Book Recommendation – Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate

A fun contemporary romance with many layers that explores the family dynamics behind the ‘perfect Christian’ mask.

Book Description:

Jessica Kate’s hilarious, romantic debut novel proves that love comes in God’s own time.

Natalie Groves once had big dreams. But soon after her fiancé, Jeremy Walters, inexplicably broke off their engagement and left town, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Now tasked with keeping her family afloat, Natalie’s grand plans have evaporated . . . and God feels very far away.

Fast-forward seven years, and Jeremy is back in Charlottesville with an infant son and years of regrets. When his niece, Lili, lands on his doorstep in need of a place to stay, Jeremy needs help—and fast.

An internship opening finally presents Natalie a chance at her dream job, but she needs a second income to work around it—and the only offer available is Jeremy’s. They could be the solutions to one another’s problems, provided they don’t kill each other in the process. When they join forces, sparks fly. But they both know there’s a thin line between love and hate . . . and that love will turn out to be the best decision—or the biggest mistake—of all. 

Narelle’s Thoughts:

Life is messy and Christians are imperfect people who make a lot of mistakes. That’s the takeaway message I pondered after reading Jessica Kate’s debut contemporary romance novel. This is not a story that sugarcoats the tough issues or promises a rosy life for believers.

Natalie was a complex character who I had mixed feelings about as I read the book. Her willingness to make sacrifices and devote time and energy to care for her elderly parents was commendable. At times her immaturity had me rolling my eyes and wondering if she really was twenty-six years old. I also didn’t connect with her almost obsessive determination to achieve her ‘career-Christian’ goals, and I totally understood why Jem (Jeremy) questioned her motives and ambition.

Jeremy was an interesting character who had taken responsibility for the choices he’d made in his life. He was one of the few characters in the story who was living an authentic life. He’s now a single dad who regrets breaking off his engagement to Natalie seven years earlier, and he appreciates Natalie helping him out by nannying his adorable baby son. Jem was willing to explore his strong connection with Natalie and see where it leads, despite her less-than-encouraging attitude.

I enjoyed the reunion romance element in the story and the humorous moments from Natalie and Jem’s shared history. I’m personally not a big fan of what I call the ‘I-hate-you’ romance trope, and I liked the second half of the book much more because Natalie and Jem’s relationship had progressed past that stage.

My favorite character in the story was Lili, who is Jem’s sixteen year old niece. Lili was real and broken by the burden that was placed upon her by her self-absorbed pastor parents. Lili’s friendship with Nick and her struggle to negotiate her messy family situation added a complexity to the story that exposed the truth behind the happy family facade.

Love and Other Mistakes is a fun contemporary romance with many layers that explores the family dynamics behind the ‘perfect Christian’ mask. Recommended for readers who enjoy rom-coms that include family drama.

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