Review: Near & Far (#2, Lost & Found) by Nicole Williams

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Synopsis

There’s optimistic. And there’s Jesse Walker.

If he wasn’t so charming, his sunny disposition and incessant grin would get old. Fast.

Falling in love with the broken girl who had at first seemed immune to anything resembling love was the best thing to happen to Jesse since the Walkers adopted him when he was five.

As Jesse’s life continues at the ranch and Rowen begins making her mark in the Seattle art community, they wonder where the middle ground is. Or if there even is one.

As push comes to shove, they’re forced to make choices neither are eager to make, and Jesse and Rowen have to face what their lives might look like without the other.

Can two people with such tragic pasts and different presents expect a promising future together? Whatever the answer, they’ll need a lot more than love to make it.

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My Review

I fell in love with Nicole Williams when I first met Jude and Lucy (Crash series). I fell in love with Jude Ryder for his intensity and his passion. And then I met Jesse . . . and I fell in love with him for his goodness and his heart. But what strikes me even now is how Nicole Williams is so adept at reaching inside of me — heart in hand — and with her words, clenching it with consuming uncertainty, breaking it in two at moments you feel like you can’t even take it any more, and then infusing it with some kind of love, so special and potent that always seems to leave a permanent imprint. Her characters are just so special and unforgettable and with this sequel, Jesse, Rowen and even Garth, have solidified their mark. This was an amazing read with so much heartfelt emotion. No one does the chemistry of forevers quite like she does.

“Sometimes love was about compromise, and sometimes it was about sacrifice. Most times, it was a little of both.”

At the end of Lost & Found, Rowen goes back to school and Jesse and her begin a new phase in their relationship, one that is threatened by feelings of uncertainty and loneliness, cultivated by the miles between them.

“I ached — a deep, throbbing pain — whenever we were apart.”

But from the beginning, we are reminded of how deeply they love each other. Both of them have had pasts that could have been their permanent undoing, but instead, they each chose to have the courage to turn their life around. And for Rowen, she couldn’t have done it without Jesse. Whereas Rowen had an affinity for pessimism, Jesse was all goodness and optimism, and it was him who showed Rowen that she was more than good enough. It was heartwarming to see the transformation in Rowen once again.

“Did Jesse and I make sense on paper? Probably not. Were Jesse and I about as different as two people could get? Probably. Was I worried? Hell to the no. What bound us together couldn’t be seen or put into words. It was invisible. No word had been created for it. Fate, destiny, true love, soul mates were glorified, commercial terms that fell flat. I ascribed few words to what we shared, but one word I could, one word I felt the moment his fingers laced through mine, and that was… eternal.”

I loved that about this book (and once again, all NW books), the connection between our hero and heroine is this beautiful, intense, soul-deep forever kind of connection. And I totally feel it. They are so meant to be, you can’t even begin to entertain the notion of them not being together. And Jesse, well, other than being the world’s best, most honest and kind cowboy ever, is heart-meltingly romantic in this book.

“Let me get it on record that I am — one hundred and twenty percent of the time — putty in Rowen Sterling’s hands. No matter what she does, or what facial expression she makes or what words she chooses, my steady state around her is putty, pliable, gooey putty. I never thought I’d be so damn happy to be a glorified form of Play-Doh in a girl’s hands.”

But as insecurities intensify both at the ranch and at school, the most dangerous threats are taking shape inside themselves. Jesse is warring with the ghosts of his past. The haunting memories which had lain dormant, suddenly had been aroused and were tearing him apart. My heart really hurt for Jesse, because it seemed like all this bad stuff was just consuming him bit by bit, one day at a time. It was shadowing that brightness he always seemed to emanate. And for someone so good to be struggling with stuff that is just so bad, well, it was heartbreaking to watch. Learning more about his past was crushing to read, really and truly horrendous. But I appreciated his goodness and his beauty so much more for it.

“I simply couldn’t admit all that I was struggling with: the ghosts of my past, my fears of one day not being enough for Rowen — would she outgrow me? … insecurity, after insecurity, fear after fear. The obstacles were so thick around me, I hadn’t been able to move — to breathe — in weeks. Nothing came easy anymore. Everything was a struggle.”

Rowen, too, is working through self-doubts of not being good enough for Jesse. And as her art begins to garner more attention, it begins to take time away from spending time with Jesse . . . times which seem to be rejuvenating for the relationship. With more time apart, all that bad stuff inside begins to thrive and consume.

Some surprising twists happen that have the whole situation escalating to an all-time high and their love is put to a painful test.

“A woman like her was every man’s dream. A woman who couldn’t be shaken and would stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of a storm. I’d found that kind of woman and, beyond all belief, she loved me. And I had to let her go.”

In the end, we do get a happy ending and frankly, their troubles were almost necessary for them to come to some realizations and make some decisions about their future. And let me tell you who was of vital importance in this story… our favorite bad boy cowboy Garth Black. I LOVED GARTH BLACK. With his unrelenting proclivity for cursing, he actually delivers some of the book’s most poignant messages.

“You don’t fall out of love with someone because of their fuck ups. It seems like if you really love someone, you love them in spite of their fuck ups.”

I can’t exactly pinpoint what makes this series so special. It’s a combination of things… the connection I feel with the characters, the skillful writing, the engaging flow, the unique story, and even the well-developed character arcs… but regardless, it leaves me feeling completely happy. I love this series, I love Jesse Walker and I can’t wait to read Garth’s story, because I love me some of that bad boy too 🙂

“Win, lose, on top of the world, or at rock bottom… I’m with you, Rowen Sterling. To the very end.”

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Comments

  1. I loved Lost and Found!!
    I from Spain and i’m really crazy trying to find Near and Far….
    Can u send it in English? or a web where i could download it?
    thank u sooo much!!

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