Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah’s past difficult, he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.
Jon is trying to prove to the Heritage Fruits board that he, not his manipulative uncle, should be running the business. The board insists Jon find a new owner for the building that will house Leah’s business. To avoid forcing a buyout of Leah’s part of the building, Jon strikes a compromise with Leah, and the two go into business together. With her vision and his know-how, it might work. And Leah might realize he’s loved her since high school. If only he didn’t keep on shooting himself in the foot by boxing her out of important decisions.
Sparks fly in this romantic story of two people who must learn to trust both each other and the one who called them to this journey.
I enjoyed reading Since You’ve Been Gone, the third book in Tari Faris’ Restoring Heritage series. The story can be read as a stand-alone, but I’d recommend, if possible, to read the books in order. The series story arc follows the restoration of the town and the creation of a town square.
We finally meet Leah again, who has returned from Costa Rica where she was doing mission work with her brother. She is the last of her close group of friends to still be single, and she’s wistfully watching them move on to the marriage and babies stage of life. Caroline is Leah’s twin sister who we’ve met in earlier books in the series.
Jon has had feelings for Leah since high school. He’s a professional basketball player who recently returned from Spain, and he’s had custody of his seventeen year old sister since they lost the parents. He’s determined to save his late father’s business in Heritage, and help Leah revive the family retail business that Leah and Carolyn closed down a few years ago.
Leah has trust issues, and believes Jon hated her in high school. She’s a bit prickly at times when he’s around, and their romance has hurdles from their shared past to overcome. Jon is patient with Leah, and their romance follows an enemies-to-more story arc.
I loved the romantic subplot with Madison and Colby. Madison was engaged to Thomas in book 1, You Belong With Me, and she left town after she split up with Thomas. Madison returns to Heritage after her father passes away. With a reputation as a wild child, Madison wants to hide her unplanned pregnancy and impending single mother status from both the judgmental townsfolk and the means girls in the clique friend group that includes Leah. Colby is a Christian music star who’s hiding out in Heritage with his friend, Nate, to avoid the spotlight from a scandal connected to his band.
The meet cute between Madison and Colby is fun, and their romance is one of my favorite pairings in the series. I loved Madison’s journey to faith in the story. I recommend Since You’ve Been Gone to readers who like enemies to love romance stories with a relevant faith element that addresses real-to-life issues.
I received a complimentary ebook copy. Many thanks to Revell and Net Galley.