Another story with complex characters and sweet romance... A Gift to Cherish by Victoria Bylin (Review) @JustReadTours

A Gift to Cherish
(Road to Refuge #2)
By Victoria Bylin
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 359 Pages
February 4th 2020


When Daisy Riley arrives in Refuge, Wyoming to live with her brother and his family, she intends to stay forever. A victim of violence in Los Angeles, Daisy craves stability, peace of mind, and safety. Her hope comes true when she lands a job as a personal assistant to Miss Joan Prescott, the owner of Cottonwood Acres, a historic ranch that once served as the set for a famous TV show. A retired college professor, Miss Joan has secrets and stories of her own, including a very unusual project that requires Daisy’s skills.

Rafe Donovan, a cop from Cincinnati, is haunted by a recurring nightmare about the death of his high school sweetheart and his failure to save her. Because of the nightmares, Rafe takes leave from the police department and seeks psychological help. He finds shelter in Refuge, where he pounds nails for his brother’s construction business. But he has no desire to stay in Wyoming and plans to return to Ohio as soon as possible.

When he finds Daisy Riley stranded late at night with a flat tire, Rafe is impressed by her courage. Daisy is equally impressed by him. Together they navigate the road to love—one complicated by the arrival of Daisy’s troubled best friend, online dating, and the impossible obstacle of 1,600 miles between her home and his.

AUTHOR NOTE: "This story contains mature subject matter. It's about our current dating culture, including the risks of online dating. It also looks at the social mores of 1970s and how those values impact today's women."

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My Review

A GIFT TO CHERISH is one of those stories that blends a past romance with a present one as one woman befriends another who is just figuring out how to live and trust in the God she believes in. It full of imperfect characters who have learned or are learning from their pasts while trying to find the right future, and one led by God. The characters are very genuine and the romance is sweet, making for an overall enjoyable story.

I have to just state that this book was good and I liked the characters in all their messiness, but it was also quite tough to read in places and I didn't always connect with this book as much as I was hoping to. In places it was like watching a freight train and knowing where it's slowly going and not being able to stop it. Both Rafe and Daisy had demons in their pasts, as did Miss Joan and Chelsea. Miss Joan had the wisdom of her age and a lesson already learned, making her the perfect person to help Daisy through some of her confusion. Chelsea was still a loose cannon, as far as I was concerned, and one I thought might bring danger back into Daisy's life. I leaned a bit towards Daisy cutting her loose because she didn't need the extra stress and risk after what she had already been through.

Then there was the main romance between Daisy and Rafe. Daisy at least had already had her faith crisis, so she was good in that way, but she was still learning to trust God and see that maybe what she thought was her future might be different in His hands. Rafe was working through some difficult things in his past, especially as a cop who had to function on the job and not let that past affect his job. I loved that both Rafe and Daisy were completely blindsided by each other. They find attraction and a chance at love between them. It wasn't in either of their plans, but someone else had a different path for them if they would choose it. Thank goodness that there was a sweet HEA ending that made the rough patches worth the struggle and challenges these characters faced!

I did feel like the story dragged on. I think the secondary story with Miss Joan wasn't my favorite part, but then also Rafe and Daisy's romance just kind of felt stretched out for me and with a chunk of the story dealing with Chelsea. At 80 percent through I was ready for the story to be done, which is very unusual for me with this author. Maybe it wasn't the right story for me to read right now as I just didn't connect with it like I usually do with Bylin's stories, and like I did with her last book.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was a rough read with a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. The characters were likable, the faith aspect strong and inspiring, and the romance was sweet. Overall, it's one I'd recommend to Christian contemporary romance or women's fiction readers.

Content: References to assault, date-rape drugs, an affair, but no specific details.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through JustRead Publicity Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

When He Found Me
(Road to Refuge #1)
By Victoria Bylin
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 379 Pages
March 16th 2019


Love Discovered . . . Hope Renewed

Once a strong Christian, third baseman Shane Riley lost his faith the night he injured his knee in a freak car accident. Determined to return to professional baseball and to find the sister he treated badly, Shane retreats to Refuge, Wyoming. There he meets Melissa June “MJ” Townsend, a single mom battling the virus that causes cervical cancer.

MJ wants nothing to do with the handsome athlete—no doubt a womanizer considering the stories in the news. But when a mistake results in Shane renting her garage apartment, they become friends. That friendship blossoms into something deep and pure, leaving MJ with a painful secret to tell. Even more complicated, she discovers an unexpected tie to Shane’s missing sister—a wounded woman who wants nothing to do with the perfect brother who scorned her.

Read my review HERE.

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Have you read either of the books in this series or other books by this author?

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