Stay With Me – Becky Wade – A Misty River Romance #1 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 5 May 2020
When acclaimed Bible study author Genevieve Woodward receives an anonymous letter referencing her parents’ past, she returns to her hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains to chase down her family’s secret. However, it’s Genevieve’s own secret that catches up to her when Sam Turner, owner of a historic farm, uncovers the source of shame she’s worked so hard to hide.
Sam has embraced his sorrow, his isolation, and his identity as an outsider. He’s spent years carving out both career success and peace of mind. The last thing he wants is to rent the cottage on his property to a woman whose struggles stir his worst failure back to life. Yet can he bear to turn her away right when she needs him most?
Stay With Me is the first book in a new series by Becky Wade. As always, Becky Wade captures flawed characters in relatable situations and combines that with powerful messages of family, love and faith.
Genevieve is a popular and very successful bible study writer and speaker. But after an accident last year and a stressful schedule and deadlines, she found herself turning to prescription pain medication. When, after setting off for her parents’ house, she wakes to find herself in an empty guest cottage being regarded by the owner with some concern, she decides she finally has to kick her habit and get clean. She asks Sam, owner of the cottage, if she can rent the cottage from him as a place to hide while going through withdrawal and recovery. Sam has his own reasons for wanting to stay far away from the confusing woman he found asleep in his guest house, but he also feels a strong responsibility to help her.
I loved that this book considers a very serious topic of drug addiction. As Genevieve struggles to both admit she has a problem and faces the battle of overcoming her addiction, the very real possibility of how easy it is to fall into a prescription drug problem and the very serious fallouts are considered. But, more than that, the motivations behind Gen’s addiction are also regarded, both with understanding and grace. As a bible study presenter, Gen feels conflict over her addiction, her role as a speaker and her desire to keep everything under wraps.
I loved Sam. As a fellow Aussie, I appreciated his stoicism and down-to-earth manner. I also loved that while there a few mentions of his accent and a few Aussie words and slangs thrown in, Becky Wade doesn’t go overboard with stereotypes or ridiculous use of slang. Thank you! I loved Sam’s rugged, healthy eating, farm to table, restaurant-owner vibe. It is the perfect offset for Genevieve’s outgoing personality. While he wants to stay as far away from Gen as possible, his own history, that we readers slowly discover along with Gen as she prods him to open up to her, makes it hard for him to turn his back on her need. They really are two opposites and yet they compliment each other so well. I loved their little fights and how, even though their differences, they can’t help but connect.
While this is a book about overcoming personal challenges, about resetting and falling in love, I was surprised to discover it is also a bit of a mystery. There is a pretty detailed description of a murder and Gen and her sister find themselves on the footsteps of a serial killer. He’s already been imprisoned, so there isn’t any suspense or danger, but the mystery added an extra layer to the story. There are also some pretty big surprises in the plot, that I didn’t see coming. Along with that, each chapter is started with a flashback from when Gen and her sister were young teens and were caught in an earthquake. As two of only five survivors, the real-time play out of the earthquake disaster alongside Gen reliving it as she confronts her past is powerful. The end of the book also sets up a compelling situation for what I hope will feature in book two. Hearts will be broken, I can just tell.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Adult fiction
Themes: Drug addictions, Rehabilitation, food, cooking, romance, family, crime, murder, mystery, bible studies,
Advisory: References to drug addiction, drug use and overdose. References to sexual relationships. References to and descriptions of murder and serial killers.
Published: 5 May 2020 by Bethany House Publishers.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 368 pages.