“Never Leave Me” by Jody Hedlund ~ a Revell Reads Review

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Revell Reads was kind enough to send me Jody Hedlund’s newest book in her “Waters of Time” series: Never Leave Me. I’d love to share about this book with you!

So! Castles. Knights. Convents. Incurable illnesses. And last but not least, time travel!

If you read my blog, you might remember when I read Jody Hedlund’s Come Back to Me over the summer. In that lovely book, readers met Marion, a medical research scientist. Marion has been working for years to try to find a cure for her sister Ellen’s genetic disease, one that will bring not only premature death but extreme suffering. The sisters’ father was also trying to find a cure, but was in a coma in the first book in the “Waters of Time” series. Marion flies to London to his side. But his research, which seems so fantastical that Marion can’t believe it at first–concerning healing water and something called The Tree of Life–eventually takes Marion on a trip back through time, where she meets Will, a noble knight. And she falls in love.

Never Leave Me is Ellen’s story. When the book begins, Ellen is fighting the genetic disorder that her sister and father were trying to cure in Come Back to Me. It’s incredibly painful and has caused a number of cancers. Ellen is telling their family friend Harrison that she is ready for her suffering to end; that she doesn’t plan to fight this newest cancer. He is furious. Perhaps she doesn’t realize it, but Harrison has loved her for years. However, due to the injury that put him in a wheelchair as a child, and also due to her knowledge of her illness, they’ve never talked about this. Ellen has also distanced herself from all romantic relationships, and has devoted herself to using her inheritance to care for children with serious diseases.

But Harrison knows a little about that healing water. And in fact, he has a tiny amount of it. Ellen, sure that the substance killed those she loved, refuses it. To her astonishment, a miracle happens. And, you guessed it; a trip back in time to medieval England!

Just because “no spoilers”…

I’m not going to tell you any of those details. But Harrison’s and Ellen’s lives are changed. Reunions occur. But both learn that the Middle Ages are definitely NOT for the faint of heart. There’s sword-fighting. Accusations of witchcraft. Difficult childbirth. And savage men with great power, while the women around them have almost none.

Ellen and her sister Marion are very, very different. Ellen’s disease has shaped both of their lives. Yet both are accomplished medical professionals. And when love finds each of them, they have dramatic decisions to make. For Ellen, the decision is one that could transform the rest of her days. But will she have the courage necessary to embrace it? Harrison is willing to risk everything to find Ellen, when she disappears. But neither of them has realized that a serum that could cure every disease isn’t going to only have benign supporters. Those on the side of evil exist in both the current day and in medieval times. And they’re willing to commit any crimes necessary to get that cure. Harrison and Ellen may not have much time to decide if they will stand against evil and embrace love…before it’s too late.

If you loved Come Back to Me, don’t miss its sequel Never Leave Me!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All opinions are my own.

Jody Hedlund’s gorgeous new “Come Back to Me” ~ a review

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Revell Reads recently sent me Jody Hedlund’s gorgeous new Come Back to Me, a dual-timeline novel that’s the first of her new “Waters of Time” series. I adored it!

Medical research scientist Marion Creighton has long been on a quest that completely fills up her days (and some of her nights). Her beloved sister Ellen is fighting a disease for which there’s no cure, and that threatens to steal Ellen’s life prematurely. But when Marion hears that her father has fallen into a coma, she drops everything and flies immediately to England to see if there’s any way she might be able to help.

When she arrives and discovers that her father’s home and lab were broken into, she wonders why. From her father’s coworker and friend, Harrison, she learns that her father was working on developing a drug that would not only cure her sister’s illness but basically, any other disease. That would be a temptation for thieves of any kind. But then she hears something about time travel, the space-time continuum, and…the Tree of Life? Marion can’t believe that at all…but when she ingests the residue from an ancient ampulla of holy water, she opens her eyes to find herself in the Middle Ages. And so, her adventure begins.

My thoughts about Come Back to Me

Let me tell you, I LOVED this book! But writing about my love for Come Back to Me and its characters without ruining the story for you (no spoilers!) was very difficult! I have written sentences and backspaced over them A LOT as I’ve considered how to share my thoughts with you. So…let’s see how I can communicate without verging into spoiler-land.

First, let’s talk about the author. Jody Hedlund is exceptionally gifted in recreating the past–its appearance, manners, clothing, and personages–in ways that enable the reader to imagine “what life was like back then.” I’ve loved so many of her books for that very reason. In Come Back to Me, she accomplishes that feat again, magnificently. As Marion travels to the past to find a substance that could cure not only her sister but her father, she experiences life in ways that she’d never considered. And life in the 1300s looks nothing like life in the twenty-first century!

Second, the characters. So many interesting ones; but I particularly enjoyed Marion and Will, the knight she meets in the past. They are very different, as you’d imagine; but the way they meet and the experiences they encounter and move through ring true to their times and their persons. Their character journeys are fascinating and satisfying.

Third, the time travel. It’s presented in such an interesting way, and one I’ve never encountered in books before.

Basically, I loved Jody Hedlund’s newest novel, and I loved it more, the further into the book I read. It captivated me and truly left me wishing I already had book 2 (currently unpublished) in my hands! If you’re a reader that loves historical fiction AND fantasy works; if you’d love a clean love story with beautiful romantic moments and lots of adventure, then Come Back to Me is for you!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads. All thoughts and opinions about this book are my own.