Someone Like You – Victoria Bylin – Bethany House Publishers – Published 3 May 2016
Julia Dare is trying to run her own business, raise her young son, Max, and help her widowed mother. Her biggest worry, though, is keeping Max’s father from being a bad influence while still allowing the boy to spend time with his dad. When an account from her event-planning business sends her to Caliente Springs resort, she’s shocked to encounter Zeke Monroe, her college sweetheart.
Zeke is determined to keep Caliente Springs running despite financial trouble. When Julia walks back into his life, he’s surprised at the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client’s wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. With Zeke and Julia both pushed to their limits, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?
I have come to really enjoy Victoria Bylin’s writing. Realistic, flawed characters facing relatable challenges come together to confront everything that life throws at them. Someone Like You also celebrates second chances, family, and those special moments in life (even if they sometimes don’t go quite as planned).
Julia Dare is slowly rebuilding her life. She has started her own event planning business, has left her emotionally abusive partner, and is enjoying spending time with her delightful four-year-old, Max. An event planning opportunity leads her to Caliente Springs resort and into the path of old friend and boyfriend, Zeke Monroe. For Zeke, Julia is the bright spot in an otherwise challenge point in his life. The resort is in serious trouble, along with his job, his faith is on the rocks, and he is uncertain about what his future will hold. As Julia and Zeke reconnect, reminisce over their history, and face their current challenges together, they have a chance to rebuild a truly special relationship.
I very much enjoyed Julia and Zeke reconnecting. They have experienced so many trials – some of their own making, while others that are completely out of their hands. They struggle with their faith, grief and guilt. I particularly enjoyed Zeke’s journey through his emotional burnout and thought this was a poignant and often-ignored issue that many Christians might face.
The secondary characters where particularly vibrant in Someone Like You. Julia relies heavily on the support of her mother, so it was lovely that Ellen’s story is shared alongside Julia’s – along with a little extra romance. Zeke’s boss and mentor, George, also plays an important part in the story, and the employees of Caliente Springs seem more like a colourful, extended family. And then there is Julia’s ex, Hunter. I marvel at Julia’s patience. I think I would have punched him- multiple times, but Julia shows continual restraint and understanding, despite her anger.
Set against beautiful scenery and the excitement of a big wedding that needs to be planned in a short time, Someone Like You explores the importance of faith, family, and support for one another.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Family, relationships, dating, romance, parenting, weddings, event planning, resort management.
Published: 3 May 2016 by Bethany House Publishers.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 349 pages.