Just to See You Smile by Sally John

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

About the book:
Author: Sally John
Publisher: Harvest House
Source: Purchase 
Publish Date: 2008 (re-release), 2002 (first printing)
Find the Review Elsewhere: Goodreads
Series: The Other Way Home - Book 3
Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: dedicated basketball coach and teacher, Britte Olafsson isn’t about to let her firm hand with students be upset by some overprotective, overbearing parent. New principal Joel Kingsley also rules with strict, orderly discipline on school grounds. As a former Marine, he is used to challenges but when it comes to backing up Britte in her coaching decisions, he may just have met his match.

Married seventeen years, Alec and Anne Sutton are experiencing some financial and emotional trials. They’ve just seen their best friends go through a divorce which shakes Anne’s beliefs to the core – if it could happen to her friend, can’t it happen to anyone? Amid job troubles and a tanking economy, Alec loses sight of his family – and his wife’s heart. Will he be able to win her back?

Review: The third installment in Sally John’s series is a story too comfortable in its own skin, really, and especially, the characters become too easy in their circumstances – each of them take too much for granted. It's a story about losing sight of what is most important in life and does have a lot of good things to say, but I had a really difficult time getting “into” the story. During the portions of novel that tells Anne and Alec’s story, there are some legitimate concerns aided by Alec’s concerns over providing for his household. As the primary provider, he was shaken after being passed over for a promotion which would have led to more money and subsequent stability, but the family also let their beliefs and relationships with each other suffer as a result. Anne felt under appreciated, which, let’s face it, we probably all have experienced a twinge of. I felt that by the time Alec realized he was “losing” his family, his wife; it was far too late in the novel to be properly examined. When he does begin to realize the error of his attitude, there just isn’t enough time left in the story to really feel interested in his romantic gestures.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did – especially since Britte is Brady’s sister (the hero from the first in the series). Britte and Joel make an interesting couple to have thrown together and their tale explores an age difference in a relationship. Neither one of them wants to admit to a growing attraction but when Britte’s life is threatened, that all changes. They see each other differently instead of the boss-employee type connection they had prior to Britte being injured. I don’t think it was the characters that bothered me – once again, they are “real,” as much as the story itself; it just didn’t hold my interest. It’s not that I wouldn’t recommend the book it’s just not my favorite. If you’ve read the others, I would definitely suggest you read this one, too. It is not directly connected, but still has common threads and revisits some previous characters. Something I am always up for since it is always a pleasure to see where beloved characters are in their lives: so many sequels disregard previous characters.

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