I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I literally just finished this book. Typically I wait to write a review. But in order to even capture what I went through as I read this book, I had to let the words flow immediately. This book isn’t to be read. It’s to be devoured. Experienced. This book left me with tears streaming down my face as I was left in complete awe over the story and it’s characters.
“Life just happened.”
As the synopsis suggests, yes this story involves absolute forbidden desire, want, and need. But it is not at all what you think. Father Paul Sullivan enters the life of Grace when it’s needed the most. Lost in life and alone, she has lost everything. And feels there is nothing else to hold on to. However, Paul is this force in her life that she shouldn’t want, but she does. He reminds her that living isn’t so bad. That breathing? It’s possible. Falling for a priest? Who does that? Especially with how much she has loss in life. Is this the kind of risk she should be taking? While yes, the forbidden aspect will draw you into the story, there is so much more. The story evolves into what ifs, and life, and choices. Secrets are revealed. Secrets that shatter any truth Grace believed about her life.
“Besides, you can’t schedule love. It happens when it happens.”
Love. It comes when it’s least expected. And even with the person you are not supposed to fall in love with. But love doesn’t care about that. Love has no regard for circumstance. Love just exists. As it does with Grace and Paul. But, if you’re thinking you’re getting some fluffy story where a priest falls for a girl, you are totally wrong. This story is so much deeper than that. Love plays a role in your choices in life. And this story attests to that. What if...
“...but I think I knew then-without even knowing your name, without having spoken to you-that I could love you some day- if you would let me.”
There is so much more to this story, that I cannot divulge. The synopsis is vague for a reason. Giving away more of the story would be a disservice to the reader. Just know you will experience THE BEST WTF moment EVER in your life while reading this book. Yes EVER. With The Father is the epitome of a flawlessly written, complex, beautiful story. The intricate storyline will have you gripping the book from beginning to end. You will keep trying to guess the secrets and events, but you will be wrong. Again. Nothing will prepare you for what is to come. Just know that love is the most powerful force and you will FEEL that as you read this story.
“My love for you is irrevocable.”
With The Father is absolutely brilliant. This author challenges every single thing you thought you knew about forbidden romance. She has risen the bar for contemporary novels. Not many authors attempt what she has done, and if they did, they have fallen short. But isn’t that what reading is about? To read stories where authors push the envelope. THIS BOOK. I believe I am ruined for other books. After finishing With The Father, nothing will compare. I have not had a story and it’s characters affect me the way it did in such a long time. As I type this, I know that I experienced every emotion possible while reading, and I have NO IDEA where to put these emotions, NO idea how to feel. I cannot stop reeling over this book! It is absolutely breathtaking. I believe tomorrow, I will be in a reading fog where my thoughts are going to remain with this story. There is so much that happens and the theories within my mind are endless. Knowing what I know now, I could totally reread the entire book and everything would be different. Everything would feel different. Everything.
Wow, where do I begin with this book? It is a first for me that I have loved a book more AFTER I have finished reading it than I did during. This may make no sense to you, but after reading With The Father, it will.
I’m still digesting this story; it continues after the last page has been swiped, we almost got two stories for the price of one. Only now am I beginning to fit the pieces of the puzzle together and Jenni Moen awes me for enabling me to do so.
I didn’t know much about the story going in, my friends were freaking out about it. They were saying it effed with their mind. I wanted a piece of that action too, so as soon as I was able, I jumped in.
Grace seems content in life, she is moseying along with her hubby and children, but after the events that follow, Grace soon learns appearances can be deceiving. Her world is tilted on its axis and she looks towards her local priest for guidance and comfort. Both of them know more than friendship is impossible but they can’t deny their feelings.
“I was content just to observe her, knowing it would never be anything more. After all, she was a married woman and my life had never been my own. But if either of those ever changed, I didn’t know. I was a priest, not a saint.”
That is as much as I can say about the plot without giving anything away. What I can say is Jenni Moen’s prose is delicate and enchanting. Her gentle character Grace drew me in, I was intrigued by Father Paul and quite frankly I was confused by the presence and relevance of Grace’s sister Kate.
“I was filled with shame. I didn’t know if I was more ashamed that Id spent the morning in the arms of a man I didn’t want or that Id spent the evening wanting a man I shouldn’t”
I knew something big was on the horizon, my friend’s reactions had already told me so, that reason alone was propelling me forward to devour the story. I think had I not known this, the storyline could have felt slow and sleepy to some, but it had to be this way, to lure us in. I needed the big reveal and as each clue unravelled, I was disliking characters more and rooting harder for others.
“Take good care of my boy. He’s new to this, but his heart was built to love. You’ll see”
The relationship between Paul and Grace was tender and even though I knew the Church bound him and Grace was bound to other factors, I still wanted happiness for both of them. Perhaps that’s why I took the ending better than some. I understood Grace’s actions and she proved once again how big her heart was.
“I can’t help it, Grace. I have this crazy, unexplainable desire to take care of you. I want you to run to me, not away from me.”
“Even though I hadn’t said it back to him, I knew that I could. I could love him, too. He had nestled his way into my heart when I wasn’t looking and captured a piece of it.”
I was semi-prepared for the OMG moment, so even though my jaw didn’t hit the floor, I have no doubt if you go in blind, yours will. For me, it made the following events easier. It was only after the story ended, that everything fell into place for me. I seen someone in a different light and I understood them more so much so they may even be my favourite character now. I had to reread certain chapters as they held a different meaning in this new context.
I also loved the way in which events had come full circle. I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason and even though events seemed to unfold one way, the truth has a way of catching up with people and it will be exposed regardless. I’m happy this was the case with certain events at the end.
The way in which Jenni Moen wrote this story was wickedly clever, she is a very talented writer and I thank my friends for introducing me to her story.
This may be my first book by Jenni but it will not be my last. And I know I will still be processing With The Father for a while to come.
I recommend this book if you like character driven stories and I also recommend this book if you want to enjoy something a step above a romance novel. This had it all, mystery, intrigue lies and forbidden love. You need to read this book today!
Jenni Moen lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three crazy, exuberant kids that have the potential to burn the house down at any moment.
When she’s not chauffeuring kids around town, performing her mom duties as a short order cook and maid, or vacuuming for her fastidious husband, she hammers away at her keyboard at her big girl job as a patent attorney. While vodka and exercise have provided some relief from the daily grind, it is reading … and now writing … that are her true escapes.
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