As my finger slid along the trackpad, inching the cursor away from the link on the Facebook page, a message popped up.
“Why do we judge books by their covers when most authors don’t design their own cover art, anyway?”
Guilt slammed into me and knocked me flat on my rump. You’d think with all the padding I have that it wouldn’t hurt. You’d think wrong.
I shot back a comment about my .02 on authors being given veto power and teaching them how to use that. “I get why they don’t want authors creating their own covers. Most have no design sense and get too ‘on the nose’ with their cover art.”
“But when the designer doesn’t even get the hair color close… this gal was blonde! Why do they have a raven-haired beauty on the front?”
“If the story’s good, don’t blame the author for what she often can’t—or doesn’t know she can—control. Pretend that is an old picture before she got past her Goth phase.”
A giggle followed. I thought I’d diffused the angst until she pulled out the big guns. “It’s like that book you ranted about a few years ago—the one that took place in Denver in February and had green, leafy trees with a girl in a sundress on the front.”
That was it. I slid my finger along that trackpad and clicked the link to sign up for the Celebrate Lit blog tour and requested a review copy. I’d allowed a gorgeous cover to taint my opinion of Courtney Walsh’s work for too long.
Shame on me.
And as the reviews started rolling in, I began to wait impatiently for that little box on my editorial calendar that said, “Read Just Let Go.”
I’ll say it up front. This cover isn’t as gorgeous as the one that “betrayed” the interior (and it’s pretty gorgeous). That one sold the book for me. But this one… the cover beautifully reflects the interior without any inconsistencies. Just in case you were curious.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra cost for you.
So, Why Is Everyone in Love with Just Let Go?
Well, maybe it’s the delightfully flawed characters that feel so real you want to pick up the phone and call and say, “Hey… yeah. You blew it. But c’mon. The Lord forgives and you’ve got a lot of opportunities to do amazing things. Don’t give up now!
Quinn is still dealing with the pain of hurt and rejection, trying to live life in a self-created, work-driven bubble to protect herself from it. My only real objection to her is her name. Because I kept trying to see her as a guy. No, she’s not perfect.
And isn’t that a relief?
Grady started out a little one-dimensional and overly stereotypical. Yeah, he definitely improves on closer acquaintance. And one thing Walsh did brilliantly was to make him stay the same even as he took a huge journey to self-improvement. Not every author does that well. She did.
And every supporting character stood on his or her own two feet with interesting development and consistent portrayal.
Or, maybe they just like the small-town feel of Harbor Pointe, Michigan.
After all, it does feel as though you could walk down the sidewalk and step into Hazel’s Diner or the Forget-Me-Not Flower Shop. You’d wave at people you’ve known your whole life—or talk to them until they felt as though you’d known them forever.
Walsh captured her setting perfectly with careful attention to detail—but not so much that you choked trying to get it all down. She even made me believe Michigan has skiing. Somehow, downhill skiing in Michigan never entered my imagination.
But I suspect it’s more than either of those.
I suspect, even if they don’t realize it, the real appeal of the book is the subtle, gentle, ever-impressing reminder that we all have things in our past that try to hold us in a death grip. And we all can turn those things over to One who can release us from those memories and grant us a new beginning.
Grady and Quinn’s story is an old one—a beautiful redemptive tale of two people, both with baggage weighing them down, and how turning it all over to Jesus made all the difference.
Insert many swoony moments and even more kisses (or dreams of them) here.
Readers who love romances with a story that offers more than a dozen roses on a Saturday night will probably love this one.
Title: Just Let Go
Author: Courtney Walsh
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kindle Price: 14.99
Synopsis: For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.
Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.
Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.