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COME HOME TO ME is the first book I've read by Liz Talley and it's a winner!
Summer Valentine has two men in her life: One who fathered her son fifteen years ago on an alcohol-fueled prom night and the other she has loved all that time, but never told him. After chasing her dream in Nashville, Summer has come home to Starlight, South Carolina, because her son needs a father figure. Although she and Hunter McCroy will never be close, her son needs a reset and a man in his life. Rhett Bryan is a successful talk-show host, whose life is in the toilet, thanks to a traffic accident that killed a child. Needing to get away from California for a while, Rhett heads home to Grampy Pete. He doesn't know that Summer is living in Grampy's cottage on the property. He hasn't seen her since the day after the prom after-party, where everything went wrong. He knew back then, that she liked him, but although she was bright and tender hearted, she wasn't what he wanted then. Now, she's all woman and a big temptation. But is it fair to pursue her when he'll be jetting back to Cali soon?
A tragic accident has Rhett Bryan returning to Moonlight, California, and re-evaluating his life. However, he never imagined it changing for the better, as he begins to re-kindle the friendship he once had with Summer Valentine and finds his friendship with her becoming more. Yet, with Summer having been hurt before and with her hoping for her son to know his father, things aren't always easy and with every day that passes Rhett gets closer to returning to his life as the Golden boy of Hollywood. Will Summer be able to reconcile her past to have a future with Rhett or will they both walk away their chance at happy ever after?
This story drew me in from the very beginning because of the tragic accident and how it makes Rhett re-evaluate his life. What will he be able to do to make things right? Will he be held accountable for what happened, even though it was an accident? However, it was from the moment where Rhett and Summer come face-to-face for the first time that had me fully hooked, as these two have quite the history. Is he partly responsible for hurting her that led to what happened to her?
As for the dialogue, it was intense due to everything that Rhett and Summer have been through in their pasts that makes Rhett question his life and has the heroine needing to finally find it within herself to forgive the person that hurt her years ago, if she's to find happiness with Rhett. Will her son's father ever be able to see that what he did to her was wrong? Moreover, I really disliked Hunter, the other man in the heroine's life and who is also her son's father when he was first introduced into this story. He was a privileged jerk who thought he couldn't do anything wrong and should have everything in life. However, he did redeem himself in my eyes once he admits to the mistakes he made in the past and tries to make things right with the heroine.
With Rhett and Summer, I loved this couple together. Both have suffered hard times, but have done their best to overcome them. With the heroine being the best mom she can be to a wonderful little boy while the hero has achieved quite a lot in his Hollywood career. Moreover, the heroine is resilient, courageous and I liked that she took a chance on Rhett, even though he hurt her in the past. I also liked how kind and caring she is, which is proven by how much she does for other people. Then again, Rhett's grandfather is an absolute hoot. He can be grumpy at times, but a total delight at others because he doesn't want everyone worrying about him all the time. While the hero, he's been through so much and I could understand why he's determined to do things right after what happened. I also liked how determined he was to re-kindle his friendship with the heroine because she was one of the best parts of his life growing up, even if he didn't recognize that at the time. Certainly, she's a bright spark in this time of darkness where he doesn't know what will happen. Will his life be turned upside down?
Overall, Ms. Talley delivers a heartfelt and captivating read in this book where emotions run high because Rhett is protective of the heroine and he won't let anyone hurt her again, especially not Hunter; the romance was wonderful and had me hoping that Rhett would see how good Summer is for him; and the ending had me loving the way these two fight for their relationship because they have something special. I would recommend Come Home to Me by Liz Talley, if you enjoy the friends to lovers trope or books by authors Olivia Miles, Catherine Bybee, Kim Law and Jill Shalvis.
For readers of Liz Talley books, get ready. Her latest book, Come Home To Me, does not disappoint. But be prepared. This book is more Women's Fiction than Romance (although it does have a romantic thread.) And Talley does not shy away from tough topics! In Come Home to Me she deftly covers two difficult topics in a heartfelt story with true-to-life characters. Summer, Rhett, and Hunt have a tangled past together which has led to an even more tangled present. They each carry a burden, even though Hunt doesn't realize his burden until later. I've had many favorite characters in Talley's books but Summer is my favorite so far. She reads like a friend. Come Home to Me is a pleasure to read, even with its tough topics. It is current and powerful and endearing.
Emotionally engaging from the first chapter. I had the privilege of meeting this author a couple of months ago at a local RWA chapter and looked her up on Amazon. This is the first book I purchased and I immediately fell in love with the characters. They were realistically flawed but capable of redemption. It's been awhile since I read anything that made me tear up AND gave an HEA. I may have to renew my KU subscription! I can't believe I've never come across Liz Talley before, and I would definitely recommend this author.
Come Home to Me took me on an emotional journey! This book crosses over into the women's fiction genre more than Liz Talley's other novels, so it has less focus on the romance. But just like all her books, it pulls you right into the story! The heart of the book, for me, was how the characters evolved through time and came to a place of peace, acceptance and love. There were hard parts, but keep going, because you will be lifted up along with the characters!
Liz Talley sure has a way with words, crafting sentences dripping with meaning and wisdom. Multiple storylines, converging into an extremely satisfying ending. At the center of all is Summer, a shy, smart high school senior whose life trajectory is forever altered by events at her senior prom, resulting in a pregnancy and a baby. The book alternates between high school (2003) and now. Circling around Summer are Hunt and Rhett. Hunt is the father of David, Summer's son. Hunt abandoned Summer and David. Rhett, Summer's high school crush, is the local boy who went to Hollywood and became famous, but has his own demons. The power of apologies and forgiveness that allow healing and moving on with life culminate into a HEA.
Come Home To Me by Liz Talley held my interest throughout and offered some insight into what it takes to heal from traumatic experiences. Summer was a geeky high schooler who wants one night at prom with the in-crowd. Now Rhett is suffering from an post traumatic experience after running over a young girl. Hunt has been in denial of his involvement with Summer and their son for years and now he wants to make things right. It's a sad story but well written and drawn out to give the reader plenty of insight into the characters well-being.