"Why on earth would she believe in a God who forgives when you won't?" - Allie Gregory
Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.
Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.
When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.
About the Author:
Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and her two Hobbit-sized children.
You can learn more at her website www.karaisaac.com
My Review: 4 stars
I’ve always heard that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, I definitely can! I fell in love with the cover of this book the very first time I saw it and what’s between the covers is equally wonderful! I adored Ms. Isaac’s debut novel, Close to You , (click the title to see my review) and have been eagerly anticipating this book for months and I can very happily say that I was not disappointed!
I can’t decide what I most enjoy about Kara’s writing: maybe it’s her fantastic descriptions and the way she pulls me right into the chilly night in the first couple pages and through all of the seasons from there. Or maybe how the dialogue makes me laugh and feel like I’m a part of the story. Or possibly her quirky characters, with their literary obsessions and ability to make me fully invested in their happy ending. It’s probably a combination of all of the above and everything else that makes Kara’s writing so amazing. I loved how she incorporated quotes from C.S. Lewis and his novels, and drew me into the setting of Oxford and the surrounding areas. I do have to confess that I’ve never read any of C.S. Lewis’ books, nor have I seen The Chronicles of Narnia films, though now I really want to do both! Another thing about Kara’s books is that they make me so curious about Tolkien and Lewis, and I can’t wait to find out what her next book is about! I was also so excited to realize that Allie and Jackson were coming back! That was an awesome surprise and led to me quickly flipping back to the first book, so I could enjoy the ending to their story again (if you haven’t read it yet, it was sigh-worthy). My only negative comment is that the last few chapters felt a bit choppy, but that may have been intentional, and it’s a little hard to avoid it, especially when the chapters are fairly short and the author’s working to bring everything back together quickly.
Now for the characters (my favorite part!). Emilia Mason. There are so many things I could say about her. At first, I didn’t love her. Her attitude is more than a little prickly and it took a bit for her to firmly settle in my mind, but once she did, I had to love her. She’s such a broken heart and mine ached for her and the pain she carried. I enjoyed seeing her slowly come out of her shell and fall in love with England (and a certain rower), as well as rediscovering the magic of the Narnia she loved, and meeting a God she‘d never known.
As for Peter Carlisle, I just couldn’t resist loving him, especially since he isn’t the usual tall, dark, and handsome, or blond-surfer type romance novel hero. I loved that Kara chose to move away from that cliché and created Peter, the oh-so pale, red-haired, and lanky rower. Speaking of, I very much enjoyed learning more about rowing and appreciated how the author explained it, so that even someone as oblivious as me could understand what was going on. I loved getting to know Peter, with his kind heart, determination, faith, English accent and rowing obsession. He’s the perfect hero for Emilia and I adored their relationship: the sweet moments that made me sigh, the awkward moments that inspire a cringe, the funny moments to keep the story a little lighter.
Overall, I adored this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance, with some well-known literary favorites and English accents.
This is one of those books that you think about after you've finished it and just sigh. Such a good book! And that cover! It totally qualifies for the title of "cover candy"! I can't wait to learn what Kara is writing next! :)
As always, purchase links are below! Thanks for stopping by! Have a day filled with laughter!
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