music, one that reminds us all to believe in the power of faith and love.

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