Lyndie James and Jake Porter were the best of friends when they were children. Lyndie was an imaginative girl with a deep love for animals - especially horses. She was always rescuing wounded animals. Jake was a sullen boy who saw himself as Lyndie's sidekick and her protector. They loved each other even then, not in a romantic way, but in a best friends for life way. Unfortunately, Lyndie's family moved from Texas to California while they were still children, tearing the two friends apart for twenty years.
I love the last two lines of the prologue, because if any two lines sum up the spirit of the book, it's those. "Lyndie would return one day. And when she did, Jake would be the wounded one in need of rescue."
When they finally meet again, Lyndie is the same stubborn, free spirit she's always been, but Jake is a new man. Tall, Dark, and Brooding. A tragic accident during his time as a Marine left Jake withdraw from life with PTSD and a hefty case of survivor's guilt. Lyndie - always the one to spot the wounded - goes to Jake for a job exercising his Thoroughbreds, and leaves with a mission to help Jake heal.
Lyndie unlocks the mystery of why Jake's Thoroughbred, Silver Leaf, won't run. With it comes the opportunity to serve as Silver Leaf's jockey in his upcoming races. A dream come true for Lyndie, but something that scares Jake to the very core of his soul. Due to his past in the Marines and the love he has always had for Lyndie, he can't stand the idea of putting her in harm's way.
The story really picked up once Silver Leaf ran his first race, and Jake stopped pushing Lyndie away all the time. Lyndie's love had a healing effect on Jake, but Jake tried to put all his faith in Lyndie instead of God for a time. In a classically stupid move typical to men, Jake breaks Lyndie's heart in order to keep her out of physical harm on the track and safe from the likes of his wounded soul.
My favorite scene in this novel was when Jake's two older brothers and younger sister came to check on him/talk some sense into him/confront him. I thought it was hysterical! Jake learned the hard way that God's love is the only one that can truly heal all wounds, but once he let God in, it was grand.
This novel had a serious tone to it due to Jake's struggle with his PTSD. It really helps you understand how someone with PTSD functions with the pain and day to day guilt. It is my understanding that Becky Wade put in a lot of research on this topic, and I don't believe it to be lacking. Her portrayal was exceptional.
Also, if you are a horse lover, stop wasting time and buy the book! You will love it. Seriously. I really enjoyed Lyndie's race scenes with Silver Leaf. I felt like I was the one racing from the safety of my couch!
The theme for this novel was "finding hope," which I agree with, but I'd also tack on two others. "Healing" and "sacrificial love." This is a novel filled with healing, and watching Jake heal was like watching a green leaf pop out of barren and burnt land. Also, Lyndie's sacrificial love for Jake was breathtaking. She gave up her dream of being a professional jockey for him, and that moved me in a very special way. More couples need to understand this sacrificial love for their spouse. It's not about what you can get, or getting even. It's about the love you have for that person, and how you've chosen that person. It's the kind of sacrificial love God has for us.
I also enjoyed the secondary storyline with Lyndie's downstairs neighbor, Amber Richardson. She is a young, single mom who longs for someone to love her, but struggles with waiting for God's timing. This leads to an agreement between the two friends that they will each go on three dates within three months. I found this to be quite funny, and was happy with how her story ended - with Will McGrath!
I also want to praise the cover design. This cover was absolutely ADORABLE! The woman used to portray Lyndie was perfect. She really portrayed Lyndie's essence from the book.
A Love Like Ours is the third book in the Porter Family Series, and while readers of Becky Wade are sure to enjoy seeing previous characters pop up in this novel, it is not necessary to read the previous two books to understand the story. Each book functions well on its own.
Thanks to Bethany House for providing a free copy in exchange for my honest review.
V. Joy Palmer