Tennyson Wells learns the hard way that Jasper Greon is not to be trusted when he abandons her when they run off together to get married. Caleb Cameron is there to pick up the pieces, rescuing her and taking her back home. He also encourages her to change her life, to put behind her past thoughtless behavior and to pursue her dream of helping others. He encourages her to mend bridges with her sister Mauranie, and facilitates her mission to help Theron Barnes, who ends up with a crippling injury after he comes to her aid the night Jasper abandons her. Slowly, Tennyson's feelings for Caleb grow into something more than friendship, but will Caleb be patient enough to wait for Tennyson to notice how much he has loved her from afar?
Substitute Lover is the follow up to the previous book in the Place in the Heart series about Tennyson's sister Mauranie, Breaking Point. In this book, the reader is able to see Tennyson's evolution from a self-absorbed, immature person to a woman in charge of her own destiny. Tennyson is very sympathetic, which was not evident in the previous story. I learned more about her, that while her actions seemed frivolous, she was actually a deeper person with more honest motivations than she seemed. Tennyson is a sensitive and caring young woman who feels compelled to help others, which gets her into trouble at times because she can also be gullible. I came to like her very much. I could see why Caleb fell in love with her, despite the fact that he almost makes a career out of keeping her out of trouble, due to her association with no-good Jasper Greon.
I enjoyed this story for its heartfelt exploration of relationships and realistic people with troubles they are working through. As a shortcoming, the relationship between Caleb and Tennyson could have used more romantic tension, but I did enjoy their friendship and how they genuinely seemed to like each other. Caleb is a real sweetheart, very chivalrous and caring towards Tennyson, even when he doesn't always support or understand her actions.
I feel that this story could have benefited from being longer, giving more room to develop the romance and also the suspense storyline. Additionally, I would have liked to see more interaction between Tennyson and her sister, considering how acrimonious their relationship was in Breaking Point. Despite its shortcomings, Substitute Lover was a very readable and involving book. It touched my heart and made me happy to see Tennyson come into herself and for her to find a good man to call her own in Caleb.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
*Reviewed by guest reviewer, Danielle Hill.
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