Anywho, today I'm going to be reviewing a romance novel entitled Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin. The story is about a woman named Kate whose grandmother just had a stroke. Kate moves in with her grandmother to help until she gets back on her feet. It's also about a born-again-christian named Nick who is trying to live better than his former wild lifestyle. While Kate is in the process of moving in with her grandmother she has a car wreck where Nick saves her life. While the two are immediately drawn to each other there is a slight problem. Nick has vowed not to date for a whole year and he is in his sixth month when they meet each other.
The part about one of the characters vowing not to date for a year then, coincidentally, meeting a beautiful young lady he likes is what drew me to this book in the first place. From a young age I always understood that I was never going to date a guy until I knew that The LORD wanted me to and I was ready for marriage; which included not dating in high school. So I was curious to see how this book turned out! Either it was going to be great or the author was going to totally ruin it!
I wouldn't say the book was totally ruined, but there was a element that I wish was handled differently.
Nick tells Kate up front that he isn't going to date for a whole year so in order for them to spend time together they can't be alone unless it's business related. At first they handled it pretty well. Nick was careful not to end up alone with Kate and if he did it was strictly for business purposes only (or so he told himself). They tried to simply be friends but pretty soon most of that got flushed down the toilet. They began holding hands, going out to eat, and doing some quote "friendly" kissing (and no, it was never on the cheek). I have some guy friends whom I trust and know that I can count on them in the way Kate knows she can rely on Nick. But unlike Kate and Nick, you will never catch us holding hands or kissing, even on the cheek. A friendly slap on the back is about as far as we would go and even then you'd be lucky to catch that! Personally, I think that you must be very careful with what you do physically with someone of the opposite gender, whether it be a potential mate or simply a friend. We humans have these things called hormones that can quickly get out of control so we must be careful because once we open ourselves up to another person like that there is no going back and it can be very hard to not open up ourselves any more. As seen in the book, after Nick and Kate have their "first kiss", they begin having trouble keeping Nick's vow.
In the author's defense however, the characters never "go all the way" with each other. She several times places them in situations where we see them struggle with sexual temptations, but they never follow through with their desires. I just think that they shouldn't have started being "physical", even in little ways in the first place.
While the book is categorized as a "romance" novel, the story in not completely about Nick and Kate's relationship, though that is a main plot line. The author explores many issues such as why we do what we do, aging, living with regret, and trusting in G-d. A huge part of the story is about Nick and Kate's personal walks with G-d and their struggles to trust HIM even when HE seems silent. I felt I could relate to their struggles, especially Kate's. She likes to have everything under control and is afraid of being left alone to face life's challenges. Her constant battle with herself closely mirrors my own. I've never been able to relate to a character in a book before quite like this. Mrs. Bylin's story seemed so real that it could have been true!
The story was beautifully told and excellently written! From the relatable characters to the symbolisms that appear throughout the book to wrap the ending up in a nice little bow, Mrs. Victoria Bylin is truly a rare find author! I will definitely be reading some of her other novels for years to come!
Until I Found You is rewarded with a 4 out of 5 rating from me (see sidebar for rating scale). The ONLY reason it does not receive a 5 is because of the physical issue mentioned above. This is a book that I will definitely re-read over and over again and I'm sure you will too!
P.S. I was given Victoria Bylin's Until I Found You by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.