Title: A Better Place
Author: Jennifer Van Wyk
Release Date: August 7, 2017
After James Cole’s wife walked out on him, he put his dreams aside to raise his daughter. But now she’s grown and he’s ready for more.
When the opportunity arises to own a restaurant, his life-long dream, he can’t deny that it’s meant to be. And for more reasons than one.
He’s kept his heart closed off since the day his wife walked away. He’s never found someone who he thought was worth opening himself up to. But one look at her, and he knew she was everything.
Carly Hanson has a secret. A secret only she and her teenage son Jack know about. She’s built a new life but kept herself carefully guarded.
The day Carly stumbled, literally, into James, her world was turned upside down. She tries to keep him strictly as a friend, but he’s relentless in his pursuit. Can he break down the walls she’s so firmly built? Can he get her to join him in… A Better Place?
Jennifer Van Wyk serves up another sweet, sparkling small town romance with James and Carly’s story in A Better Place. Heartfelt, entertaining, and hilarious at times, this book expertly recaptures the brilliant feeling of family first cultivated in the companion novel, From the Ground Up. A Better Place brings readers back to Liberty and reintroduces all of the vibrant, unforgettable characters that call Jennifer Van Wyk’s fictional world home. A Better Place delivers plenty of feels, overflowing with raw emotion, lots of laughs, and just the right amount of sizzle. James and Carly shared an absolutely electric chemistry that made for a ton of great banter and decidedly delicious moments. However, it was the deeply significant emotional connection this duo shared that made them so addictive and ensured I was wholly invested in their happily ever after.
“I knew in that moment that it was either him or me. That I could choose to let him win, let him take over my life even more than he already had. Or I could be fierce. I could be strong.”
Carly is the kind of heroine you can’t help but root for. Having been through some seriously dark stuff in her life, I found myself in awe of Carly’s incredible strength, obvious kindness, and inspiring resilience. I wanted to hug her and high-five her all at once, completely moved by this breathtaking character. Carly’s relationship with her son Jack was equally touching and I quickly fell hard for their fantastic family. Jennifer Van Wyk did a phenomenal job developing this character over the course of the story. Seeing Carly’s beautiful spirit and brave heart being truly appreciated and watching her grow into her own as her relationship with James progressed, made my heart all kinds of happy.
“In the real world, people’s hearts don’t stutter just from someone’s look.”
James was pretty much book boyfriend perfection. I sincerely adored his relationship with his niece and nephews, his daughter Lily, and Jack. Talk about making me melt in all the best ways! Although he seemed fairly flawless, James had his own baggage. In fact, it was James’ past and the hurt he had suffered that made him feel so tangible and easy to connect with. James had overcome his obstacles to build a life he could be proud of and this made him the perfect match for Carly. James’ unwavering patience, absolute understanding, and fierce love for not only Carly, but Jack too, had me all sorts of swooning.
“Around him I feel like it would be okay to maybe try again, move forward and break all my rules. I’m falling for him, hard. Along the way, I wondered how the hell it happened. But I realized… he happened.”
Jennifer Van Wyk’s writing has definitely grown since her first novel and I loved experiencing the depth of the emotion she seems to so effortlessly have captured with Carly and James’ story. Touching upon some tough subjects, I must applaud the author for not only giving a voice to anyone who has experienced what Carly has, but also doing so with the kind of quiet grace and incredible strength these warriors deserve. I appreciated how perfectly this story balanced the heartbreak with the humor and overall hopeful nature of Carly and James’ story, taking readers on a journey that was as enchanting as it was poignant. Simply breathtaking, unapologetically real, and absolutely memorable, A Better Place is a grand slam of a second novel from author Jennifer Van Wyk!
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Don’t miss the companion novel:
From the Ground Up