This is a romance that tackles a very sensitive issue: domestic violence. It had some part that were gut-wrenching, like the night Joy's mother died. We see it from a child's perspective, and I don't think that is something easily pulled off so I was impressed with how the author handled it. As an adult, Joy blames herself for her mother's untimely death and works to help abused women and their children. Joy was easy to like, and I thought she was realistic. Having gone through all she did as a child, it was no wonder she was burdened with guilt.
Then along comes Gabe who had grown up near her but never really knew her that well. Gabe was a sweetheart. There were no long drawn-out conflicts or misunderstandings--a definite plus in my opinion. I don't care much for romances where the whole book is full of couples arguing or not understanding what the other person meant, and sadly, I see this too much in romance books. This was not that kind of romance. The author gave me time to care about the couple before they confessed their feelings for each other. When the couple had their misunderstanding, it was resolved quickly.
Overall, this was a heartwarming book. I wanted a happy ending after all Joy had been through, and I wasn't disappointed.