Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen’s cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreams of making a name for herself as a reporter but is stuck writing obits—and starting to fear she doesn’t have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen…but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.
Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior—on and off the ice. Now, at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he’s getting from Eden Christiansen isn’t making things any easier. But when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles onto a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together…and beginning to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.
Eden Christiansen has practically devoted her life to taking care of her younger brother Owen, even though that means her career has had to take a backseat. While she loves being needed, she feels as if she’s constantly in the background, in everyone else’s lives as well as her own. With dreams of being a reporter, she hates that she’s still writing obits, but she isn’t sure if she has what it takes to make it in their fast-paced world. As she struggles to balance her life and Owen’s, she longs for someone to help mentor Owen about life in the NHL, but she knows long time professional hockey player Jace Jacobson is the last person who would be willing to lend her a hand.
Jace has never been able to escape his reputation as the team’s bad-boy player, even though now he wants to. While he loves playing hockey, he wonders if this is all his life is meant to be, and he longs for more. But the guilt-trip Eden is sending him makes him feel like he may not deserve anything better than what he has. When Owen makes a careless mistake that could ruin his career, Jace feels responsible. As he and Eden are thrown together in the midst of the chaos, will they see each other for who they really are, or will they learn they weren’t meant to get along after all?
It Had to Be You is the second book in Susan May Warren’s Christiansen Family series, and is my favorite so far. I really felt like I could relate to both Eden and Jace, and I thoroughly enjoyed both of their stories. While I personally understand Eden’s feelings of getting lost in the crowd, of not being as important or noticed at the others, I also have personally felt undeserving of forgiveness and compassion like Jace. All of the characters in this novel grew as people and in their walk with the Lord, just as much if not more than the characters in its predecessor—Take a Chance on Me. Because of that, and because of its heartwarming story that really touched me, I give It Had to Be You all five bookmarks.
Susan May Warren once again did a wonderful job of weaving an unforgettable tale that I would honestly re-read right now if I wasn’t reading the third book in the series. Since I personally related to both of the characters, that immediately bound the book to my heart, but I also loved growing along with Eden and Jace, and I actually closed the book having learned more about myself in the process of reading it. Because of all of the things I have mentioned, and a few things I haven’t for fear of spoiling the book, I would highly recommend this book to absolutely anyone. Its relatable story full of heart-stirring and biblical themes makes it the perfect summer read.
All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Susan May Warren and her publishers.