Thursday, April 16, 2020

Review: "A Gift to Cherish" by Victoria Bylin

I read (and loved!) Victoria Bylin's When He Found Me last year (my review), so I was eager to read the second book in the Road to Refuge series, A Gift to Cherish.

When Daisy Riley arrives in Refuge, Wyoming to live with her brother and his family, she intends to stay forever. A victim of violence in Los Angeles, Daisy craves stability, peace of mind, and safety. Her hope comes true when she lands a job as a personal assistant to Miss Joan Prescott, the owner of Cottonwood Acres, a historic ranch that once served as the set for a famous TV show. A retired college professor, Miss Joan has secrets and stories of her own, including a very unusual project that requires Daisy’s skills.

Rafe Donovan, a cop from Cincinnati, is haunted by a recurring nightmare about the death of his high school sweetheart and his failure to save her. Because of the nightmares, Rafe takes leave from the police department and seeks psychological help. He finds shelter in Refuge, where he pounds nails for his brother’s construction business. But he has no desire to stay in Wyoming and plans to return to Ohio as soon as possible.

When he finds Daisy Riley stranded late at night with a flat tire, Rafe is impressed by her courage. Daisy is equally impressed by him. Together they navigate the road to love—one complicated by the arrival of Daisy’s troubled best friend, online dating, and the impossible obstacle of 1,600 miles between her home and his.

A Gift to Cherish continues Daisy Riley's story, which began in When He Found Me. (The book does work as a stand-alone novel, but I think it holds more impact if you understand what Daisy went through in When He Found Me.) With her abuser behind bars, Daisy is starting over in Refuge, Wyoming. She quickly meets an amazing man (Rafe) and lands an amazing job working for Miss Joan, owner of an historic ranch. Then her troubled friend moves to town, and Daisy's path—job wise and relationship wise—becomes murky. 

I enjoyed many things about this novel, but by far my favorite part was Miss Joan's story. This is really just a secondary plot, but I would've happily read an entire novel about her! I loved the way her story was slowly revealed, and I especially loved that the parts when she was remembering the past were written in first person—it just made me feel so connected to the story.

Daisy's story and Rafe's story were enjoyable separately, but I wasn't incredibly invested in their romance. In fact, when I had about 20 pages to go, the thought ran through my head that I would be just fine with them deciding to go their separate ways! (I won't spoil anything, but this is a romance, so you can probably guess how it ends ...)

I did really appreciate that human trafficking and the dangers of online dating were brought into the novel. And I also loved Miss Joan's brand of Christian feminism (I guess that's what you'd call it?). 

Overall, I did enjoy this novel; I just didn't love it in the way I've loved some of this author's other novels. 3-1/2 stars.

Buy the book. (affiliate link)
Read my reviews of Bylin's When He Found Me (5 stars), Someone Like You (4-1/2 stars), and The Two of Us (4 stars).

Known for her realistic, likable characters and vivid writing, Victoria Bylin writes both western and contemporary inspirational romance. Together With You, a story about family and forgiveness, won the FHL Readers Choice Award for Best Contemporary, and her historicals have finaled in the Carol Awards, Rita Awards, and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Her most recent book, The Two Of Us, was a "Target Recommends" selection in August 2017.She and her husband currently live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law, and three adorable grandchildren.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from JustRead Publicity Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small 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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