It Had To Be You
A Christiansen Family Novel book 2
by Susan May Warren
-From the back cover-
Come home to
WHERE FAITH AND FAMILY
MEET REAL LIFE.
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 dreams 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 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 of 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 onto 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.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series and wondered if the second one could live up to it. I wasn't even an entire chapter into the story before I realized that it could and most definitely did.
I've never been much of a fan of romances, instead preferring books that focus on another genre and have a nice side of romance, but I do make exceptions. It Had To Be You, and its predecessor Take A Chance On Me, are definite exceptions.
When I started reading It Had To Be You, I thought it would take me a few days to finish. Boy, was I wrong! I found myself 50 page in, then 200, but then I was finally forced to put it down at 3 am so I could sleep. As soon as I got home that afternoon I picked it back up and vanished back into the story, skipping the movie the others watched, and before I knew I was turning the last page.
This Book earned a 4.5 Bark rating.
Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories, that I hope inspire and entertain!
Visit Susan's Website
It Had To Be You was an overall entertaining but somehow it was also extremely thought provoking as well. So many lessons were very cleverly woven into the story in such a way that you almost think it's your own idea.
If you love romance, are a hockey/sports fan or both D.O. N.O.T. miss this book!
I Really Do Miss Your Smile – prequel novella
Ever wonder how John and Ingrid Christiansen – the parents in this series – got together? I did off and on through both books. They seemed so wise and loving but what was their story and how did they get that way?
This novella was a lovely short read, sweet, and people that grew up in the 70's will find it wonderfully nostalgic. It was kind of funny as I read it that I forgot John and Ingrid were married and several kids, I even wondered a time or two if they would get together. Susan May Warren did an excellent job with this prequel to a wonderful series!
Tell Tale Book Reviews gives It Had To Be You (and bonus content) by Susan May Warren a 4.5 Bark rating.
Q & A with Susan May Warren about her brand new book
It Had To Be You
The Christiansen Family series is a spin-off of the bestselling Deep Haven collection, stories about the townspeople of Deep Haven, Minnesota, a tiny resort town on the north shore of Lake Superior. The original series started with a book titled Happily Ever After and grew to include six titles. However, one family began to stand out, and we decided their story needed to be told. We wanted a series about a family with adult children learning what it meant to carry on the legacy of faith into their lives. And I wanted to write a series that would really let readers dig into the family, feel like they were a part of their journey.
It’s a gorgeous place to set a story—on the rocky shores of Lake Superior, in a tiny town where everyone knows your name. It’s a town with a rich heritage, strong ties, and a place where people want to escape—in fiction and in real life (as it is modeled after my town of Grand Marais, Minnesota). You’ll find people from all walks of life here—and most importantly, Evergreen Resort, run by the Christiansen family for four generations.
Of course, I hope people fall as much in love with the Christiansens as I have. They’re a great bunch—all led by John and Ingrid Christiansen, who have tried to instill their values into their children. But each child has their own path to walk, and part of the series is just watching as they walk that path—through the good and the bad, trying to figure out where their faith and their parents’ legacy fit into their lives. It’s a contemporary epic family
series set in the wilds of northern Minnesota with romance, suspense, and lots of great family drama!
Eden Christiansen came from a number of places. Watching the siblings of movie stars and athletes, watching my own daughter cheer her athlete brothers, even watching my friends, parents who feel on the sidelines of their children’s lives . . . maybe even a little left behind as they leave for college. I began to wonder—what if you had an amazing sibling, and your entire family focused on his or her successes, and you felt left behind, void of your own amazingness? This is Eden—who feels like she hasn’t accomplished anything and is sitting on the sidelines of her life. She feels like she needs to “get into the game” but doesn’t know how or where to start. And she feels like she really has nothing spectacular to offer . . .
But God has different plans . . . ☺
Jace was loosely modeled after famed Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard, who died, in part, due to the many concussions he suffered as a hockey player. The problem of concussions with today’s athletes, especially in hockey and football, can be life-threatening for athletes, and although hockey (and football!) is played much differently today, it’s still an issue.
I wanted Jace to have the opposite problem from Eden—he is only good at one thing. In fact, he’s spectacular at it, but he believes if he walks away from it, he will be nothing. So same problem . . . different perspective. It gave me a good opportunity as an author to examine our “worth.”
Of course, adding the John Doe element only rounded that theme out with yet another perspective. I loved how these three angles came together.
I think we all need to see our worth not in relationship to our external successes but in how we work out the task God has for us. How we love one another, how we use our gifts and talents. How we abide with God in our daily lives. Hopefully readers will begin seeing their worth in a new way.
I am hoping readers walk away from this book, and this series, with hope. The sense that they belong to something—to God, to family—and the feeling that our lives are not chaotic or out of control, but that God has a
unique and amazing journey for each of us, and it’s lived out within our relationships. I want them to feel as if they’d found a new set of friends.
People fell immediately in love with Darek and his sweet son, Tiger, in Take a Chance on Me, and I think readers will really enjoy Jace and Eden’s romance in this story. I’m thankful that people enjoy the work I put into developing my characters and the romance, and I have loved diving into these multilayered stories about people with realistic, everyday struggles.
I loved writing about Minnesota in the winter. And I loved the story of John Doe and uncovering who he might be. (I plotted it like a mystery, so it was fun to revisit my mystery-plotting techniques). I especially loved the layers of Jace, the hero, and how, with every turn, he became more intriguing.
Try to up your writing game with each book, and just keep writing. Not every story appeals to every reader, but I try to write a story I would enjoy—and then hopefully my readers will also.
I think I’ve stayed true to who I am and the kind of story I’m supposed to be writing. I’m very blessed by my reader friends and their constant encouragement. I am very blessed to spend my days with the Christiansen family!
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (January 17, 2014)
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