18 June 2014

Book Review: Love Me For Me by Jenny Hale

"Libby Potter has just lost the perfect job, the perfect apartment and the perfect boyfriend. Moving back to the same home town that she couldn’t wait to escape when she was younger was definitely not on her todo list. Especially as it means running into the man whose heart she broke when she left.

Pete Bennett can still make Libby’s world stop with just the sound of his voice – even ten years on. Only now, she is the last person in the world that he wants to see.

As everyone else welcomes Libby home with open arms, she realizes she’s missed that special closeness that comes from lifelong friendship. And, as Libby tries to make amends with Pete, she begins to wonder whether she made the right choice in leaving all those years ago.

When an amazing career opportunity gives her the chance to leave again, Libby will have to decide what her version of perfect is… and where she really belongs."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Love Me For Me as a paperback or an eBook now.

One of my favourite new reads last year was Jenny Hale's debut novel Coming Home for Christmas. It was a beautiful read full of love and festive cheer, and certainly made Jenny Hale an author to watch for me. Luckily, I haven't had that long to wait until her book was out, and I was able to review the eBook last month. I have to say the cover is beautiful as well, and I really liked the sound of the story. Jenny Hale's writing is beautiful, very evocative and I really found the story to be an enjoyable read, and is sending Hale flying up my list of must-read authors!

Libby Potter feels like her life is falling apart. She's lost the job she loves in New York, she's lost her amazing apartment, and her boyfriend too. What else is there to lose? Soon enough though, Libby finds she has to return to her hometown of White Stone. She couldn't wait to escape there for the bright lights of the city when she was younger, and is very reluctant to return and face the judgemental people from her past. But once she arrives home, she bumps into an old friend she hasn't spoken to since she broke his heart all those years ago... her old friend Pete. He, however, is still bearing the grudge from years ago, and doesn't want to see Libby. As she settles into life at home again, Libby is determined to right the wrongs she made in the past, with Pete and all the other residents of their town. Will Libby be able to create a new version of her perfect life, or is it too late to turn back the clock and make amends?

I have to be honest, and say that I really didn't like Libby initially. I found that she was quite horrible about her childhood home, making out that it wasn't good enough for her and that she just could not wait to be out of there. I did feel sorry for the people she grew up with, clearly they must have felt like they weren't good enough either! But as the story progresses, I did begin to feel sorry for her because she really has lost anything that mattered, and now it seems those she hurt don't want to know her either. Her narrative was good to read though, she doesn't hold back how she is feeling, and I did grow to like her more.

Pete, on the other hand, was lovely. You could understand why he treats Libby as he does now, he's still hurt from her rejection all those years ago, and is worried that Libby still holds those feelings of resentment when she's forced back home again. Pete is a really caring, kind man who you can't help but like - I couldn't, anyway! He looks after his elderly, sick grandfather and runs his own business, plus he seems keen to help out the local residents whenever he has time too. I wanted Libby to realise how lovely Pete was, and how returning to White Stone was a good thing for her, but she just seemed so negative, it seemed like an impossibility!

The journey that Libby goes in the book is a very realistic one - and it really resonates with you as you're reading. She really has to confront her past when she's in White Stone, face all the people she hurt and think about the decisions she made all those years ago, and exactly why she made them. She does seem judgemental at first, but towards the end, you can see her softening and becoming a generally nicer person, like the rest of the lovely people in White Stone, which sounds like such an idyllic small town by the way! I liked reading about Libby rebuilding the bridges she burnt, and was hoping that the relationships with Pete and her mother would be fixable after all the hurt she has caused. I enjoyed how Hale made clear comparisons with Libby's life in New York and in White Stone, from the people to the pace of life, I couldn't fathom why Libby was making the choices she was! Hale's writing was brilliant, very easy to read and I didn't want to stop reading once I'd started. A heart-warming, touching tale of rediscovering life and yourself, I can heartily recommend it!

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