Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Review: "Since You've Been Gone" by Tari Faris

Tari Faris's Restoring Heritage series is the series I've been most excited about continuing this year ... so I'm happy to report that the newest installment (releasing in early September) doesn't disappoint!

Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah's past difficult, he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.

Jon is trying to prove to the Heritage Fruits board that he, not his manipulative uncle, should be running the business. The board insists Jon find a new owner for the building that will house Leah's business. To avoid forcing a buyout of Leah's part of the building, Jon strikes a compromise with Leah, and the two go into business together. With her vision and his know-how, it might work. And Leah might realize he's loved her since high school. If only he didn't keep on shooting himself in the foot by boxing her out of important decisions.

Sparks fly in this romantic story of two people who must learn to trust both each other and the one who called them to this journey.

One of my very favorite things about Tari Faris's novels is that she gives you two romances for the price of one. Sometimes when authors do this, it can be a little obnoxious, but I always love Faris's couples equally (or nearly). I wish the back cover copy (which I'm sure is decided by the publisher, not the author) would give a hint of the second romance, as it was the romance I was most drawn to in Since You've Been Gone.

Madison will be familiar to readers of You Belong With Me, as she was engaged to Thomas. I loathed her in that book, and Faris did a wonderful job of redeeming her here. After I understood some of the things that made Madison who she was, I had much more sympathy for her. (Isn't that a lesson we all need to learn in real life, too?) I loved Madison and Colby's romance, especially the way he respected her, supported her, and gently nudged her toward the life God had for her.

I also enjoyed the Jon and Leah romance, and I loved that their story started with a misunderstanding from their past. (I also loved that it wasn't a misunderstanding of the dreaded "just talk about it already!" variety...though one of those happened later.)

One of my favorite aspects of the novel was the revelation regarding Otis, the brass hippo that mysteriously moves around the town square. The truth of how he moved and who moved him, as well as his origin, was so fun!

I'm sorry to see this series end, as it's truly been a joy to read! Do yourself a favor and get your hands on all the books! 5 stars.

Buy the book (Amazon ad).

Read my reviews of the other books in the series: P.S. Goodbye (4-1/2 stars), You Belong With Me (4-1/2 stars), Until I Met You (5 stars), and While It Was Snowing (4-1/2 stars).

Tari Faris has been writing fiction for more than 10 years. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she works for My Book Therapy, manages learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher and chose to review it. The opinions I have 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."


  1. Hello!
    I just found your blog and am so so happy about it.
    I struggle finding good clean books. I often find myself defaulting to children’s book (which I love) but still have to be careful unfortunately.
    So, thank you so much for starting this! I can not wait to go through your list of books!

    1. Welcome! I'm glad you're here! It can be very difficult to find clean books -- I've tried to make a content note at the bottom of each review when books have questionable content.


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