*I received a free copy of The Choices I've Made from CreateSpace via BookSprout. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Series: By the Bay #1
Published by CreateSpace on October 1, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I swore I’d never go home again.
With nothing more than a few boxes and a beat up truck, I left behind my old life at the tender age of eighteen to pursue my medical career.
And I never looked back.
Twelve years later, I find myself traveling back to the sandy shores of that North Carolina town where my late father has left me his medical practice. Coming here means facing my past… My memories… And her — Molly McIntyre.
Growing up, Molly had been my entire world, first as a childhood friend and then so much more. We’d made promises to each other back then. Promises I broke when I walked away. And now that I’m back? Well, let’s just say she’s not exactly the head of my welcoming committee. But even she can’t deny the undeniable spark that still burns so brightly between us and soon, we’re tumbling fast and hard into the past.
But I need to keep my eyes set to the future, because mine isn’t here in this dead end town. Not anymore.
All Molly has ever known is here, on this small island. Could I really ask her to give it all up? For me? If I walk away again, will she follow?
I’m a sucker for second-chance romances so The Choices I’ve Made was right up my alley. Add in the small-town setting and this had the makings of a great read. And while I enjoyed Jake and Molly’s story, there was some telling rather than showing in the character development that kept them from being as complex as they could’ve been.
Jake and Molly were high school sweethearts who’d believed nothing could ever tear them apart. Then Jake lost his mom and couldn’t deal with the grief and ghosts so he left his island home in search of a new life. Molly was left alone to pick up the pieces and try to move on without her soulmate. Twelve years later, Jake’s returned home to deal with his father’s funeral. When he and Molly lay eyes on each other, it’s clear that although some things have changed, their feelings have not.
I liked the premise of this story, how it was laid out. I liked the cast – people who are close-knit and caring. I enjoyed how the past – Jake and Molly’s – was doled out so we could see how close they’d been. I even liked how things eventually resolved even if at one point I was screaming “NOOOO!” I think my only real issue was with character development. There were too many times when I was told something about Jake or Molly – about the kind of people they were – where actions would have spoken louder than words. This kept them from the depth that could have been achieved and therefore kept me from having as deep a connection with them. I was, however, invested in them as I am in the other characters so I *will* continue the series.
The Choices I’ve Made was my first read from J.L. Berg and even though it didn’t wow me, I appreciate her storytelling abilities and will read her again.