Never Leave Me by Jody Hedlund (Waters of Time; 2)

Book Blurb:

In the last stages of a genetic disease, Ellen Creighton has decided to live out her remaining days at the estate of her longtime friend Harrison Burlington. Harrison cares deeply for Ellen, but as a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, he’s never allowed himself to get serious in a relationship. However, he’s desperately trying to save her by finding the holy water that is believed to heal any disease.

When he locates two flasks, Ellen refuses to drink one of them because she believes the holy water killed her sister and father. In an effort to convince her to take it, Harrison ingests the contents first, and when Ellen witnesses the effects, she can no longer deny the power of the substance in the bottles. Dangerous criminals are also seeking the holy water, and Ellen soon learns they will go to any lengths to get the powerful drug–including sending her back into the past to find it for them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Jody Hedlund plunges you into the swiftly flowing river of history in a race against the clock in this breathtaking, emotional second Waters of Time story.

I received this book from the author via Netgalley for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

Rayleigh’s Review:

I wanted to DNF this by 20% but…I pushed on. Then I did DNF it at 50%. But I came back to it and forced myself to finish it. I really didn’t enjoy this sequel. Which surprised me after ADORING Come Back to Me (like, the first book was almost in my top 10 of last year…I LOVED it! So, so much!).

I think what irritated me about this one is that the plot that’s promised on the back of the book was resolved in the first three chapters and then the first book is repeated with just a few differences. There was really nothing new in this book. I had hoped that Never Leave Me would revolve around Ellen and Harrison’s plot to track down the water for themselves and that their relationship would be explored, but what it is, is nothing more than an incredibly rushed resolution (I’m not kidding, by chapter three), a haphazard romance that is so awkward I couldn’t even read it (that old couple was creepy as heck, y’all–like, ew. Why was that okay? And why did a thirty-nine-year-old man–who is a LORD–cave under peer pressure like a twelve-year-old boy? TWICE), and the “dangers” that happened in the first book…it’s literally the same here.

Sequels are hard, I get it, but why is this sequel even here? Come Back to Me should’ve been a standalone with a few extra chapters at this point. And I very rarely write reviews like this, especially for Christian books, because I want this genre to succeed–but even the faith in this book felt like it was added as an afterthought. There’s a place near about 27% that Ellen says, “Even though he didn’t say it, she could tell that Harrison thanked God.” And it was so random. Because she’s absolutely right, Harrison hadn’t said that. In fact, in his point of view which WE have read, he never even THOUGHT it. It was added just so we could call this book “Christian” and it felt so, so out of place and even forced. I just, goodness, I’m so disappointed in this book…and it was one of my most anticipated releases of this year…

And for a “Christian” romance…the kissing scenes were spicier than most secular YAs. My eyebrows raised quite a few times as I looked at that “Christian Fiction” tag. 


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