I've been busy enough as of late that I haven't done a lot of book reviews, but I've known Rachel Ward for years through the blogging community, and when she asked if I'd review Dear Jane, of course I said yes. Always a pleasure to share a friend's good news with the world. Or with a portion of the world. Okay, I have readers in a couple of countries that aren't the US. That counts, right?
Dear Jane is an LDS romance that follows Quinn Matthews on her mission and then home again, and all that happens afterwards. She and her best friend's brother fell in love right before she left to serve in Florida, but rather than staying home, she decided to fulfill her lifelong dream of being a missionary and went anyway, trusting him when he said he'd wait for her. Well, we all know how dangerous that is ... and the book's title will give it away that he did not, in fact, wait for her. She's devastated when she receives his "Dear Jane" letter, but she finishes out her mission with renewed focus, determined that she won't let it ruin her service.
I think it was this initial decision that propelled her through the rest of the book. She has a lot of stuff hit her when she gets home, but she digs in and focuses on the most important things, and that's part of what makes her a likeable character. She goes through her valleys, just as we all do, but then she gets back up again and keeps trudging forward.
I'm not going to give away too much of the plot because obviously, the goal here is for you to read the book for yourself, but I'll give a few hints. Love sometimes comes from the most unexpected places. When those closest to us betray us, we have to look inside - and up - to keep moving forward. And what I appreciated best of all? Being righteous is not a "get out of trials free" card like some people say it is. Righteous people will have problems, but keeping the commandments helps us know where to look for comfort when those problems hit.
There are several editing issues throughout, but I'm nitpicky and those things stick out to me, so I won't do more than give a brief mention of that. I found this book really enjoyable, and I hope you get the chance to check it out for yourself.
Purchase link: Amazon
Author's blog: Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug
Author's Facebook: Rachel Ward
Rachel Turner Ward graduated from Hillcrest High School after spending two years writing for the yearbook and the creative writing magazine. She then studied English at Brigham Young University—Idaho, graduating with an emphasis in Literary Studies. She has contributed to several online publications, including Mormon Mommy Blogs and SheSteals. She has written a personal blog since 2009, Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug. Rachel lives in Salt Lake with her six children and husband of 15 years.