Sunday, June 23, 2019

NOW AND THEN AND ALWAYS by Melissa Tagg, Reviewed by Rebecca and Kim

" . . when I was in my deepest pain, God came for me. He didn't leave me in an injured pile on the sidewalk nor did he stand around waiting for me to get up . . . . . He came running for me."

When Mara Bristol's journey to nowhere landed her on the steps of the Everwood Bed and Breakfast, she slowly and cautiously began to believe that her heart had found a place to call home. Now she's not so sure, the owner has disappeared and the repairs on the once fine estate are beginning to take their toll. Upon learning of the property's fragile financial standing, Mara begins to panic. . . . until one stormy night, an unlikely hero in the form of Marshall Hawkins, literally crashes through the inn's front door.

Detective Marshall Hawkins has been placed on a three month leave of absence from his job; his erratic behavior and mounting professional errors left his superior with no other choice. Still reeling from family tragedy, Marshall packs his bags and begins to drive; never expecting to find a place or a person who longs to become his "now and then and always".

Melissa Tagg's writing style is so enjoyable to read; full of subtle and not-so-subtle humor, strategic words of wisdom, magnetic attractions and in this case, an intriguing family mystery. But perhaps it's her strong themes of restoration that her readers value the most, for in this story it's God who finds a way to whisper, "there's life beyond the brokenness".  

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to review it.

Another food warning! I usually do not eat sugary cereal and I do not like milk. That being said, you might want to have some sugary cereal and milk on hand when reading this story! I ate three bowls - not all at once though! ;-) I loved this story!!! It made me laugh out loud, it tugged at my heartstrings, and also me cry - more than once! I know when an author is able to draw those feelings out, it’s a good book. Melissa Tagg knows how to write engaging characters and they live in the best town ever! I want to move to Maple Valley!!

I loved Marshall Hawkins. Thirty-five. Milwaukee. (You’ll get it when you read the book!) He is such a great character who is going through some really really awful times. My heart literally ached for him and I wanted him to be okay. I also really liked Mara and I loved their first meeting and the hilarious conversation that followed! And there are parts throughout the story where Marshall plays a running joke on Mara that had me laughing out loud - every time! All of the secondary characters really added to the story and I want them all to have their own stories!

I also loved the religious aspects of this story! There are so many great quotes I want to share, but I’ll stick to just one, “But we always have a choice, don’t we? To let our hurts forever weaken us or...or instead find some way to draw strength from what we’ve been through.” This is so true! We can wallow in our misery or we can choose to let God use what we have been through to grow and strengthen us.

I highly recommend this story!

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Back Cover Blurb:
“It was just a house. Just a craggy old house in a hidden grove, shuttered and still . . . ”

Last year, after traumatic circumstances forced her from her job as a nanny, Mara Bristol finally found a place to belong—the winsome Everwood Bed and Breakfast at the edge of Maple Valley, Iowa. For months, she’s helped its owner, Lenora, maintain the ramshackle property despite their shortage of guests. But when Lenora fails to return from a month-long trip and the bank threatens foreclosure, Mara worries she’s once again alone . . . abandoned . . . about to lose the only true home she’s ever known.

Detective Marshall Hawkins is no closer to whole today than he was two years ago . . . the day his daughter died. Between his divorce, debilitating migraines, and a dependence on medication, his life is falling apart. And when a reckless decision on the job propels him into administrative leave, he has no other plan but to get in his truck and drive. A one-night stay at the Everwood was supposed to be just that. But there’s something about the old house—or maybe its intriguing caretaker—that pulls him in.

Together, Mara and Marshall set out to save the Everwood. But its secrets run deeper than they could’ve imagined. As they renovate the house and search for its missing owner, they’ll each confront the pain that brought them to the Everwood in the first place . . . and just maybe discover a faith and love to help them carry on.

Available in digital ebook (more to come soon!)
Buy Now and Then and Always at Amazon

Also - see reviews from Nicole and Winnie

1 comment:

  1. Thank you ladies for your wonderful reviews! My library had an ebook copy of this so I borrowed it, never having read Tagg's books before. I think this was the perfect story to introduce her! It culminates everything you both said and I especially took to heart the line Kim shared "But we always have a choice, don’t we? To let our hurts forever weaken us or...or instead find some way to draw strength from what we’ve been through." My life, like so many others, was often paved with pain, but I know God came running every time to pick me up. He never left me in a broken pile : -) This was such a powerful reminder of God's love and grace and the restorative power of His mercy and forgiveness!


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