Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina-lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories. And she's found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too. Life is good.
Then the dynamic pastor of her small town church sweeps her off her feet. She's never known a man like Jeremiah-one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt. When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter.
But Jeremiah's just accepted a large pastorate in a different state. If she's serious about their relationship, Elle will take "the call," too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly. Elle's friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter make things even more complicated.
Is love transferable across the miles? And can you take it with you when you go?
I always like books that don't necessary have to be read in order but do feature the same settings and characters of previous books. They can be read as standalones so that new readers won't miss out by not reading the other books. However for the reader who has read more of the authors books, it's nice to see a background character get their own story fully told. Elle was introduced in Sweet Caroline and was a friend to the title character. I was glad this book followed up on her.
I really loved Elle's character. Her struggle to accept faith throughout the book was realistic and very easy to relate to. I both sympathized and empathized with her while reading. I loved her relationship with Heath and loved seeing it grow throughout the book. The story of Elle's sister was really fascinating with me. I didn't realize that she would be a big part of the ending of the story but her situation is one that many people face but don't want to discuss at all. It's nice to know that real life situations that aren't all tidy and neat are brought up on this book.
I got frustrated with Jeremiah a lot during the beginning of the story. So much that I was worried that the whole book was going to be Elle vs the church and I would have been turned off before chapter five. Luckily that's not the case and while he does pop up again near the end of the book for a crucial decision, he's not around (at least physically) for most of the book. It galls me to see men who are pastors treat their wives and families as second fiddle to the church. It's even worse when it's your fiance who you're not married to yet. Jeremiah expected her to give up everything for him but when she does come down there, he can't bear to tear himself away for her. I'm aghast that he ended up blaming her but she's really better off. Even though pastoring a church is important, your family comes first.
Just like the first book that features these characters, I really enjoyed the setting and all the colorful characters that really make up the story. I felt like I was a part of the storyline and could see myself walking around the town and chatting with everyone. I have had a good time visiting Beaufort and would love to make a return there in the new future. While the romance isn't explicit, this is clearly a romance book and I really enjoyed it. By the way, I am really slow and did not even get the play on words with the title of the book until just recently. Hopefully, you get it faster than I did.
Love Starts With Elle by Rachel Hauck is published by Thomas Nelson (2008)
This review copy was provided by the publisher