I received an advance copy of this book from Goodreads. I love Brenda Novak and this was one of her best books ever. Such a poignant story, with Phoenix coming from a sad and dysfunctional childhood and Riley, a popular boy she loves and whom she thinks loves her, rejecting her because of his family’s disapproval and their disparate backgrounds. She gets pregnant but Riley doesn’t want to acknowledge paternity at first.
He steps up and raises their son when she is imprisoned for a crime she says she didn’t commit and when she is finally released, Phoenix is both overjoyed to connect with her teenage son, Jacob, and reluctant to become involved with Riley’s life.
I loved that Phoenix was proud and determined to make something of herself, truly rising from the ashes of her upbringing. And that Jacob was at first curious to get to know his mom and eager to understand what had really happened all those years ago. And I loved that even Riley slowly came to respect and admire a woman he had feelings for when she was a young girl and dismissed because of his overbearing and judgmental family and friends.
This review was first published in March, 2015. Ms. Novak’ s newest release is A Winter Wedding, available now: