Sometimes, waiting until the last minute to read a book is the best way to read it. Other times, it’s the worst. See, there’s always this temptation to rush through as the clock ticks closer and closer to deadlines. Sometimes, it’s also this waste of time, because as soon as the review is written, I turn around and read it again. Savor it. Revel in the words.
It’s been a hard few weeks. Mid-May, I lost four friends, one after the other in the span of three days. One of those friends has been a huge support to me over the years, and this morning, I had to delete her from my newsletter so her family wouldn’t keep getting emails to her every week. At about the same time, I learned that a woman whom I’ve loved since I was fourteen went home to Jesus this week.
To say I wasn’t in the mood to read anything was an understatement.
Still, I’d promised myself that I was going to try a book by T.I. Lowe, and since I’d requested a free review copy of Driftwood Dreams, I kind of needed to honor that commitment.
“I’ll just read fast,” I told myself.
Read fast. Sure… I chose to do it with a book steeped in Southern sweet tea and lazy, muggy summer days. Didn’t happen, as you can imagine.
Can you say frustrated? Here I’d waited until the last minute to read Driftwood Dreams and now… now I couldn’t even speed-read. I didn’t have time for a slow, leisurely read. I’ve got obligations, baby!
And what had threatened to be a frustration in needing to get something done became an unexpected delight that soothed my heart, wooed my spirit, and reminded me Who the Author of romance really is. Let’s talk about this book.
Note: this post likely contains affiliate links that tosses a bit of change at me whenever someone makes a purchase. No worries, those coins come from Amazon’s accounts rather than yours. (so to speak).
3 Delightful Ways This Romance Made Me Swoon
I’m not a swooner. In fact, “sap,” as I like to call it, doesn’t warm the cockles (revolting sounding thing if I’ve ever heard one) of my heart. Romantic gestures are just that—pantomime for the sake of an audience watching or reading the relationship’s genesis.
Not my thing.
This book? With this book, I swooned. With all the beauty, tenderness, reserve, and intensity of the restraint shown by Margaret Hale and John Thornton in North & South, this story festoons every page with such delicate, deliberate, and determined romance that I should have run screaming.
Instead, I slowed my reading pace, drank in every word. Every look. Each moment.
I don’t know how she did it, but T.I. Lowe made me believe in romance in the span of one, delightful, tender novel that made me love and care for the characters who lived it.
How did it make me swoon? Let me count the ways.
I swooned over August’s steadfastness.
He’s loved her since high school, and now he’s returned home to win her heart—no matter how long it takes. Despite her insecurities, her determination to go a different direction for reasons he can’t grasp, and her constant pushing back, he’s there waiting, ready, loving. Sounds like someone else I know. Or is that Someone?
I swooned over August’s tenderness.
I’ve only watched one movie or TV kiss in my entire life. Well, I watched a certain spit string in a certain horrible version of a beloved classic book about four sisters, once, but I don’t count that. In books, I skip the kissing scenes, too. They’re not my thing, (although one other book has a fun twist on them that I read most of—just keeping it honest). I don’t do kisses.
I read every line of this book. Somehow, Lowe manages to write out the tender, intimate details of that sort of private moment so that you live it with the character without feeling like you’re intruding or worse, participating in their private moment. I don’t know how she does it, but I’ll be rereading several spots to learn from her. This book. NAILED IT.
Reduced to its simplest form, I believe the tenderness that August shows, the patience, the deep love and care that waits for acceptance and encouragement—those are the things that make even kissing scenes beautiful. Again, the whole thing reminded me of the tenderness the Lord shows when He woos broken, hurting, skittish people back to His tender embrace.
I swooned over August’s patience.
By the end, August doubts his own ability to be patient, even as he waits. The entire book is the story of August waiting for Josie to yield and trust. Kind of like another Book I know of… that I love.
You know, the spiritual element in the book is rather understated, but for me, it glowed in neon lights.
“You are loved,” it says. “I will be here. With you. I will never leave or forsake you.” If that weren’t enough, with heavenly hands cupped around your face, it whispers assurances that all will be well. “My love will never fail you. I’ll keep you close. Always,” He says.
And T.I. Lowe shows that on every page of Driftwood Dreams.
I have only one tiny complaint. At one point, Josie wishes she could let her heart lead all the time as if following one’s heart is a good thing. Scripture says otherwise. I know what the author meant, but it’s such a dangerous turn of phrase that it jerked me out of the story while I stamped down my frustration. It wasn’t enough to make me regret requesting and receiving the free review copy I got. I’ll be buying a few more of hers this weekend.
Recommended for anyone who loves romance done right. No trumped up drama, no insta-love, no ridiculous “misunderstandings.” Only life lessons and a picture of the Lord’s love for His people shown in the flawed actions of one very fine character.
Driftwood Dreams is on tour with Celebrate Lit
About the Book
Book: Driftwood Dreams
Author: T.I. Lowe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Josie Slater has allowed the circumstances anchoring her in Sunset Cove to become a life sentence. Since her mother’s death years before, she’s spent most of her waking hours helping her dad run the Driftwood Diner. As her best friends, Opal and Sophia, make their dreams come true, Josie watches her own art school aspirations drift on by. But when a French-speaking Southern gentleman from her past moves back from Europe, Josie is launched into a tizzy of what-ifs and I-sure-do-hope-sos.
August Bradford left Sunset Cove six years ago to sow some life oats and conquer his ambitious career goals. Finally ready to lay down some roots, the successful artist is back in town and determined to win Josie’s heart. When he enlists Josie’s help in the preparations for a children’s art camp, Josie finds herself unleashing her artistic side in a way she hasn’t since before her mother’s death. August hopes to convince Josie to paint a life with him, but the problem is convincing her to let go of her apprehensions and give him—and her dreams—a fair chance.
Tonya “T.I.” Lowe is a native of coastal South Carolina. She attended Coastal Carolina University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in Psychology but excelled in Creative Writing. In 2014, Tonya independently published her first novel, Lulu’s Café, which quickly became a bestseller. Now the author of 12 published novels with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, she knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. She resides near Myrtle Beach with her family.
Read an Excerpt
Josie’s reverie came to a screeching halt as the screen door squeaked open and ushered in not only a briny breeze, but also a vision from her past.
With a pronounced air of confidence, August Bradford walked over to the counter and halted in front of a dazed Josie. Her heart jolted at the sight of him, something only this man could elicit. He spoke—or at least his lips moved—but she couldn’t hear anything over the roar suddenly residing in her eardrums.
The Knitting Club’s table kicked up in volume, sounding like a bunch of hens clucking away, but there was no focusing on what they were clucking about either. She knew the answer anyway and had a feeling their timing wasn’t coincidental. All Josie could do was just stand there and stare, as if looking into his silvery-blue eyes had turned her to stone. With a hint of purple near the center, those uniquely hued eyes were made to belong to an artist such as August Bradford. The thick fringe of black eyelashes only emphasized their beauty. It was enough to spawn jealousy in Josie, her own fair lashes barely visible, but it didn’t. It only tempted her to stand there and stare unabashedly. Mouth agape, that’s exactly what she did.
“Are you okay?” A throaty voice penetrated the roar in her ears as a hand waved in front of her face.
Oh, my . . . that voice . . .
The words simply wouldn’t come—only pitiful squeaks of breaths escaped—so Josie did the only thing to come to mind. She hightailed it into the kitchen.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 27
The Power of Words, May 27
Batya’s Bits, May 28
CarpeDiem, May 28
Through the Fire Blogs, May 29
Back Porch Reads , May 29
Livin’ Lit, May 30
Hallie Reads, May 30
Adventure of a Travelers Wife, May 31
She Lives To Read, June 1
Soulfully Romantic, June 1
Remembrancy, June 2
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, June 2
Texas Book-aholic, June 3
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 3
Just the Write Escape, June 4
deb’s Book Review, June 4
Inklings and notions, June 5
For Him and My Family, June 6
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 6
Artistic Nobody, June 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Simple Harvest Reads, June 7 (Guest review from Joni Truex)
Locks, Hooks and Books, June 8
Daysong Reflections, June 8
Cultivating Us , June 9
Pause for Tales, June 9
To celebrate her tour, T.I. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 gift certificate to the bookstore of his or her choice and one copy of Driftwood Dreams!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.