by Amanda Waters
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Pub Date 17 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 02 Dec 2022
Everyone feels stuck now and then, right? At least, that's what Kristen tells herself. The problem is that all her usual tricks for getting out of a funk aren't working. What she needs is a really big change, and as a single woman with a remote career, her options are wide open. So she decides to spend a year in the small town of Riverton where her dad recently relocated. The people in Riverton are warm and welcoming, and Kristen quickly finds herself a part of her new community in ways that she didn't expect.
Kristen also meets Jack, a wonderer who prefers the woods to people, and who hasn't had a second date since high school. When Jack and Kristen meet they're immediately attracted to each other, but they've both been burned in the past and have the high emotional walls to prove it. Despite their hesitations, the two can't seem to stop spending time together. As her year in Riverton draws to a close, Kristen must decide what comes next, and she's torn between old and new. Kristen and Jack are forced to confront their painful pasts, their true feelings for each other, and decide what—if anything—they're willing to do for a chance at love.
A Note From the Publisher
"With You is a story that touches on vulnerability, friendship, and romance in the most beautiful way. Jack and Kristen feel like old friends you know and love by the end of the book. This page-turner will leave you smiling." -Dawn Klinge, author of the Historical Hotels novels
"It is a pleasure entering into the world of With You where the likable characters enjoy a true sense of camaraderie. There's a real community feel in this novel. I loved the female and male viewpoints which offered insight into the smoldering relationship between Kristen and Jack. The twists and turns held my attention until the very end of the novel. Great stuff!" -Gail Aldwin, author of This Much Huxley Knows
"Curling up with this sweet romance novel is like a comfortable conversation with a best friend over steaming chai lattes; warm and engaging. With relatable characters and vivid descriptions, the story of Kristen and Jack's complicated relationship is a delightful slow burn-until the spark are undeniable..." -Laura Thomas, author of The Orphan Beach
"With You is a book you'll want to take to the beach of snuggle up with on a cold winter night. Reading it is like being wrapped in the warmth and love of extended family with characters so well written you'll feel like you've known them forever. The story of the main character is one I wouldn't mind reading about in sequels, yet when this book ends, the conclusion leaves you with a sense of peace and satisfaction. Overall, a very satisfying read that I would recommend." -Barbara A. Luker, author of I Carry Your Heart
"Two people each with their own history of emotional baggage meet in a small town by chance. They live their separate lives coming together when they meet in town. Once they realize they are happier together one must take the opportunity to let the other know. Waters takes you on an emotional journey of pain, love, desire, and lost opportunities all while healing from the past." -Stephen W. Briggs, author of Lies Lead to Death and Family of Killers
Average rating from 8 members
This book was sent to me electronically by Netgalley for review. Thanks to the publisher for the copy. The characters are likable and come alive on the pages. A plethora of characters but easy to keep track. Love and romance…starting over…family and friends…get togethers and book clubs…the main character has her new friends meet her old friends…they mesh. This is a book I would read again. I liked the story…I really liked the story…the characters, although intriguing, are somewhat flawed. Interesting…real…
Against a backdrop of sun-soaked afternoons by the lake and cool autumn evenings by the fire, Amanda Waters explores haunted pasts and delicate new beginnings in her exquisitely tender story centered around two guarded introverts.
After living in the same Chicago apartment for 20 years, Kristen finds herself feeling disillusioned and decides a change of scenery must be what she needs. She swaps the hustle and bustle of the city for a small-town community, relocating to Riverton where her dad lives, but promises to stay just a year. She quickly befriends her neighbours—the unbelievably considerate and excessively thoughtful Celia and Levi—as well as their cousin Jack, who's rugged and charming in equal measure. Since experiencing a whirlwind abusive marriage at just 18 years old, Kristen has closed herself off to romance, but now, after years of being alone, she finds herself craving connection.
Wayfarer Jack, with a habit of bolting when life gets serious, is never in town more than a few weeks at a time, but after laying eyes on Kristen, he's eager to stick around. Jack and Kristen are immediately drawn to each other. He to her assertive, confident nature and she to his gentle kindness. (Okay, maybe there is mention of long legs and crooked smiles..) But will they overcome their fear of vulnerability to make it work?
Waters's second romance novel employs a selection of well-loved tropes (best friend's relative, meet-cute, miscommunication, etc) but avoids feeling formulaic due to the unexpected depth of her characters. Throughout her enchanting slow-burn romance, Waters studies the effects of trauma, the stages of grief, and the importance of communication with nuance and care, creating characters that are just.. so human.
She writes with luscious prose, attentive to all five senses, building a stunning sense of community surrounded by vibrant nature. I read this on a cold, dreary day in November, and it was every bit as warm and wholesome as I'd hoped. With home-made lemonade, freshly baked pies, sunlit kitchens, and the aroma of wet soil greeting you when you open the door.. With You will leave you longing for a homely cabin in the woods.
What makes With You so wholesome, though, isn't the blossoming (healthy!) romance or even the serene wildlife setting; it's the friendships Kristen makes during her stay in Riverton. Featuring some admittedly unrealistic dialogue with introspective, profound quotes that you maybe wouldn't hear in real life, Waters nurtures friendships that are sympathetic and understanding among characters who genuinely want the best for each other.
With whimsical prose and love of all kinds, With You is wonderfully warming. A perfect comfort read.
As someone who has been in the MC shoes its so nice to see more stories about healing from an abusive relationship. There are so many books that deal with the situation but not the aftermath, and the ones I have read have not handled it well. I will say if you are expecting a book filled with drama, this is not for you. This is a book full of ordinary days about mental health, supportive friends and family, and personal growth. I will say I felt like there was a lot of talk about food, eating and prepping it. It kinda made me hungry, but the last 25% was really good and by the end.
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