Just Let Go – Courtney Walsh – Harbor Pointe #2 – Tyndale – Published 5 June 2018
For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.
Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out–and the best way to avoid more negative press.
Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town–and Quinn’s life–possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.
Just Let Go is as delightful as its gorgeous cover; a beautiful story of redemption, forgiveness, and starting over, of learning to work for your dreams and learning when to let go.
Grady is a professional skier, Olympian, and, according to the world, a wash-up bound for forced retirement. A self-imposed road trip leads Grady to Harbor Pointe, where a judgmental comment leads to a fist-fight, which leads to Grady being sentenced to weeks of community service and being stuck in the infuriatingly small town. As soon as she sets eyes on Grady Benson, Quinn Collins knows he is bad news. They come from different worlds – while he was off living the high life and has no qualms putting holes in the walls of diners, she has lived her whole life in Harbor Pointe, working towards her dream of owning her own flower shop, creating the best design for the upcoming Winter Carnival, and entering her designs into the Floral Expo. She is on the verge of realising that dream and the last thing she needs is to babysit the egotistical skier for the duration of his community service. But there is more to Grady than is reported in the tabloids, and Quinn is holding onto her own hurts. Can the two learn to work together?
Just Let Go was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it was everything I expected it to be. After reading Just Look Up and loving it, I was excited to read this second novel in the Harbor Pointe series. Each of the two books can be read as standalones, with complete story lines, a few character crossovers, and the same delightful, small-town setting. Just Let Go is a complicated and layered story of relationships, dreams, and the faith needed to overcome the hurts of the past.
The character growth and development in Just Let Go is outstanding. Grady is not your average, perfect, happy-ever-after ideal hero. He’s got some serious flaws -like a huge ego, a painful past that is holding him captive, and a lifestyle that matches his carefree, risk-taking, I-don’t-need-to-work-for-anything attitude. And while most girls fall at his feet, he’s certainly not Quinn’s idea of the perfect man. Grady takes pleasure in irritating Quinn and pushing her buttons, while Quinn tries her hardest to avoid him altogether. But between working together on the Winter Carnival and Grady taking an interest in the skiing abilities of Quinn’s nephew, Quinn can’t seem to avoid him. Their relationship starts off volatile and endures plenty of bumps as they navigate a slow friendship and share hard truths with each other. The romance is all the sweeter for their troubles.
Yet, it is not just Grady who has past hurts and regrets to work through. Quinn has faced her mother’s rejection, the pain of which has kept her tied to Harbor Pointe and endlessly working for a chance to prove her worthiness. She has never allowed anyone to get close to her heart, so she is beyond surprised when she finds Grady a little bit charming underneath that infuriating smirk.
With all the charm of a small town and its caring community members, Just Let Go mixes touches of family and friendship with romance, faith, and self-discovery. My only complaint is that it wasn’t longer as I could have happily read much more of Quinn and Grady. Yet, I will content myself with glimpses of the continuation of their story in future Harbor Pointe novels, and I greatly look forward to whatever story Courtney Walsh crafts next, which is sure to be as delightful as this one.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Relationships, Perseverance, Family, Romance, Small businesses, Florists, Olympic champions, Skiing, Community service, Abandonment.
Published: 5 June 2018 by Tyndale House Publishers.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 416 pages.