January 13, 2018 03:34 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I only had one five-star read in December. It was an older romance and something of a hidden gem of the genre. It was my first Amish romance, but it isn’t your typical Amish romance. It contains some mild sensuality, mild language, and mature themes such as infidelity and domestic abuse, which may bother some readers of this usually squeaky clean sub-genre. Obviously none of that offended me, because it ended up being a great read that I highly recommend to anyone who wouldn’t be.
Jacob had been best friends with Rachel since childhood, and by their teen years, he’d fallen in love with her. But when he was at his most vulnerable point, following the death of his mother, his brother, Simon, made claims that Rachel was in love with Simon and had agreed to marry him. Devastated, Jacob renounced his Amish heritage and went out into the “English” world. He tried a few different things, but nothing seemed to be a good fit. Then he chanced to discover that a brief affair with an “English” woman had resulted in twins whose mother had died in childbirth. Jacob wants to be a good father to his children, but the only way he knows to raise them is the Amish way, so he humbles himself and returns to his former community even though he knows it will be torturous to see Rachel with his brother every day. Knowing his little ones need a mother figure in their lives, he asks Rachel to look after them. Then Jacob discovers that Simon has been abusing her for their entire marriage and takes steps to prevent his brother from ever hurting her again. He also offers his comfort to Rachel which leads to an unintended night of passion and unexpected consequences. Jacob is a total sweetheart, a kind, gentle beta hero who I completely fell in love with. He’s a good son, an incredible father, and a tender lover to Rachel. I loved his support for her efforts to publish a newspaper and most of all for his protectiveness toward her. When their affair comes out, he also tries to take full responsibility for what happened and is ready to sacrifice everything to make sure that Rachel and his kids have the future they deserve. I loved Jacob to pieces and he definitely became one of my favorite romance heroes of 2017.
When Jacob left their Amish community, Rachel thought he had abandoned her. Little did she know that Simon had sold Jacob a pack of lies and was now presenting himself to her as someone he wasn’t in an attempt to get her to marry him. Over time, she started to develop feelings for him, but they were never as strong as what she’d felt for Jacob. However, thinking Jacob would never return, she eventually agreed to marry Simon. When he began abusing her almost as soon as the vows were said, she knew she’d made a horrible mistake, but it couldn’t be undone, so all she could do was endure. Rachel wants more than anything to have children of her own, but she’s been unable to conceive, which is something that Simon regularly berates her for. When Jacob finally comes back, asking her to watch over his children, she’s more than happy to comply. But being so close to the man she’s never stopped loving while she’s married to another is almost unbearable. When Simon’s abuse becomes particularly cruel one night and Jacob offers his comfort, she can’t resist the passion that flares between them, but when she discovers that she’s finally carrying the child she’s longed for, it’s a mixed blessing. Rachel is a kind, sweet heroine, who is committed to family and proves to be a great mother to Jacob’s children. Despite the horrific way her husband treats her, she’s very forgiving toward him. She feels the guilt of her infidelity deeply, even though she can’t say that she regrets it. Rachel showed a great deal of strength and fortitude, mingled with kindness and goodness that made her the perfect heroine.
Overall, this was a truly beautiful story with an even more beautiful ending that really tugs on the heartstrings. I was kept guessing right up until the final pages just how Jacob and Rachel could possibly have an HEA, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Jacob and Rachel's love is unbreakable, and it’s abundantly apparent that they were meant to be together if only Simon hadn’t interfered, leading to so much heartache for everyone involved. Both of them express a great deal of sorrow over the hurt they caused Simon, which I think was necessary to show what kind and truly good people they are in spite of their missteps. The book is very much a study in the individual choices we make and how those choices can affect those around us in both positive and negative ways. The author also does a great job of keeping the suspense high throughout, making me wonder more than once if things were going to go the way I was hoping or not. I can’t express how much I loved this story. That’s why I’m naming Annette Blair’s Thee, I Love (aka Jacob's Return) as my December Book of the Month. If you enjoy second-chance historical romance filled with tenderness, angst, drama, and emotion, then you should definitely give this book a try. Keep reading to learn how you can win a copy for your own library.
Jacob Sauder abandons his Amish heritage when the woman he loves, Rachel Zook, agrees to marry his brother, Simon. Though Jacob adapts to the ways of the "English," even fathering twins, he remains an outsider. When the mother of his twins dies, Jacob knows only one way to raise them - the Amish way. He brings them home to the community he vowed to leave forever. For his children he can do anything, even see Rachel, the woman he loves, married to his brother.
Shocked when he returns with two-year-old twins, Rachel knows there can be nothing between them, for marriage is a life-long commitment. But the twins need a mother and Rachel loves children. As she cares for Aaron and Emma, as if they were her own, her feelings for Jacob deepen into a love that cannot be.
Jacob's Return is the story of a prodigal son, a forbidden love, and a fanatical preacher. As shocking as it is compelling, it is both uplifting and unforgettable. A universal story of love and faith in impossible circumstances.
Read my complete review of Thee, I Love.
If you would like to win a copy of Thee, I Love aka Jacob’s Return to see how wonderful it is for yourself, just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Sorry, but the paperback version is OOP and I’m unable to find any new or like new copies for a reasonable price at this time. That being the case, one lucky winner will receive an eBook copy of the book, which I will gift to them via the eBook retailer of their choice (Amazon or B & N). Good luck!
International Entrants: You are welcome to enter my contest, but please note that not all eBooks are available in all countries due to copyright restrictions. If this is the case, Amazon does offer an option to trade for a gift card (I'm not sure about B & N).
Tags: Annette Blair