Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.
Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.
Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.">
“Have you ever felt like there was something more for you, but it seemed just out of reach? Like, you know you want it, but somehow, you’re scared to reach for it?” Grace asks in Susan May Warren’s love story, "When I Fall in Love." Third book the Christiansen Family series, this four hundred page paperback targets those who love sweet romance with relational conflicts, confrontation, and forgiveness. With no profanity, overtly sexual scenes, or extreme violence, the story focuses on God’s direction and learning not to fear life’s changes. Continuing the story of the large Christiansen clan, this current-day tome has young Grace questioning if there is anything more to her life living with her family at their Evergreen Lake Resort in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Dreaming of a future of love, marriage, and children, she clings to fears of the unknown, paralyzed about thinking outside her sheltered box. Being the fabulous chef in the family, Grace prepares dinner for Darek and Ivy’s wedding reception, trying to accept her failing getting into a prestigious culinary school. When she is surprised by the family with a three week vacation to Hawaii to attend a cooking retreat, she is afraid going on her first plane ride. Pushed by her sister, Grace agrees at least to meet Max Sharpe, a professional hockey player that is afraid to commit to anything that involves the future. Also loving to cook, Max has the same passion for food as the insecure woman. As the two are thrown together in cooking classes learning exotic ingredients that make mouth-watering native Hawaiian dishes, they wonder if they have more in common than being in the kitchen. As each works through fears and insecurities, they must realize God has placed them there for a purpose. Threaded throughout the story are updated relationships of other family members from prior books and their joys, frustrations, and responsibilities, setting up the next romantic tale in the family’s saga. Warren’s writing shows the power of true love that surpasses fear and forgiveness when God is the focal point. By letting go of being in control, the characters find meaning and romance in their lives in this fun romantic read. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.
When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren is a decent book, but it features unrealistic romance & the stereotypical drama that comes from not being open with one another. It ends with loose threads. It was hard to put down while I was reading it, but it left me frustrated over the lack of closure.
Award-winning Warren (It Had to Be You, 2014) continues her string of stand-alone novels about the Christiansen family. Grace Christiansen has convinced herself that she enjoys her quiet life at home in Deep Haven, Minnesota, but when she is presented with the opportunity to go to Hawaii for an intensive culinary course, she realizes that fear governs her choices. Max Sharpe lives in fear as well, avoiding intimate relationships to concentrate on his pro hockey career. When Grace and Max come together during the cooking course, both realize that their flourishing feelings will be forever stunted if they don’t let go of fear and trust that God has bigger plans than they can perceive. In her latest heartwarming tale of love, faith, and courage, Warren reminds us that although we all put up barriers to protect ourselves, we thrive most when we’re open to both God’s plans and people’s love. Readers who are already enamored of the sprawling Christiansen clan will feel even more connected, while those new to Warren will be brought right into the fold.
4.5 stars. The newest installment in Warren’s Christiansen Family series is an exquisite romance. The faith message is seamlessly incorporated and truly enhances the story. Profoundly touching on the topic of facing fears, this book is a true gem.