It Had to Be You (Christiansen Family) by Susan May Warren
Tyndale House Publishers (January 17, 2014) 480 pages
My Rating: 4/5 stars
In this book, Eden takes center stage. I haven't read the first book, but it looks as though each of the six Christiansen siblings will get their own story. Eden(A name I LOVE, by the way! It was to be my little girl's middle name, only I ended up with boys. ;)) is used to being the "cheerleader" in her family, especially when it comes to her brother, Owen. She doesn't feel she has any real talent, unlike her amazing siblings, so she cheers from the sidelines. Owen is a hockey player, so she does so literally for him.
Jace is the "bad boy" of hockey, with fans coming to games hoping for a fight from him. His life and his health have suffered as a result! His life is complicated more by the fact that his best friend's daughter is having serious health problems. Through a great series of events, the characters within this story have to learn how much trust and faith they really have in God.
As is the case in most romances out there, there comes a point where I just want to smack the characters upside the head at the lack of communication and the abundance of false assumptions. Without them, though, we wouldn't have a story, would we?! ;) As much as I liked Eden, she was starting to get on my nerves. She has a guy being so super sweet, and she keeps rejecting him for crazy reasons. She finally comes to her senses and then he starts acting crazy. Mercy!
That said, I really did enjoy this book. I read an e-copy, so I was shocked to see it has almost 500 pages! (I didn't notice it!) Other than the few moments, I really connected with Eden! She is really sweet and caring. She's still searching for the talent that God has blessed her with. I can relate! The sweet bond that her family has warmed my heart. As with all families, there is trouble at times, but there is an abundance of love to make up for it.
I was surprised at how much I wanted to cry within the pages of this story. Of course, I seem to recall the same thing with her other books I've read, but it's been too long! There is a great deal of emotion tugging throughout, so if you're like me, just grab a few tissues before you settle in with this book. There's one point where a daddy is trying to sing "Jesus loves me" to his little girl through his tears, and I just had to turn my kindle off, and cry a little bit.
There's plenty of romance, and plenty of hockey for those of you who enjoy those things. I'm not a sports fan, but I still enjoyed the change of scenery in my reading. I've never claimed to be a sports fan of any kind, but I have always said hockey is my favorite sport. I've been to one game that I loved. I was surprised at the fighting aspect of hockey, though, sadly. I guess it comes with the territory. :S
Overall, I've loved Susan May's writing so far, and I'm looking forward to reading many more of them. I have quite a few of them on my library wishlist! Despite this being the second in a series, I never felt I was missing anything, so it can be read perfectly fine as a standalone!
*Thanks to Tyndale, Netgalley, and Litfuse Publicity for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!
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