I love Maple Valley, Iowa. I wish it was a real town that I could visit! If you've read Three Little Words or From the Start or One Enchanted Christmas, then you already know how charming (and Stars Hollow-like) the town is. Author Melissa Tagg takes readers back to Maple Valley in Like Never Before, the second book in her Walker Family series.
Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley's haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But when the newspaper she runs is in danger of closing, she pins all her hopes on a story that just might convince the new owner to keep the paper running.
After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker has the chance of a lifetime: a spot on a presidential campaign. But first he has to return to his hometown to sell the newspaper he's suddenly inherited.
But instead of a quick sale, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She's scrappy, but wounded. He's dependable, but lost. And working together to break the story on Maple Valley's unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.
For months now, I've been reading about Melissa Tagg's love for Logan Walker, whose love story is featured in Like Never Before. And now ... now I finally understand why she loves him so much! Logan isn't your typical romance novel hero—he's softer, kinder, more life-like. More like the kind of guy I'd like to find. (That's not to say Logan is weak. He's a strong, manly hero—he just isn't a stridently strong alpha male.)
Like Never Before is the story of speechwriter Logan and newspaper editor Amelia Bentley. The novel begins with an oh-so-cute email exchange, where Amelia is trying to get former reporter Logan to return to Maple Valley and write for "her" newspaper. Turns out, Logan actually owns the newspaper—the former publisher left it to Logan in his will. So Logan has to return to Maple Valley to figure out what to do with the paper ... and sparks fly. (Especially in what has to be one of my all-time favorite kissing scenes. I may never look at a janitor's closet the same way!)
Like Never Before isn't just all cute boy-meets-girl, though. Both Logan and Amelia are dealing with past hurts—his wife passed away, leaving him to raise their daughter alone while his career is taking off; she's recovering from a divorce she never wanted and the disappointment of a failed adoption—and are struggling to reclaim their faith. As they become closer, they push each other toward healing.
One thing I loved about the book is that it didn't end up like I thought it would. I mean, yes, Logan and Amelia get together. (I don't think I need to say spoiler alert because—hello!—this is a romance novel.) But where they end up in their lives is so different from what I imagined, and I have to say that I like Tagg's version better than my own!
I highly recommend Like Never Before to anyone who enjoys romance. Also, though this is book two (sort of three—there's also a prequel novella) in Tagg's Walker Family series, you can read this without having first read book one. And if you're a fan of old movies, you'll really enjoy the references in this book! 5 stars.
Portions of this review originally appeared on Coffee & Conversation.
Buy the book.
Visit fellow launch team member Michaela's blog for a chance to win a copy of the book!
Read my reviews of Tagg's Walker Family books Three Little Words (5 stars) and From the Start (5 stars), and the "Walker-adjacent" novella One Enchanted Christmas (5 stars).
Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last, Here to Stay, and the Walker Family series, is a former newspaper reporter, current nonprofit grant writer, and total Iowa girl. When she's not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever. She's passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings. Melissa blogs regularly at www.melissatagg.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this novel free from Bethany House Publishers as a member of Melissa Tagg's book launch team. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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