Author: Rebekah Millet (Debut Novel)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Beignets for Two #1
Release Date: October 24, 2023
Publisher: Bethany House
Samuel was back. It seemed unfair to be blindsided. And in church no less. Shouldn't there be a commandment about that? Thou shalt not step foot inside thy ex's place of worship.
Julia Monroe has just turned forty and has high hopes for a fresh start after the last decade of her life abruptly left her a young widow and a single mom. With both her boys off to college, she can finally focus on expanding her New Orleans-based cleaning business. Julia is ready for new beginnings--but God has other plans. Samuel Reed, the ruggedly handsome Green Beret who shattered her heart over twenty years ago, has returned to town and is the kind of distraction she never saw coming.
After their first interaction in years leaves her mind spinning and her emotions out of control, Julia knows she needs to avoid him if she wants any chance of preventing history from repeating itself, but her meddling best friend keeps throwing them together. And now it seems inevitable that the man who was hard to forget might just be impossible to resist.
Reviewer: Amy Smelser
Wow! I have a new favorite author. This book was just what I was wanting to read, and I didn't know it. It pulled at my heartstrings. I may have shed a tear or two, and I laughed a lot at Julia's wit and sassiness, and maybe I swooned along with her over Samuel.
Julia is a widow who now faces an empty nest at forty, as both of her boys are away at college. She has her best friend, Kate, her mother, who sometimes is more of a force of evil, her church family, volunteer ministry, and her cleaning business. However, with all of that, Julia is still alone too much with her dog and her thoughts. Then, one Sunday, Samuel Reed, her first love, walks into her church, and the next Sunday, he is a member. She is trying to avoid him at all costs, but he is trying to pursue her at all costs.
Samuel is a new Christian, and he is not shy about how he feels about Julia or what he hopes is a future together. But their history is one of passion and a lot of heartbreak, which is more than Julia is willing to dwell on or even revisit. Samuel is not deterred, and he is going to show Julia that he has changed for the better and that he will be true to her and make her happy.
It will be an uphill battle, as battle scars are visible. Physically and emotionally. In the past twenty years, somewhere Samuel has lost an eye. Now he wears a patch, which only makes him more attractive to Julia. These two had my support, but boy did they need to work out some issues. I liked how they handled everything as adults. Be prepared to laugh and swoon, and keep those tissues handy. I look forward to more from this author's pen.
I was provided a copy of this novel from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review, and all views and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Elizabeth Eckmeyer
Rebekah Millet delivers a comical romance that you won't forget. This story line will take you back to your thoughts on your first love. Julia Monroe is surprised by her first love when she least expects it, years after her husband's death.
I felt the story line started out slow but quickly trapped you in. The characters are comical and easy to fall in love with. It was an anticipated storyline of what was going to be decided. It is a story about second chances and how God can change your life by orchestrating circumstances!
It was a sweet story that incorporated a Christian perspective on forgiveness and love for others.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Juanita Varela
Honestly, this book wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, for those who like a second chance romance with the guy pursuing the woman and older protagonists, then this could be a good read for you.
For me, I did not like the part of a 40-year-old woman acting so immature. And holding that grudge. I mean, I get it, sometimes hurts can last a long time, but it’s been 20 years. She found a new man and married him. So shouldn’t the past stay in the past, even if it shows up in your church?
Also Samuel. For me, it wasn’t swoon-worthy. If a woman is telling you no, respect her wishes. But I also felt for Samuel. We all make mistakes, and we don’t need them shoved in our faces. I feel like Julia was unChristlike, for that matter.
However, the faith message was really good. Only God can make your past whole.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
It's a win for Rebekah Millet and her debut novel. Julia Monroe and her first-person voice are honest, relatable, and funny. Her mama's heart is so tender, and I was right there with her as she learned to adjust to being an empty nester.
Though Julia is a bit younger than I am, her woes and delights were on point. There is great banter between Julia and Samuel, and I really enjoyed their second chance and the themes of true forgiveness, living boldly, and leaving fear behind.
The quirky supporting cast of Julia's and Samuel's family and friends made the story quite lively. It wasn't exactly a rom-com, though Julia's inner voice was funny in a self-deprecating way. It was more of a woman's fiction with a good measure of romance and faith. I loved learning about New Orleans and the culture surrounding that great city. One day, I will make it there to visit.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
"So you're looking forward to getting back to your old quiet life? Nights alone with that devil dog?"
"Samuel was back. It seemed unfair to be blindsided. And in church, no less. Shouldn't there be a commandment about that?" But there he was, all tall and handsome, wearing . . . . an eye patch. Julia Monroe couldn't skedaddle out of that sanctuary fast enough, but she should have known that attempting to outmaneuver a former Green Beret wouldn't be a successful mission, except that she had not known. For heaven's sake, the man in question had broken her young heart and summarily dumped her. Now twenty years later, widowed, with both sons in college, and her past decides to sneak up on her? ... in church of all places? Not fair! Case closed.
"I'd fallen back on what I could do, rather than leaving my problems where they belonged, in God's never-failing presence."
"This would be so much easier if You just told me what to do. But where's the faith in that, right?"
The continuum of sophisticated sass in this story provided a much-needed buffer for the intensely jagged edges of emotion that many of these scenes invoked. Raw pain, regret, anger, and grief flowed freely between these pages as two flawed but forgiven people found their way back to blessedly beginning again. Such an impressive debut!
I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
If you want a feel-good book, then I highly recommend this delightful novel! It has a little something in it for everyone.
I love this new author. She has really done a fantastic job on this debut novel. I hope to see more from her.
Hats off to Julia! I connected with her right away on most things. Just, wow! Samuel, too. I guess the Green Berets made him grow up some? He did make me giggle, but it was mostly Julia that did that. Y'all just have to read this adventure, and once you start, you'll not be able to put it down!
Sometimes, it just takes life's journey and growing up to make people learn to appreciate each other and in God's timing, too. Julia's mom reminds me of my husband's mom, always ready to find fault with everyone but herself. Especially me. My favorite thing about this book was that it was told from Julia's point of view. I also enjoyed the many themes scattered throughout this book. I really can't recommend this book enough! Such a cute rom-com! Five stars for keeping me engaged and giggling throughout this story.
My thanks for a copy of this book from Netgalley and Bethany House! I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Reviewer: Nora St. Laurent
Julia Monroe is the mother of two boys who have graduated from high school and are starting college. 10 years ago, her husband passed away unexpectedly. Julia threw herself into her work and concentrated on her children. By doing this, she was able to grow her cleaning business, develop her connection with God, and broaden every aspect of her church ministry, all the while focusing on her young boys. She was feeling great until she ran across her ex-Green Beret boyfriend (in church, no less). She wasn't sure how resilient she would be. It had been twenty years since he dumped her, and they hadn’t spoken to or seen each other since.
Julia is refusing Samuel Reed's attempts to mend their relationship now that he is back in his hometown. They still have issues with one another. Will they be able to put their differences behind them and forgive one another? Julia is not optimistic, but Samuel is.
I was rooting for the pair to get together since it was such an authentic connection. The author did a terrific job of illuminating for us that a small act of forgiveness can give us joy, freedom, and grace that can heal our soul and change everything.
I liked the topics it explored and the organic spiritual thread. I enjoyed the likeable and unlikeable characters, the touching moments, and the humor, which frequently made me smile and laugh aloud. I adored the characters, their situations, and how they evolved as this story unfolded.
This story makes for a great escape and one that would be wonderful for a book club pick. There is so much to discuss. I adored how this story was told. It’s a sweet romance about forgiveness and second chances. I now count this author among my favorites. This was a wonderful debut novel. This author is one to watch.
Disclosure Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book from Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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