High school teacher Josie Barnes and the school’s football coach Zach Powers have known each other for a while now since they socialize with the same group of friends. They’ve subtly flirted at parties but haven’t gone beyond those interactions. When Josie hands out failing grades to some of his players, Zach initiates their first real one-on-one meeting. Josie’s sensitive to her students and other teachers seeing them fraternize but they really enjoy each other too much to stay apart.
One of the reasons I love this series is the strong sense of community found in Hope, Oklahoma. In every book, characters from previous stories are present in meaningful ways with some contribution to the current issues. Josie had a tough childhood so moving here and creating these relationships is more than a lifeline. Her issues were directly tied to her past experiences, clouding her judgment where Zach was concerned. While he also had a disappointing relationship with his family growing up, the impact was completely different and their contrasts were interesting. Their network of friends offered valuable perspectives to Josie and Zach as they navigated their way towards a relationship.
I liked the story, especially how rescued animals were featured. Not only were Josie and Zach nurturing them, they were also healing the humans’ souls, a very powerful message. The narrator did a good job of capturing Josie (and the other female characters), even though she could be uneven at times, but her male voices were a challenge. I still really enjoyed listening to the story and was just happy to be back in Hope and catching up with everyone from the earlier books.
- Release Date: September 19, 2018
- Series: Hope #8
- Narrator: Allyson Ryan
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 8 minutes
(I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review)