Friday, February 11, 2022

Review: "Never Leave Me" by Jody Hedlund

Last summer, I read the first book in Jody Hedlund's Waters of Time series and loved it, so there was no hesitation on my part when I heard there would be a book two. Now I'm hoping for a book three!

In the last stages of a genetic disease, Ellen Creighton has decided to live out her remaining days at the estate of her longtime friend Harrison Burlington. Harrison cares deeply for Ellen, but as a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, he's never allowed himself to get serious in a relationship. However, he's desperately trying to save her by finding the holy water that is believed to heal any disease.

When he locates two flasks, Ellen refuses to drink one of them because she believes the holy water killed her sister and father. In an effort to convince her to take it, Harrison ingests the contents first, and when Ellen witnesses the effects, she can no longer deny the power of the substance in the bottles. Dangerous criminals are also seeking the holy water, and Ellen soon learns they will go to any lengths to get the powerful drug--including sending her back into the past to find it for them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Jody Hedlund plunges you into the swiftly flowing river of history in a race against the clock in this breathtaking, emotional second Waters of Time story. 

Never Leave Me continues the story begun in Come Back to Me, picking up about a year after those events. (I think. Maybe not. I'm a little sketchy on the present time timeline! Also, if you haven't read Come Back to Me yet, please stop reading here and go back to read that book, as this review contains spoilers for that one.) Ellen's VCL has continued to advance, bringing her close to death. Her friend Harrison, who assisted both her father and sister in their search for holy water prior to their deaths, is desperate to find some for her - not only because he's her friend, but because he has been secretly in love with her for years.

Of course, finding the holy water doesn't cure all their problems - in fact, it makes some things worse, as an evil man also in search of the holy water learns of Harrison's and Ellen's healings, and forces Ellen into the past to procure more holy water for him. While there, she meets a horrible lord, his wonderful brother (hopefully book 3 will be Sir Nicholas's story!), and both her sister and father! The action in the 1300s is thrilling as Ellen and company race to find the water while also trying to stay alive. 

The story has elements of friends-to-more, fake relationship, and marriage of convenience, all tropes I love! The chemistry between Ellen and Harrison was palpable, and I loved the time they spent together on the page. They are apart a lot, though - and often in different time periods. I understand why it happened, but I wish there would've been more time for relationship building.

This book brings up some interesting ethical/moral dilemmas. Who should have access to the holy water? When should it be used? As much as I wanted both Ellen and Harrison to live, I also couldn't help feeling that they had used more than their fair share. I'm sure this will come up again, should there be a third book. (And there should be!)

Overall, I really enjoyed this second installment in the Waters of Time series, and I sincerely hope the story continues soon. (It has to, right? There are definitely some things that haven't been tied up yet.) 4 stars.

Buy the book (Amazon ad).

See my reviews of Come Back to Me (5 stars) and other Jody Hedlund novels.

Jody Hedlund is the award-winning author of multiple novels, including the Beacons of Hope and Orphan Train series, as well as Captured by Love and Rebellious Heart. She holds a bachelor's degree from Taylor University and a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. Learn more at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review. 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 purchase an item, 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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