Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “He made falling in love so easy.”
There is always hope
After eight years in the Marines, Jacob Lorde returns to Blessings, Georgia, with no plans other than to hole up in his empty house and heal what’s left of his soul. But with a charming next door neighbor and a town full of friendly people, keeping to himself is easier said than done.
As long as you can come home
Laurel Payne understands far too well what Jake is going through, after witnessing her late husband experience similar problems. She’s in no hurry to jump into another relationship with a complicated guy, but their attraction is undeniable-and perhaps exactly what both of them need. (Goodreads)
Sharon Sala takes us back to the small town of Blessing, Georgia in her third installment with a sweet and heartwarming story of second chances when a war weary soldier comes home to heal and falls for a young widow and her adorable little girl.
I love small town romances and Saving Jake hits all the right notes. Small towns are notorious for being nosy, unforgiving, gossipy, while being filled with an overabundance of love and compassion. Everyone knows everyone’s business and what happened in past is viewed as if it just happened yesterday. In here, Sala builds an ambiguous tale of love, loss, redemption, and forgiveness with some humor, passion, and emotional angst.
This story engages from page one, flowing smoothly and evenly as Sala sets the tone and scene. Strong characterization, engaging narrative, and a compelling storyline is deeply rooted in humor and sorrow. There is a strong inspirational tone that matches the world in which it is set. Small towns are often built on the faith of its residents and that faith is what sustains them during the bad times while giving them cause to celebrate during the good times.
I loved meeting Jake, Laurel, and of course, Bonnie. All of them are sweet, sensitive, and kind people who despite their tragic circumstances in life, remain strong and relatively cheerful. Though the relationship starts out somewhat antagonistic, neither are sure if they are ready for friendship much less a romance, watching Jake and Laurel grow beyond their pain and sorrow. Each of them finding the courage to not only go on with their lives after tragedy struck but to learn to reach out to one another despite their fears was heart warming.
Using dual narratives, Sala does an excellent job of getting us into their heads and showing us the deep wounds that need healing in order to move forward. Your heart will definitely hurt as Laurel describes the pain, anger, and guilt she continues to feel after her husband committed suicide. Like Jake, he too was a vet but refused to deal with his PTSD-choosing to end his life instead. Abandoned and blamed for his death by his family, she also has to deal with their escalating harassment.
Jake’s pain is the result of the war. Hailed as a hero for wounds suffered in battle, he deals with PTSD, nightmares, and survivor’s guilt on a daily basis. It’s hard for him to accept his survival when his best friend who saved his life didn’t make it home. He too has his to deal with harassment from a local resident.
Watching this little group grow gradually into a family is delightful to watch. Sala does a wonderful job of developing the relationship while keeping this couple true to themselves. Their problems aren’t miraculously resolved once they acknowledge their feeling for one another. Nothing felt manipulated or forced. I found Bonnie amusing and realistic in narrative and actions. She’s not used as a plot device and is more than able to carry her own weight in the storyline. Her pet invoked some feelings of nostalgia in me as my daughter also had a pet chicken as a child.
Fans of Sharon Sala and small towns bursting with heart are sure to enjoy this latest installment that brings two deserving people a second chance at life and love.