From the minute Grace Evangeline throws her sweet tea in Devin Bressard’s face, their battle of wits and cross-purposes overtakes their lives. Sassy “angelic” Grace Evangeline will stop at nothing to see her romance novel produced for Broadway. Devin Bressard knows all about the commercial success of Ms. Evangeline’s “novels”—as far from his literary, nerve-striking plays as anything could be.
Grace intends to pull his head out of the rarefied air long enough to make her point, even if it involves stalking him and infiltrating his friends and colleagues. It’s research, after all. Devin knows she’s trouble, but who would guess the spokesperson for strength and virtue would be a calamity vortex? He mounts a fierce resistance, but when he’s forced to work with Grace, his profession and sanity aren’t the only things at risk.
Collapsing walls on both sides bring a detente that could shatter their bond—or resound through more lives than their own.
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I am besotted.
Told You So is one of the few novels this year to leave me breathless and enraptured from start to finish. Kristen Heitzmann seized command of my emotions with the brilliance of her prose and characterization. Her style is a true homage to the love of words and exquisite emotional response they can evoke. Too complex to be categorized solely as a witty contemporary romance, there are wisps of suspense of drama that give readers substance to cling to and devour.
The magnetism that Kristen creates between Grace and Devin is flawless. Their passionate battle of wits and egos is symptomatic of repressed attraction, fear of vulnerability and staunch pride. Their verbal sparring is some of the best use of dialogue I have come across; the subtext reinforces character development while being the main force to propel the plot forward.
Told You So is the first indie release for this established author. Opting to forgo a traditional Christian publishing house has afforded Kristen freedom to explore relationships and issues in a less sanitized and prohibitive way than is usual for this market. Kristen’s approach is realistic of society and not at all gratuitous with liberal behaviour; she is diligent in showing that every decision has ramifications, whether positive or negative. The faith message is present, but it is not evangelistic or coerced. In fact, the subtlety of spiritual devotion, awakening and restoration causes those moments to be all the more poignant.
When it was over, I felt as if I was the one upon which ice cold sweet tea had been thrown. A most unwelcome return to reality after my utter fascination and absorption with these two characters. I await with bated breath for Kristen’s next release and expect an equally engrossing reading experience.
**Disclosure: review copy provided by author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**