Author Melissa Tagg can always be relied upon to deliver a story that is equal parts charming, heartwarming, and real. With her latest release, Like Never Before, she continues the Walker Family series in the same fashion with a few new people to love.
Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley’s haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher…if only she new who he was.
After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime–a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he’s inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.
But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She’s scrappy, but wounded. He’s dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley’s quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.
While this story is super sweet & fun (with a very swoon-worthy hero, I might add), it’s not just warm and cozy — it’s an emotional story of two people’s journey toward something new God is working in their lives. The element of faith propels the story to a new depth. I especially enjoyed the bits of wisdom and encouragement offered to Amelia and Logan from the most unexpected people.
This book is just so endearing! I loved so many things about it, let me just list them for you:
- the town — picturesque and clannish, just what a small town should be
- the Walker clan — especially catching up with Kate and Colton, Seth and Ava.
- Logan — particularly his penchant to take care of everyone around him, especially little Charlie
- Amelia — her obsession with winter and love of history and books
- the janitor’s closet — No, that’s not a typo. Melissa has a knack for making scenes interesting and unforgettable, especially in such a quirky place
- the subtle historical mystery — and fun bits of investigative journalism Amelia and Logan participate in concerning said mystery
- classic movie references –they make this movie lover happy!
- mostly the reminder that God waits with open arms
Logan and Amelia experience a renewal of faith. I love how real these characters are, with all their flaws and quirks and dreams and failings, they still persevere through the next step, the next choice — even when the destination is fuzzy. It’s a lesson to live in the now. In the happiness of s’mores made with candy bars. In the precious moments shared with the laughter of a child.
The ending is unexpected yet perfect. Not what I would have guessed as the reader, but it’s just one more way this story offers proof that God is never predictable but always in control. I’m ready for the next book already! Bring on book 3, Beckett’s story!
Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley for the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Visit my review of book 1, From The Start here.