Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the I Stand Before You tour hosted by AToMR Tours. Today, I have my review of the book as well as a link to the rest of the stops on the tour (right here). I hope you enjoy the review and I appreciate you stopping by to check it out. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂
When it comes to tattooed bad boys, Chase Gartner is the real deal. Partying, engaging in meaningless sex, getting into fights—Chase indulges in it all during his late teen years, thus firmly solidifying his status as a heartbreakingly gorgeous but way-too dangerous-to-trust guy in his hometown of Harmony Creek, Ohio. Then, following one fateful night of reckless decisions, Chase’s actions finally catch up to him and land him in prison.
Now, four years have passed and Chase finds himself a free man. He returns to Harmony Creek, ready to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding his shattered life.
Things are off to a promising start when he meets Kay Stanton, a young woman with a tragic past of her own. Despite a powerful attraction, Chase and Kay are naturally hesitant to become involved. That’s why friendship feels like the safest option. But when passions ignite and love blossoms, a relationship that is destined and meant to be can only be resisted for so long. When Chase and Kay finally succumb to their feelings they realize being together feels more right and true than anything they have ever experienced.
But their love is soon tested. Chase’s wild past still haunts and tempts him, and Kay is keeping a secret that could tear them apart.
I Stand Before You is a journey of hope and forgiveness, coming to terms with the past and moving forward. But mostly it’s a story of two damaged people who take a chance, open their hearts, and find true love.
New Adult/Contemporary Romance genres. First in a series.
***warning: contains graphic sexual situations, drug use, some violence, and profanity***
It is no secret, dear reader how much I enjoy a strong, character-driven story and S.R. Grey has certainly delivered with I Stand Before You. Chase is fresh out of prison after serving four years for drug-related crimes and trying, against all odds to keep himself on the straight and narrow path of clean and good living. Though never intending to, Chase returns to his family home he inherited from his beloved grandmother while in prison. Going home can be hard to do and is made even harder when home is a small town where everyone knows about you and your past. Four years in prison alters a man and though Chase fully intends to stay clean and stay out of everyone’s way, he has to live and he has to work and that can be difficult to do when no one is willing to give you a chance. Thank God for Father Maridale, the one man who truly believes people can change and deserve a second chance.
Since the death of her little sister, Kay has made it a point to isolate herself from everything and everyone. When the death of someone you love so deeply is your fault, you don’t deserve companionship and certainly not love. Kay is broken: she visits her sister’s grave once a week without fail; her family has abandoned her because of her role in her sister’s death and; aside from her job as an elementary school teacher, there is nothing and no one in Kay’s life. She is desperately poor, she lives in the worst possible part of town and, summer is coming and the paychecks are going to stop coming in. Thank God for Father Maridale, the one man who has a job opening or the summer just perfect for a down and out girl.
As fate would have it, Chase and Kay quite literally walk into one another one quiet Sunday afternoon and sparks immediately fly. But how can two so utterly broken people have anything even remotely close to a healthy relationship? Well, they start with lunch and a real conversation. Funny how one lunch and one real conversation turn into more lunches and more conversations J Through these lunches and conversations both the plot and Kay and Chase’s relationship develop. Though both are tentative at first they eventually begin to trust one another and open up about their respective pasts. The paths the two have traveled are dark, sometimes treacherous and emotionally difficult but those paths define each character, make them full and real characters, and inform their present situation. The real heart of this story is found within these simple conversations and the choices Kay and Chase make to get closer to one another both physically and emotionally.
The Bottom Line: I Stand Before You is the story of two incredibly broken people who are, incomprehensibly on the path to recovery and a healthy, stable relationship with one another. Make no mistake, this is not a light or easy read (though there are certainly some light and naughty moments) but a real story about two people who have survived Hell. I thoroughly enjoyed the play and the conversation between Kay and Chase and saw their evolution as individuals and a couple through their banter and interactions. The strength of this novel lies in its characters and if you are not afraid of a slower tempo, slightly dark, character driven novel then I Stand Before You is a read for you. Which leads me to the justification for my four rather than five star rating: though I very much enjoyed this read, it was a bit of struggle to really get into. Grey uses an incredibly long (too long for my liking) prologue to explain Chase’s road to prison and to set up the real beginning of the novel. Though I generally very much enjoy a good backstory, this one felt a bit unnecessary and could have easily been made a part of the actual story and come out in Chase’s conversations with Kay.
S.R. Grey is the author of the bestseller Harbour Falls and Willow Point, first and second books in A Harbour Falls Mystery series. She is also the author of I Stand Before You, the first novel in the new Judge Me Not (new adult/contemporary romance) series. Ms. Grey resides in western Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, as well as an MBA.
She is currently working on Wickingham Way, the third novel in A Harbour Falls Mystery series, to be released in January 2014, and Never Doubt Me (Judge Me Not #2). Other interests include reading, traveling, running, and cheering for her hometown sports teams.