Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amelia Bentley lost everything once. So now she's safely tucked herself away in a perfect little home community and is only revealed enough of herself in order to be embraced in this new life. But she still has a deep yearning to be a part of a family, especially one like the Walkers have. Unfortunately she seems to lack the courage to let down enough walls to really connect with someone.

Logan Walker desperately needs a break. Trying to care for his three-year-old daughter all by himself is not working out like he planned with a blossoming career as a political speech writer. When an amazing opportunity or what may be a big problem lands in his lap, he's forced to go back home to Maple Valley and reevaluate what he wants in life.

When Amelia and Logan end up locked in a battle-royale over the local newspaper, hilarity and sparks ensue, making both wonder what they're really after.

Excellent spring or early summer read. Preferably on a porch swing lots of comfy cushions, overcast skies that may give a little rain, and a bed of flowers nearby.


If you didn't already know, Logan Walker is Melissa Tagg's fictional dreamboat. As such, he's written as a nearly perfect hero and beautifully overcomes his flaws, constantly putting everything and everyone else before himself, especially his precious daughter, Charlie. Amelia is a fun, quirky character and I love her spitfire spirit. You can really see the fun side of her from the very beginning in an email exchange between her and Logan. Both characters develop very well over the story, growing, maturing, and striving to figure out their purpose.

While there's no suspense or heart-pounding action, the romance and historic mystery that drives the plot line of the story keeps you on your toes. It makes it hard to put the book down. The pacing is very well done, never leaving you bored or struggling to get through a scene. The resolution to the story is really well done, and not necessarily as I expected it to be.

My Character Inspirations

Zachary Levi as Logan Walker
Lauren Cohan as Amelia Bentley


Quaint, fictional Maple Valley, Iowa in all of its late spring and early summer glory, is accompanied with sometime in LA and a quick hop to Washington DC. Vivid scene descriptions will transport you into this picturesque small town.


I love the way Melissa Tagg writes romances. Her books keep a consistent flow of focused plot development, spiritual aspects, romantic another emotional payoffs, as well as beautiful character and setting descriptions. I love that her adoration of classic films shines through in every book with plenty of references and fun easter eggs. Her draw from personal experience in various careers makes all of the characters' situations feel very realistic.


The spiritual theme throughout this book is new beginnings. You see it through Logan's exploration of what his life is going to look like, plans that fall through and things that drop into his lap. You see it in Amelia as Logan tears through some of her walls, her baggage grief, shame, and bitterness falling away. It is very well pronounced from the beginning of the book when Melissa uses the scripture reference by Isaiah 43:19 as well as being incorporated into the story.

"For I'm about to do something new. See, I've already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."


"Besides, half the time crazy is just another word for both. Or grand. Or adventurous. All of which I generally support."

"And all I could think of was, if I can't trust God to meet me in my deepest pain, how can I trust him at all?"

"I think sometimes believing is a matter of deciding. Deciding who you're going to trust and what you know about who you trust. Once that decision starts sinking into your bones, the wide-open spaces of your future get more invigorating than intimidating. Doesn't mean the choices suddenly get easy. But it does mean that we stop worrying so much that we are going to mess up and pick the wrong door, as if we could possibly out-wonder God."

My Thoughts

This book probably would have gotten 5 stars if not for the divorce aspect. I understand the divorce is the reality, but I still hate reading about it in Christian fiction, even when a character doesn't seem to have any say in the situation.

I just love the theme of this book though. I've always been fascinated with how God makes us into new creations - how he can take the worst circumstances and biggest mistakes of our lives and turn it into something amazing and beautiful, a testimony to others and a story of encouragement for those going through similar struggles. I've not only experienced this myself, but I've gotten to see it in the lives of those I love around me. 

My little sister got married this weekend, and I was fortunate enough to be there for the wedding. My new big brother has battled addiction in various forms over the years, but when God got a hold of his life, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit opened all kinds of new doors for redemption. They have a complicated story, but it's one that I love because ultimately God redeemed it just as Christ and the church will be redeemed - and that's exactly what marriage is about. Marriage is supposed to be our earthly example of the mystery that is Christ and the church.

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