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After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home—a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work—something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along—if only she’d just look up.

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Walsh (Paper Hearts) competently addresses issues of self-worth, shame, and redemption in this sweet, well-paced story. She lapses into preachiness at times, particularly when lamenting the ubiquity of mobile electronics, but likable characters and the strong message of discovering what truly matters carry the story to a satisfying conclusion.

This novel features a deeply emotional journey, packaged in a sweet romance with a gentle faith thread that adds an organic richness to the story and its characters.

Lane is an easy character with whom to identify: a smart, “I-glued-my-brokenness-back-together-myself, thankyouverymuch” workaholic whose strength finds too much of its foothold in the rightly earned bitterness of having been bullied as an overweight child and teen. Ryan is the guy who could have been broken by his abusive childhood, but he wasn’t. Instead, he found help, self-worth and direction among some of the very people who contributed to Lane’s feelings of being on the outside of her family, looking in. Their romantic pairing is a perfect blend of patience, discovery and sweet acceptance that goes the extra mile.

Highly recommended for fans of clean contemporary romance, late coming-of-age stories, family drama and inspirational fiction, Just Look Up is definitely one for the keeper shelf!

Growing up with the nickname “Pudge,” Lane Kelley always felt out of place in the resort town of Harbor Pointe. Now a beautiful, slim, and brilliantly successful interior designer at a prestigious design firm in Chicago—and on the brink of an important promotion—she receives word that her brother, Nate, has been in a serious accident and is in a coma.

Returning to the family who betrayed her brings back old memories, and she can’t wait to return to the city. But when Ryan Brooks re-enters her life, she realizes that not all the memories were unpleasant.

Walsh captures the essence of Lane’s angst with the perfect blend of mystery, humor, and delightful word pictures. In this beautiful story of disillusionment turned to healing, Walsh brings about a true transformation of restored friendships and love. Highly recommended.

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh is a compelling and consistently entertaining romance novel by a master of the genre. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that Just Look Up is also available in a digital book format.