by Rachel Ward
|Size||5.5 x 8.25|
By Melanie, Submitted on 2016-08-30
Quinn had her life all planned out. After her mission, she was going to marry her perfect boyfriend and live a perfect life. However, three months before she came home, he broke up with her so she needed to quickly change her plans.
I loved this book! The story starts with Quinn's boyfriend, Josh, breaking up with her three months before the end of her mission. She's understandably upset but pulls herself together, determined that it won't destroy the time she has left. Then the story picks up six months later, when Quinn's been home for a few months. Life is very different than she had imagined it would be. She's adjusting to post-mission life: living at home, taking online classes and trying to find a steady job so she can buy a car.
I could really feel for Quinn because I found myself in a similar circumstance when I returned home from my mission. There were some tough adjustments to make and new realities to face. She's a likable character and handled things well. There's one situation that was a little bit frustrating but I understood her decisions there, too, and hoped she'd figure things out. There were twists and turns, and definitely some drama, along the way to her happy ending.
The author also takes on some heavier topics with a certain character and his family issues. She did a great job keeping a balance so that it didn't take over but helped bring the characters closer together. There are some specific LDS references but it's not preachy at all. I devoured this book and look forward to reading more from this author in the future!
I received a copy from the publisher for an honest review. My opinion is 100% my own.
By Katie, Submitted on 2016-08-25
(4.5 Stars) I really loved this book on so many levels. This story is specific to the LDS (Mormon) faith and while not preachy, there are many references that those who are not of the faith won't understand.
Quinn has always been in love with her best friend's brother and after they finally get together, she decides to serve a mission. Shortly before she comes home, she receives an email that changes her life--she's been dumped. After coming home, she struggles to figure life out and as she slowly begins to put the pieces together, she finds that what she thought she wanted might not be what she really needs.
I think most people can understand and relate to Quinn to some degree. Transitioning into adulthood is difficult, at best, and it's hard to find the "right" path to take--the path that will bring the most happiness. Quinn is fairly humble and oblivious, which leads to some tricky situations. She doesn't always make the best choices and those decisions lead to a little reader frustration. I wanted her to come around and fix things. It's hard to see people make "mistakes" but they do have to resolve things in their time, as did Quinn.
I'm a big believer that people are constantly changing and our experiences play a big part in that. If a couple isn't morphing together, it's easy to find themselves on completely different paths. What might be "right" at one time, isn't necessarily "right" later. This theme is very evident throughout the story in many ways. I love watching the different relationships progress--from friendships, to family, to romance. There are so many great characters and circumstances. It was easy to feel a part of the story, since these things felt so familiar. There are some sensitive, difficult issues found within these pages and they are handled well. They don't drag the story down. I've found another new author to watch!
Content: moderate religious elements (not preachy); mild romance (some innuendo and implied situations). Clean!
*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
By Mandy Al-Bjaly, Submitted on 2016-08-25
Dear Jane, by Rachel Ward, was one of those books I wasn't super excited to read. The book cover and book description didn't sound very complex or interesting, but rather kind of cheesy and uncomplicated.
If you read the book cover and think the same thing, read this book anyway, because the actual book is absolutely amazing. It really, truly is.
Now, if you aren't LDS, you probably would find this book confusing. The author does not explain anything about LDS culture or beliefs, but rather assumes that the reader is LDS. There is nothing wrong with that, but just know that if you aren't LDS, you probably won't understand the book unless you have a very close LDS friend who can fill you in. The author also completely engulfs the reader into the state of Utah - from its weather to its geography to its restaurants. It helps to be familiar with Utah when reading this book, but not a requirement to enjoy it.
In the beginning of Dear Jane, Quinn Matthews is in her last few months of her LDS mission in Florida, when she receives a "Dear Jane" letter from the love of her life, Joshua, which basically says that he has gotten engaged to someone else and doesn't think they were meant to be. This, of course, breaks Quinn's heart.
Once she comes home from her mission, she isn't motivated to do much and isn't sure of her future. But, through the gentle prodding of her father, she ends up getting a job at a local realtor's office. Through this new job, a missionary she knew in Florida comes back into her life, much to her dismay.
I won't tell you anymore details other than to promise you that this book reads as if it is a true story. Every detail is brought before your eyes. You are with Quinn from start to finish, experiencing her annoyances, anxieties, fears, tragedies, confusions, loves, and joys.
I found myself really relating to her - maybe not her fear of public speaking, addiction to cotton candy, or her love of running - but I felt that if I were in her shoes, I probably would react very similarly to her. Her character was so real. Her reactions from every trial and moment she went through were completely authentic and human.
The author was full of surprises. Just when I thought something in the story was predictable, Ward threw in something to completely prove me wrong. The story definitely had me guessing, and kept me yearning for more. I couldn't drink it up fast enough.
A true test of a good book is when you want to read a particular part more than once so you can experience it again. Another true test is whether or not the book makes you cry. I gasped and burst into tears more than once in the book. No, nothing about Quinn's story (and the stories of those around her) is superficial or easy. She lived a life of real problems, imperfections, and trials. Darkness seeped into the light of her life through much of the book, but how she endured - and how she helped others endure - really solidified the uplifting factor of this work of art.
This will be a book I keep on my shelf forever. It was absolutely beautiful. Well done, Rachel Ward!
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
By Cathy J, Submitted on 2016-08-22
I loved this book from the very beginning! It isn't very often you see a book about a sister missionary who gets dumped by her boyfriend. I loved that the plot line of this one was just a bit different than you normally see.
I felt sad for Quinn when she got her Dear Jane email. You could just tell that Quinn was trying her hardest to be a good missionary and that she really wanted to work hard and do what was right. I also felt bad for her when she came home to real life and realized just how many trials real life contains for most people.
I loved the way things got a little bit better for her when she finally found a job, until the Elder who seemed to not like her the most from her mission, Elder Ryan, walked in as one of her bosses. I loved the way that Elder Ryan, Nick, slowly became more of a friend and maybe even a little bit more to her as the story went on.
There were plenty of twists and turns on the way for Quinn, but I love the way she eventually figured out what would be the perfect happily ever after for her!
This is a cute, clean romance that I didn't want to put down.
I was sent an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
By Aimee Brown, Submitted on 2016-08-20
I really enjoyed this book. I read through it quickly and it made me smile. The characters were well defined and I could picture the scenes and places so easily. It's hard to say much without giving away the content of the book which the blurb doesn't really mention.
Quinn is a good, solid character. I really liked her. Her family was flawed and imperfect but hers. There was love with that imperfection and it was a good representation of most families. There is always struggle and hard things in life. Always. Things rarely go as we expect them to. People disappoint us, we make mistakes, we lose people we love. Sometimes we just don't understand. That is life. Messy and hard. I guess that was what I loved most about this book- even though all of those things were happening, there was still love and joy, forgiveness and hope. That is life too.
The author did a good job of balancing the weightier things with happy things so that as a reader I never felt bogged down or overwhelmed. It was good!
Content: Some weightier issues- suicide, drug addiction, mental illness, divorce, abandonment
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.