‘It Had to Be You’: A Charming Follow Up to Book One!

January 30, 2014 Rissi JC 26 Comments

Since reading my first Susan May Warren novel (Happily Ever After), I’m 100% a committed fan of Warren’s brand of wordsmith. The second novel in Warren’s “spin-off” series (which does return to Deep Haven), this It Had to Be You book is Eden Christiansen’s story.

‘It Had to Be You’: A Charming Follow Up to Book One! Susan May Warren's It Had to You You book two in the Christiansen's. Text © Rissi JC

STORY | As the responsible daughter of the family, Eden always puts aside her feelings and aspirations in favor of keeping baby brother, Owen in line while he pursues a career in the NHL. Eden is devastated when her wild brother is injured with the possibility he may never play again. This brings team captain Jace Jacobsen into her life.

Jace is the Blue Ox’s “bad boy,” every stereotype of the image is written about him and because of this neither Eden nor Jace know each other beyond passing in stadium halls. She makes assumptions about Jace and he never thinks of Eden as anything other than Owen’s bossy cheerleader. But now these two unlikely people are about to discover there is more to a person than first impressions.

It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren | Book Review

REVIEW | In many ways, Susan feels like the matriarch of contemporary fiction. She has a talent beyond any author I’ve read because of the poignant ways she strings words (emotions) together. Secondly, she knows how to do all the genres with effortless grace (she tackles suspense, historical and contemporary, each one more beautifully than the last). Eden is one of those characters who interested the reader even in Take a Chance on Me, and her story doesn’t disappoint. Book two tells her story in such a way that most if not all readers will relate to her heartbreak; she’s the one sister who feels “misplaced.”

BOOK REVIEW | ‘You Deserve Each Other’: An Unusually Fun Romance Novel

I have to say that I never expect Eden to make the decisions she does, and it’s refreshing when a writer switches things up. Also unexpected is Jace’s turmoil. He struggles with past scars of belonging and finding out who he was. With Eden he becomes the best version of himself and the scenes between them take the time to cultivate a good relationship anyone will root for. The Christiansen family is not just a fun group of people to know for 300+ pages; they’re a warm, loving family that seem like good friends.

“We look at our own problems, and we say… why? Maybe we should look at our blessings and ask the same thing.”
― Susan May Warren, It Had to Be You

Aside from the beauty of this story, I have to talk about one reader pet peeve. No matter how well I adore the story, the format isn’t a favorite. Much as I liked the prior novel of this series, the back-and-forth perspective switches “feels” awkward. In this novel, Susan uses the supporting friends and characters to help further the story instead of surpassing Jace and Eden’s own heartbreaks, and fortuitously, it reads better, especially when everything reaches its pinnacle. Compared to its peers, the spiritual message shines as brightly as the characters; the novel made my mother cry and resonates with me. If you’re one of those newbie readers to Warren’s novels, there is no better time to start.

This is one author who is only getting better with each book and I cannot wait to find out what joy she has next for us to discover in this memorable Christiansen family saga. ♥

‘It Had to Be You’: A Charming Follow Up to Book One! A review of book two in Susan May Warren's Christiansen series. #BookLove #BookstoRead #WhattoRead #WeekendReads Click To Tweet

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Source: Publisher – thank you!
Publication Date: 2014
Series: Christiansen Family – Book 2
Find the Review Elsewhere: Amazon ǀ Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere: Amazon ǀ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

This review originally appeared on Fiction Addict.With thanks to the publisher, Tyndale House (thanks to Jen at Fiction Addict) for providing a complimentary ARC copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Maria January 30, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Definitely want to read this!!!

    • Rissi January 30, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      It's a keeper, Maria. :)

  • Maria January 30, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Great to hear your thoughts on this one. Sounds like a great read!

    • Rissi January 30, 2014 at 8:58 PM

      Indeed it is, Maria. It's a precious story. Thanks for reading. :)

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com January 30, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    I need to try her. Great honest review sugar.

    • Rissi January 30, 2014 at 9:00 PM

      You should indeed, Juju. This is likely my favorite book from her yet. :)

  • Sereina January 30, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    I've had some of Susan's books (the Daughters of Fortune series) on my to-read shelf for ages now. I think I'll have to add this one as well!

    • Rissi January 30, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      If you like sweet romances with genuine bouts of realism, you'd enjoy It Had to Be You, Sereina. It's just… lovely. :)

  • Abbi Hart January 30, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    Great review! I can't wait to read this book!

    • Rissi January 30, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      Thanks for reading, Abbi – hope you enjoy the book. It's a keeper. :)

  • Jillian January 30, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    I enjoyed reading your review! I'm looking forward to reading one of Susan May Warren's books. This one especially looks so good :)

    • Rissi January 30, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      This one IS especially good, Jillian and if/when you read it, I hope you like it, too. :) Thanks – as always – for reading.

  • Laura VanNice January 30, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    I adored this book! I had read "Take a Chance on Me", loved it and was anxiously awaiting this one. When it came out I pounced. :) It was such a sweet, poignant story. I felt like Susan May Warren did an outstanding job of exploring some of the emotions and presuppositions that lead to certain members of the family taking on certain rolls and how that can affect their life decisions. The relationship between Eden and Jace was pitch perfect and I couldn't help but root for them both to overcome their fears and see how ideal they were for each other

    Susan May Warren is truly gifted and I cannot wait for "When I Fall in Love". I'm sure I'll pounce on that one, too!

    • Rissi January 31, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Same here, Laura – when this one was announced, I wanted it, like yesterday. ;)

      Fortunately, I had to practice patience but when I had a chance to review it for Fiction Addict, naturally I jumped at it. Susan's writing and storytelling skills in this latest were beautiful (she outdid herself, really), I couldn't agree more. As you say, Jace and Eden were lovely together and of course, because of that, readers rooted for their eventual happy ending. I really liked the family dynamics also – it was realistic to see how different everyone feels in a family and to find their place in that unit. So sweet, tender and emotional.

      I agree. Cannot wait to get a copy of When I Fall in Love. It sounds – and looks – beautiful! :)

  • Kellie January 31, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    Can't wait 'til my copy comes in! :D

    • Rissi January 31, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      I'm anxiously waiting with you, Kellie. Eager to get your thoughts, girl. :)

  • Tressa S January 31, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    I just signed up to review It Had to be You as part of a Litfuse tour. Warren is one of my favorite Christian authors. I've read a lot of her suspense novels and own her Noble Legacy series. I have the first book in the series on my kindle and am planning on reading it and this one together. Can't wait!

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

    • Rissi January 31, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      Hooray! This means I'll get to read a review from you, Tressa. (I'll be watching for it to eventually show up.) Her suspense novels are excellent and *gasp* I've not yet read her Noble Legacy series. It's really awful given how fond I am of Susan's writing. Plus I've been told that one of the Noble men is quite swoony-worthy. ;)

  • Melissa Tagg January 31, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Such a good review! Susan May Warren is one of my absolute favorite authors. She's also one of the authors that has had more influence on me and my own writing than any other. She's just such a fabulous storyteller…her emotional layering…her wordsmithing…all of it astounds me every time!

    • Rissi January 31, 2014 at 6:38 PM

      Yes! I agree with all you said about Susan's work, Melissa. She is a beautiful story-teller and this book has been my favorite yet. Cannot wait for what's next.

      Neat, that's fun to hear Susan has been such an influence on you. It's not hard to see why. Cannot wait for Here to Stay. :)

  • Anonymous February 4, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Adding this one to my wish list! Susan's work is awesome to begin with but your review makes me want even more! Thanks!

    • Rissi February 4, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      I agree. Susan is one of the most talented authors of her time – plus she writes ALL of the genres and does them all so well. Hope you enjoy It Had to Be You, Molly. It's my favorite yet. :)

  • Samantha March 25, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Dear ladies, I am hosting a giveaway of this book on my blog – http://godlywomanhood.com. If you would like a copy of this book for yourself, you could try here (:

    • Rissi March 25, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      Hi, Samantha! Thank you for sharing this. You picked an awesome book to offer for a giveaway. :)

  • […] BOOK REVIEW | ‘It Had to Be You’: A Charming Follow Up to Book One! […]

  • […] BOOK REVIEW | ‘It Had to Be You’: A Charming Follow Up to Book One! […]

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