Thursday, August 25, 2022

THE LAST WAY HOME by Liz Johnson, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt and Rebecca Maney

I've only read a couple of other books by Liz Johnson years ago and just finished “Beyond the Tides”—book one in this series—so I was looking forward to the second installment of Prince Edward Island Shores. She once again proves why I need to read more of her novels! Her characters stand out for me, flawed people with realistic problems and living out circumstances any one of us could face in our own lives. She also packs a punch with the emotions she brings out, ones that easily connect me with both Eli and Violet!

He didn't need a home. But at the moment, he needed a place. Somewhere to rest his head, to regroup, to be still. If they would take him back.

Eli is our washed out NHL champ dragging his tail between his legs seeking forgiveness after 10 years from his family. Knowing he deserves nothing, but hoping somehow he can make up for mistakes he made. There's also secrets he harbors, ones that can hurt those he loves the most. Violet is our local girl, pottery artist extraordinaire that has been “adopted” by Mama Potts, Eli's mom. Oh these two clash at the start and go head to head more times than I could count! So getting them together somehow was where Liz Johnson worked her magic.

“We both have shattered edges,” he whispered. “But maybe God isn't afraid of our brokenness.” ~Eli

I won't spoil this for other readers, but what I will say, this story grabbed me by the heart. Eli and Violet have their share of heartache and they must learn to let each other in for the healing process to begin. There were parts that made me cry as secrets came to light, and the tender emotions as they dealt with each one. There were also plenty of lighter moments to temper it all. And there is a strong faith thread that reminded them of the grace, forgiveness, and mercy extended by God who loves unconditionally and always has His arms open wide.

A tenderhearted redemption story about how God can take our brokenness—like the red clay pottery Violet works with—and make something beautiful out of it!

Maybe God doesn't always fix what's shattered. But He can make something new and beautiful out of what's been broken. ~Violet
*I received a complimentary copy from Revell publishers and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions expressed here are my own. *

"You think God is afraid of your past? Let me tell you , he is not afraid of your . . . jagged . . . edges. . .  He knows you even better than you know yourself. Jagged edges and all. He knows you, and he loves you anyway".

The thing is . . .Eli is afraid of his past, and those jagged edges are bound to scar the ones that he has always loved (and is growing to love) the most. Can he possibly protect them from himself? Having lost everything, he dared to come back to the one place where he might still belong. Except that, the prickly, bristly potter who has burrowed her way into his family's inner sanctum seems to have made it her personal mission to make sure he remembers why he stayed away for so long in the first place. Oh, he remembers alright.

Eli Ross. Practically a local legend on Prince Edward Island until his alleged fall from grace. Once a household name, famed professional hockey player, raking in plenty of money along with beautiful women on each arm. . . well, no man should be that handsome . . . not the Violet Donaghy is noticing . . . or anything. But what's the real story? Hopefully his is not as sad as hers, for it seems they both have secrets.

So romantic! So inspiring! Graceful use of pottery metaphors are sprinkled through-out this definitely-not-friends to lovers story. Is there an obvious dose of happily-ever-after going on here? Most certainly Absolutely. Even Jesus, (especially Jesus!) wrote a story about such a homecoming. To know and be known. To confess and be forgiven. To long and belong . . . even if it means taking "the last way home". Enjoy every page!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
When Eli Ross left Prince Edward Island to join the NHL, he left a broken family behind. More than a decade later, he's broke and headed home to an uncertain welcome. He wants to make things right with the family he wronged, but his mom's business partner isn't making it easy. To top it off, the coaching job he's accepted turns out to be far more difficult than he anticipated.

For years, Violet Donaghy has put everything she had into making Eli's mom's ceramics shop a success, and she's not eager to forgive the man who hurt the family that's taken her in as one of their own. But when the kiln at the shop starts a fire that nearly destroys the studio, she'll need all the help she can get to save the business and their summer income.

Can these two strong-willed people come together to mend the broken pieces of the Ross family? Or will the ghosts of the past continue to haunt them?

Return to Prince Edward Island for a romantic story of family, forgiveness, and the power of love. 

Revell Publishing, August, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

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