This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on July 31, 2020
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
Coming home for the prodigal and setting the past on its ear stirs a romance that was long overdue. Rebecca Yarros is an author who hit my radar when so many book pals were raving about The Last Letter. I had full intentions of grabbing that one first, but reading the blurb on Great and Precious Things had me changing my mind. I have no regrets the way this one captured me from the beginning and gave me all the feels within the first chapter no less.
Camden Daniels left his hometown of Alba, Colorado six years before swearing he would never return. He was a rebelrouser as a teen and earned some enmity from most of his town. As an adult, a few clashes made them believe he is still a bad seed and the death of his youngest brother that everyone, including himself, sees as his fault cements their opinion. But now, one phone call from the dad who blamed him worse for Sully’s death than he could blame himself brings him back to face it all. He’d rather face enemy fire back in the desert, but his dad’s dementia is getting worse and he will come home and help out his responsible older brother, Xander, who it turns out has his own agenda, while avoiding the one person he wants to keep away from at all cost, Willow.
Willow grew up as the tagalong to the three Daniels’ boys next door. She was closest to Cam, whom few took the time to understand, but it was Sully she chose. Cam’s return has stirred up the town, his dad, and her. It has been stifling to return home and years later have no one believe that she isn’t still broken up over Sully’s death. The town prides itself on keeping the past alive for the tourists, but this also is the case for the people. Until Cam’s return, she was content to exist and have small rebellions like her graphic design business and support her sister’s even larger rebellions against the plan their dad the judge had set for his children. Now, he challenges her to face some hard truths of what she really wants and whether she can stand beside Cam in the face of a whole town including their families to have her dreams.
Great and Precious Things is a standalone story about a military hero who goes home to hate and recrimination instead of being embraced for growing up and making good. To Alba and his dad, he’s still the reckless and rowdy angry kid who punches one brother through a glass window, fights at the drop of a dime, and gets his other brother killed. I was already on Cam’s side before I got all the facts. It’s obvious he’s changed and is an incredible man, but very few see it. Only Willow seems to appreciate it. He knew his dad hated him, but when his dad called for help, he came running. That’s a hero.
The story introduces the complicated situations and characters. The past is relevant so each introduction comes with an in depth delving into individual and shared pasts. This is a place that went to seed and bucks against new ideas and change. So, it was not just a romance, but Cam is the catalyst who opens all the festering going on. Some health and some are too far gone to embrace the brisk cold wind of change he brings.
Much was obvious from the beginning of where it was going to go from the romance, family dynamics, and events. I wasn’t surprised, but I never felt bored. Now, the second half did bog down a bit with extra dramas. Poor Cam and Willow had so much to contend with that it felt like it went beyond reasonable into over the top. I didn’t hate it, but I did get impatient.
I wanted to hate several characters, but, I ended up feeling sorry for them under my anger at them. They are flawed and weak and it is obvious why they lash out at Cam and then Willow. Some did some about faces which was good. I really got a kick out of Willow’s older sister from the beginning even more than Willow really. She took life’s knocks in stride and they only made her stronger and a warmer, mature woman.
The romance was beautiful in the sense these two people were a match, but had to wait a while to get their turn and go through a lot of years of hard road to get there. There is sparkle when they are in the same room and it just sizzles with attraction. Cam’s broody, smoldering nature and Willow’s forthright, steadier one balance out especially since they need to fight for what they want.
I’ve listened to Carly Robbins narration work before and enjoy her talent that matches well with this style of emotional story. Eric Michael Summerer was new to me, but I liked his rendition of Cam’s point of view from the start. He has a good range to do all the voices and he managed emotion and pace of the story so well. They switched back and forth and I had no trouble with two narrators.
All in all, it was a hard-fought romance and heartwarming story. I am definitely sold on trying more from this author and the narrators. Those who like a slightly dramatic, but deeply engaging contemporary romance should give this one a go.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #138
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About the Book
How do you define yourself when others have already decided who you are?
Six years ago, when Camden Daniels came back from war without his younger brother, no one in the small town of Alba, Colorado, would forgive him – especially his father. He left, swearing never to return.
But a desperate message from his father brings it all back. The betrayal. The pain. And the need to go home again.
But home is where the one person he still loves is waiting. Willow. The one woman he can never have. Because there are secrets buried in Alba that are best left in the dark.
If only he could tell his heart to stay locked away when she whispers she’s always loved him, and always will…
Contains mature themes.
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