Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“He’s my first love. He’s my first real kiss. He’s my first everything…”
There is always something compelling about books where the brother’s best friend falls for the friend’s younger sister. That forbidden twist makes the reading of the story more compelling. Will they be found out? Will the brother break his friendship to protect his sister? Will the hero and heroine end up together, or will the brother stand in the way of their eventual happiness? These questions swirl through your mind, and you find your heart pounding violently in your chest, hoping all will turn out for the best. In Tia Louise’s Wait for Me, the tension isn’t built between the brother and his best friend. The twist comes from within the soul of the hero, and it upends the future for our hero, Taron, and the heroine, Noel.
From the outset, this couple is sweet, incredibly adorable. Taron is on leave with his friend, Sawyer, helping Sawyer endure the harvest of his family’s peach orchard. Noel literally falls into Taron’s arms, and they fall figuratively for each other. Unfortunately, Taron and Sawyer’s time in the orchard is limited: they are due to be stationed in South America for almost two years. However, Taron and Noel’s pull is too great, and they fall in love. Taron doesn’t want to ask Noel to wait for him, but they love each other so much that they simply can’t let go of their relationship.
Taron and Sawyer begin their active duty, and all seems well between Taron and Noel. However, all good things must be disrupted, and a dangerous situation arises that keeps Taron and Sawyer military silent from Noel. During that time, a trauma occurs that causes an emotional distance between Taron and Noel. Seeking to care for Taron, Noel goes after him, only to be pushed away. This devastates her, and her life seems over until a surprise saves her. Many years later, Taron recognizes the error of his ways, and he returns to the orchard where he lived the best time of his life. Will Noel take him back? Will they find their happy ending that seemed lost years earlier?
When Taron and Noel are ‘right” with each other, the story is very right. Tia Louise has written a beautiful story of soulmates complicated by life choices. There is no initial strain between Taron and Noel. They hide their love from her older brother for just a short bit of time, and Sawyer never involves himself in their relationship until he needs to save it. Quite honestly, he is some of the impetus for Taron returning to the orchard. Thus, Wait for Me isn’t really a best friend’s little sister story. Instead, this romance holds messages about substance abuse and PTSD. It’s these elements that interfere with Taron and Noel’s story. These are what keep them apart.
Everything about this romance made it easy to read and endure. The setting is idealistic, Taron and Noel as characters are beautiful together, and the ancillary characters add another layer of sugar.
The only part of this story that seemed underdeveloped was Taron’s fall into substance abuse. Louise really doesn’t give us much about it. We know his struggle, but it takes up very little space in the book. As the reader, I wanted to know more about their separation. On the one hand, Taron was dealing with an addiction; on the other hand, he was helping one of his good friends build a profitable business, and he becomes a millionaire. I would have liked more storytelling here. Now, I imagine Tia Louise would tell me that Taron’s life at this time doesn’t matter; that the story of their reconciliation is the sweet flesh of this peach of a story. Still, I think there could have been more development of story during their separation.
What I think Tia Louise does well is fully form this couple. She makes it easy on them to find their way back to each other. Yes, there is some angst in this book, but it isn’t overwhelming to read. It simply builds the requisite tension in the story to move the readers towards a happy ending. And the ending is like the rest of the book, sweet and delicious like the peaches harvested in the story.
Tia Louise’s Wait for Me is a reminder of the transcendent power of love and forgiveness. Even when life derails your initial plans, it offers second chances to rectify the situation. Taron and Noel’s story admonishes us that second chances are oftentimes better than our firsts. If you love a hero who adores his heroine, who readily worships at her feet with a secret baby thrown into the mix, then you definitely want to buy Tia Louise’s Wait for Me.
“I’ve learned love is a tornado, destructive and fierce and powerful. It’s also a butterfly, soft, gentle, beautiful. But to get to the butterfly, you must go through the tornado. Love has to change you. You have to grow, and it’s difficult and life-altering and scary and lonely…but coming out on the other side, we’ve spread our wings.”
In love and romance,