Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school--irresistible. When their paths cross again after college--still irresistible. This time, though, Ty feels exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be anybody's husband. As a professional bull rider, he lives on the road and can't bring himself to settle down.
Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the face of the one woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.
How much will Ty sacrifice to make Celia's dreams come true, to win her trust, and to prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?
My source for book: Review CopyMy Thoughts:
Though my initial impression was unfavorable, I actually ended up really enjoying this one. In the beginning, the worldly feel of the first few chapters--there's not even a hint of God or faith--coupled with Celia and Ty's impulsive actions in the Vegas atmosphere was enough to give me pause about continuing on. Little Addie was the first person to really start drawing me in, with her sweet personality and innocently simple--but often correct--way of looking at life's issues.
Following Addie's lead, Celia and Ty slowly started winning me over, until I was surprised to realize how much my feelings had changed from my first impression. Celia's description of a "tarnished knight" for Ty was absolutely perfect. He seriously disgusted me at the beginning, but the well written growth of his character ultimately caused my opinion of him to do a complete 180 turn-around. No, he still wasn't perfect, with his reckless side occasionally coming out, but this only served to add authenticity. Despite his flaws, I really couldn't help but be charmed by his sense of humor, his gentleness with his daughter, and the animated way he verbally sparred with Celia.
Addie's fascination with princess stories is fun, especially when she coaxes Celia or Ty into telling her a story. The princess stories they tell her are very unconventional, to say the least, but highly amusing, as the stories ultimately end up reflecting the personality of the story-teller. It's not a large part of the plot, but I wanted to mention it because it adds a good dose of humor and at the same time offers a realistic feel--who doesn't know a little girl who loves princesses?
Though a work of fiction, the story has some extremely powerful messages about life's tough situations. It delves into the difficulty--and resulting freedom--of offering forgiveness; I especially like how it displays forgiveness as something that requires a conscious, sometimes continual, effort. On the flipside, the effect of holding a grudge and the grip it can have on you is also explored. And as for marriage, I loved how the value of it was ultimately presented: even if the relationship is feeble and weak, God still values it much more than the world would have you believe.
I generally try to steer clear of stories that revolve around broken marriages, simply because they tend to be more of a downer than I prefer, but I'm glad that I made an exception for Meant to Be Mine. The circumstances sort of, in a way, actually make it read more like a non-married romance, despite the fact that Celia & Ty's defunct marriage is often highlighted. The interaction between them is highly entertaining, and it's something I'm glad I didn't miss out on. Though the beginning scenes were rocky, they were ultimately necessary, a pivotal plot point...it was sort of like watching something beautiful grow from ashes. Never before have I encountered a book where my opinion of the characters was so radically changed from beginning to end.... that's the result of some seriously awesome character development!
My Rating: 5 stars
Thanks to the publisher (Bethany House) for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.