Time is supposed to heal all wounds. I thought it had healed mine when I found myself ready to say “I Do”. It all came crashing down the moment I saw Freya Pratt again. After all these years she still affected me like no other. I couldn’t deny that she made me feel something I haven’t felt since the day she left. She made me feel alive. Now I’m questioning everything about our past and my future.
Breaking Max’s heart seemed like a good idea at eighteen. I needed him to forget me and let me go. All these years I’d pretended like what we had was never real. I told myself I wanted what was best for him. I told myself that wasn’t me. After seeing him again, I’m not so sure. As his wedding day nears, I wonder if I should tell him the real reason why I left. Would it even make a difference?
It’s Not Home Without You is an angsty contemporary second chance romance.
Series: Homecoming #1
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥.5
*sigh* this is one of the best feel good books I’ve read in a long time. Obviously it’s not hard to find a second chance romance to read. But finding one that takes your breath away and has you wrapped around its fingers from page one; now those are few and far between. I have to say, this book is head and shoulders above a lot of books of this genre and it made me feel deep in the feels. I’ve never read C. Lymari’s books before and she’s definitely going into my auto-buy list. She tells a story of two people from opposite sides of the tracks – dealing with the bitterness of their failed relationship, the heartbreak, betrayal, regrets, bravery, forgiveness and redemption without missing the romance at all. I won’t be forgetting this book in a hurry.
“I stood in a mantle of darkness with nothing but stars to shine a light on me when grandpa opened the door.
Welcome home, sweet girl
And for the first time since I left San Francisco, I cried because the “perfect” life I had built for myself turned out to be a lie.”
At 25 years old, Freya Pratt finds herself back in her home town of Sunny Pines. When she left 7 years ago, she left a trail of broken hearts and heaps of regrets. Now here she is, financially secure, but emotionally beat down and broken. She has no choice but to go back home and try pick herself up again. But she knows what awaits her; wonders what became of the mess she left behind, how she would even begin to fix it, how she’d begin to explain it to him.
“Why didn’t anyone tell me she would come back?”
Maximilan Dunnett is a man now. For 7 years, he’s been chased by the ghost of her; seen her in everything and everywhere. Tried to drown himself in alcohol and women but the memory of her was too strong. But he’s not that 19 year old boy anymore. He’s picked himself up, dusted that shit off, built himself an empire, found himself a girl and is about to walk down the isle. But alas, fate has other plans. All is well until she walks in again, tilting his world at its axis. He’s angry at her, confused as to what happened, a part of him wants an explanation but a bigger part of him knows to let sleeping dogs lie. Whatever he may think, he can’t deny how alive and awake he suddenly feels at her sight; all this time he thought he’d moved on, turns out he wasn’t living at all.
“She took all of me. All the pieces that make me happy, she took with her. You got what she left behind.”
Try as they might to stay away from each other and a piss poor attempt to have platonic relationship, Freya and Max can’t deny the chemistry between them. Max can’t risk acknowledging his feelings for her; afterall he’s an engaged man. While Freya, well she claims to only want Max to be happy- even if it’s not with her. Before long, secrets are revealed and they can’t deny themselves anymore.
“It’s you, Freya. It’s only ever been you, and it will always be you, baby.”
Freya was an absolutely loveable and relatable heroine. She had a rough childhood being bullied and I loved how well she handled herself. She was tough and held her head high despite living in a town that continuously beat her down. I loved seeing her grow from that young girl with abandonment and inadequacy issues, snagged the most handsome boy in town and bloomed into a successful and beautiful woman. Her love for Max was undeniable, the sacrifice she made for his benefit, painful as it was, was quite something.
The story was written first POV. Although it was written in both Max and Freya’s narrative, we spent too much time in Freya’s head. I wish we had spent a bit more time with Max and his thoughts. The author wrote a mawkish heart-warming story that left me wanting to tell everybody about it before it was even finished. However there are some parts particularly towards the end, where it started to feel a bit rushed e.g. the reason for Ashton’s cheating. Juliet and Prescott’s marital issues were inferred as some sort of business arrangement but I wish their stories were a bit more elaborated. Similarly how Russell and Jada came to get together, and how Prescott fit into that picture. I still wasn’t clear what the fuck happened there. But it didn’t take away from our love birds