Until I Met You is the second full-length novel in the Restoring Heritage series by Tari Faris. The series takes place in the town of Heritage that is currently undergoing a makeover. Each book focuses on two couples that have some connection to each other and to Heritage.
About Until I Met You (Restoring Heritage Book #2)
Series: Restoring Heritage
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Genre: Christian Romance
Print Length: 348 pages
When she hears that the small town of Heritage, Michigan, is looking for a new librarian, Libby Kingsley jumps at the opportunity. Little did she know the library is barely more than a storage closet stuffed with dusty, outdated books. What the community really needs is a new building. But the only funds available are those being channeled into the new town square, and the landscape architect in charge of the project wants nothing to do with her plans.
All Austin Williams wants to do is get the town square project finished so he can do right by the family business and then extricate himself from the town that reveres the brother who cost him so much. But the local media and the town’s new librarian seem to be conspiring against him at every turn. Will the determined bookworm find her way into his blueprints–and possibly even his heart?
Novelist Tari Faris invites you back to the small town with a big heart in this second book in the Restoring Heritage series.
My Review of Until I Met You
When Libby shows up in Heritage, she’s a bit of a mouse. She’s afraid to trust anyone, she’s afraid of the very thing she had undertaken. When she meets Austin, her rude neighbor, her emotions give her bravery and a spark in her spirit. The people of Heritage were neck-deep in the renovations that began in You Belong With Me and you’ll meet some of the same characters again.
While Until I Met You could be read as a stand-alone, some of the plot lines and characters become clearer when you have the background of the first book in the series.
The Characters In Until I Met You
I liked Libby. She was a believable character–a woman who had been hurt but is trying her best to live her life in spite of her fears. I rooted for her as she tried to rebuild her life and reclaim her courage. I celebrated her bravery as she sought love in the arms of the man she considered her real-life hero. Still, despite Libby’s best efforts, I did not like Austin. While he did some nice things throughout the book, his anger and tendency to blow up at the closest person (usually Libby) did not endear him to me.
Austin would have been a more likable character if he had had a moment to go away and have a come-to-Jesus moment where he had been able to wrestle with his issues. Instead, he seemed like he had one honest conversation with his brother and everything just magically made sense and he transformed. Austin did not deserve Libby because quite frankly most of the book he was an ass.
Until I Met You was also the story of Nate and Olivia. Nate was a pastor and he has quite a sordid history. I am not judging Nate for his history. I really liked that he had a troubled past because it made him a more relatable person. Sometimes, we put our pastors on a pedestal and that makes it hard to relate to them.
While I got this character’s struggle, it was almost as though he were two different people. On one hand, he was this dynamic preacher that encouraged everyone to find their grace point but found it hard to forgive himself. Because of his internal struggle, he wasn’t as straight-forward in his relationship with Olivia as he could have been.
In some ways, it felt like the two storylines in Until I Met You mimicked each other and the two brothers had almost the same experiences with the women they were attracted to. I can’t decide if this was a deliberate ploy to show how similar the two men were though they didn’t realize and wouldn’t admit it if they did, or if the repetition was to show the power and beauty of forgiveness and grace.
The Themes in Until I Met You
Until I Met You is a story about grace and the power of forgiveness. It catalogs how difficult it is to forgive someone we believe has wronged us and how hard it is to forgive ourselves. It was a reminder that we are saved by grace and that God doesn’t require penance. But even though we know that we sometimes fall back on the salvation-through-works model. We act as if our actions can save us.
What I liked about Until I Met You was being back in Heritage. There are a number of characters that I enjoyed spending time with again and some new ones I look forward to meeting in future books. I recommend Until I Met You for anyone who loves Jane Austen or Mr. Darcy. I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers; a positive review was not required.
About Tari Faris
Tari Faris is the author of You Belong with Me. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she is the project manager for My Book Therapy writes for 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.
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