Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.
Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.
If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.
Wellllllll……huh. Normally, Mary Calmes can do no wrong for me. I gobble up her stories like mad, doesn’t matter whether they are supernatural love stories or contemporary romances. I just love them. But every now and again, a book like You Never Know comes around that remind me that authors are human and aren’t made to churn out amazing stories like machines. And perhaps we shouldn’t expect them to. But whatever the case, You Never Know just didn’t do it for me for a number of reasons.
It does have that second chance at love element that has served the author so well in her other novels, but not really here. I love this trope, it’s one of my favorites. But you have to feel that the couple is now right for each other, has made amends or grown substantially or done whatever it takes to have their reunion and new relationship make sense once more. And I’m not one hundred percent Calmes makes that argument here. One Hagen Wylie is back after an unrecounted horror of a tour during war time. He was captured, tortured, and the implication is, something heinous happened during his confinement. But it’s never directly spelled out. The reader, however, can read from his reactions to certain things and make their own conclusions. Its pretty obvious with his interactions with Mitch and the things he says what happened to him. But that compounds one of the problem I have with this story. The implication that love can fix anything including deep emotional trauma including PTSD and worse with one leap into bed. Uh no. So strike one.
Two, Hagen already has a love interest. It’s not Mitch, it’s an actor named Ash. So there’s time taken away from the main couple to dwell on this segment. It really doesn’t help that the pictures you get of Mitch make him unattractive in the cowardly personal sense either. Like the kids, not so the man he used to be. Or even the man he is now. He’s still seems to be all about what he wants and needs, not about what is in the best interests of Hagen or anyone else for that matter. Does he press Hagen for what happened to him? No. It’s lets have sex…that will fix it. As you can see, I never warmed up to this character or the pairing. This time unrealistic didn’t do it for me.
If you know Mary Calmes’ writing and characters, then you know how the townspeople feel about Hagen or Hag as they call him. He can do no wrong. They all adore him. They rallied around him when he was hurt and in the hospital, etc. He’s beloved by the community which he serves in a number of ways. Honestly, it’s a character type I have always loved from this author and have never gotten tired of. I love Hagen. I just never felt that any of the men in this story felt right for him. How about that? Loved the kids though.
Anyhow, I’m going to be nice and give it three stars because I loved Hagen and the kids. The townspeople too. Nobody does a warm town and community like that like Mary Calmes. Love infused! So I’m waiting on the next one to come out. Those Mary Calmes fans have already read this. Those of you new to Mary Calme, find Frog or her superlative supernatural series A Change of Heart or the contemporary Timing series. So many to choose from. But I really don’t think I’d start here.
Cover Artist: Reese Dante. It’s a gorgeous cover. But again, does it really connect me to the story?
ebook, 212 pages
Expected publication: July 21st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press