In this first story, a minor car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.
I think we all know a guy like Sebastian – he’s not a bad guy but rather, he’s a good guy, who is just a bit too used having a certain effect on women. Watching him fall in love with Chandra made me smile so many times. I just loved him in Love Unexpected. Chandra’s dramatic personality was interesting to watch. While I instantly connected with Sebastian, it took me until Chandra opened Sebastian’s card that came with his flowers for me to really identify with her. Goring manages to capture the initial magic of falling in love with a simple joy that warms the heart. The magic in the story is in seeing two people, who for various reasons always believed they would be alone, finding a genuine connection with each other. Their happy ending was engaging and sincere.
The Best Gift
The second story is set at Christmastime, which meant that I was instantly drawn in and attracted to the magic of this special time of year. Christina wants to lose ten pounds so that she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mother would simply stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually leans that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.
I instantly sympathised with Christina’s plight. Wanting to look nice at your sister’s weddings is something most of us can relate to. The pressure that Jordan felt from her mother to tie the knot was also something that I could relate to, whereas Joshua’s desire to connect with God was refreshing to read. Interestingly enough, of the three stories, I became most invested in Joshua’s journey to grow closer to God. He seemed to transform on the page from self-absorbed to Christ-like in his ability to touch other people’s lives. There was a simply magic in watching three people set off down an unexpected path and have each one turn out well. The positive outcomes really warmed my heart.
Peace and Love
Three people living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle (a starving artist) aspires to become a paid professional. Eric (a divorce attorney) wants to resolve his issues concerning his parent’s divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All of them pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.
In Peace and Love, I instantly connected with Eric. His working life has been impacted by his painful past and even though his intentions are honourable, each day simply dredges up his old memories. It is difficult handling this type of work, even for the most energised, positive person. Kristine’s touching story about finding her birth mother was sweet and sincere. I thought Goring’s ability to create three dynamic characters that you relate to, who do not have anything to do with each other, is very skilful. Elle’s quest for a job is something I think everyone can relate to. We’ve all been there at one point or another. It is a good reminder that God cares about even the minor things in our lives. He provides for our needs with a kindness and compassion that we can’t truly understand this side of eternity.
Alexis Goring’s style is sweet and each of her characters is clearly their own person. It’s not like we are reading the same character react and handle different situations. I do think that her characters settle into their stories. What I mean is that it takes a bit of time for the reader to get a handle on each person’s motivations and their emotions. If I could make any suggestions, I would say that if Goring could capture her characters’ personality quirks, motivations and emotions at the very beginning of each story, the reader would find themselves instantly attached to them. This is not a criticism though because there is nothing wrong with having those things gradually emerge naturally. It’s more of an observation that I would look forward to seeing in future work by Alexis Goring.
I would recommend this book for a younger female audience. It contains beautiful, hopeful stories that warm the heart; so really, each story does exactly what Alexis Goring wanted it to do: inspire hope in the heart.