Everybody knows everything in Valley Oaks, population 1,947. And that puts Dr. Gina Philips at a distinct disadvantage when she arrives from Southern California for her favorite cousin’s wedding. Had Gina really thought four weeks in the humid Midwest would help her recover from a failed relationship, a lost job, and a serious injury? As if that weren’t enough, there’s Brady Olafsson, a local who hangs around Gina, hinting at family mysteries and mostly just annoying her. Worse still, Gina’s cousins insist that Brady is a fabulous catch – wealthy, single, and a successful Christian author. In the midst of all this, Gina’s mother unexpectedly takes her to the local cemetery and reveals a secret that forever changes how Gina views her family, her future, and her relationship to Brady. A Journey by Chance, the first book in The Other Way Home series, is a moving novel of romance and healing, turning first impressions on end as Gina finds inspiration in the faith of others and joy in her own growing relationship with the Lord.
I really enjoyed this book by Sally John. It is the first in a new series and I will look forward to reading the ones to come. I found it to be quaint in its descriptions of small-town characters and going-ons, fulfilling stereotypes of “small town America” on one hand and then breaking them on the other. The love story is very sweet and compelling. I enjoyed racing through this book to see how situations would be resolved. The love scenes were certainly not gratuitous, and I was actually a little disappointed that there weren’t more descriptions of their first kiss or first date etc. There was build up to the event and then very little description of it.
The characters were well described and I appreciated the fact that there was more than one love story being woven in this story. While the love story between Gina and Brady is the central one, the love story between Gina’s parents, Margaret and Reece.