Friday, June 27, 2014

It Had to be You by Susan May Warren

It Had to be You by Susan May Warren

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I love Susan May Warren’s books! She’s not only a fantastic writer, she’s also a friend and one who mentors writers. 

Let’s begin with the summary:

Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen’s cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obits—and starting to fear she doesn’t have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.

Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior—on and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he’s getting from Eden Christiansen isn’t making things any easier. But when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

And now, my review:

Poor Eden feels like she has to oversee her brother’s life. She’s obsessed, actually, but that’s because she’s drawing her sense of worth and purpose from his successes. Imagine what happens to her when he fails or purposely doesn’t try. She’s stuck. 

Susan did something amazing with this story. I’m not a sports fan, and I especially dislike hockey, but I loved this story. One of the ways she kept hockey from overtaking the story was by adding a secondary thread—the father and daughter subplot of Sam and Maddy.  Such a touching journey of a little girl’s health problems and how her father sacrifices everything for her. 

Both Jace and Eden (our hero and heroine) believe some lies. Jace is convinced he’s a monster, full of hate and violence. In reality, there’s a heart under that enforcer exterior.

And Eden is convinced she’s living her life on the sidelines, that perhaps she’s not important enough to take center ring. The irony is she sees the potential in others, but not in herself. 

Jace’s challenge is he’s at risk for severe trouble if he sustains any more head injuries. But as a hockey player, and especially in his role as enforcer, he’s expected to be violent. Susan keeps the tension going with that concern. 

Great, layered writing!  

Highly recommended.

BONUS: If you've enjoyed this series,  you also get to read the prequel to the series if you pick up this book or e-book. Enjoyable!