I truly believe that sometimes books don’t find us until the right time. Whether it’s when a friend loans us a book, or we pick it from the thousands on the shelves at a bookshop, I believe that certain books find their ways into our lives at the perfect time and for the perfect reason.
It may be because we need to hear that kind of story, or it may be a story we can particularly relate to. Either way, I think that when we read a book matters just as much as what the book was, because sometimes books weave themselves into our lives just when we need them.
This has proven to be true to me recently, when I read Nicole Williams beautiful Contemporary Romance novel, Lost & Found. I bought this book over 6 months ago, and when I first started to read it, I loved it, but I kept getting distracted with work (and life) so decided to read it later. At the time, it was just another romance novel to me.
Last week I found it again, and being in a place where I felt like I could use the reminder of what true love is I decided to read it. After reading it, I realised that there was a reason to why I never read it before and that I was meant to read it now, to really feel the story and relate to it in more ways than most could imagine at this particular point in my life. To fill me with an evangelical zeal that I can only really appreciate now.
‘Complicated’ takes a whole new meaning when it comes to Rowen Sterling. After numbing her pain for the past five years with boys, alcohol, and all-round apathy, she find herself on a bus to nowhere Montana the summer after she graduates high school. Her mum agreed to front the bill to Rowen’s dream art school only if she can prove that she can work hard and stay out of trouble at Willow Springs Ranch. But the last thing Rowen wants to do over summer is cook breakfast at the crack of dawn and mucking out horse stalls.
That is, until Jesse Walker saunters into her life wearing skin tight jeans, a cowboy hat and a grin that her frozen heart go boom-boom. Jesse is like no one else – and certainly nothing like her. Where he’s bright and shiny, Rowan’s dark and jaded.
Rowen doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters, and even more so when you mix the golden boy and rebel girl, so she tries to ignore the boy who makes her feel things she’s not ready to feel. But he only seems to get closer the more she pushed him away, and the more she tries to convince herself she doesn’t care, the harder she falls.
When her dark secrets refuse to stay locked behind the walls she’s kept up for years, Rowen realises it’s not just everyone else she needs to be honest with. It’s herself.
Lost & Found is one of the most underrated books I’ve read. I’ll be honest – I initially fell in love with this book because of the passionate love story between the two main characters. I’m a hopeless romantic and I loved the way these characters brought out the best in each other whilst discovering the meaning of true love.
However, the love story is only part of what makes this book so amazing, as I discovered about half way through.Each element made this book to be what it is – the other characters, the major themes, and the whole plot in general, are each wonderful in their own right, but together contains such a contained brilliance that the novel becomes prodigious.
There are two main deeper messages that I took from reading Lost & Found: the first, is that we all have darkness in our pasts, but that shouldn’t stop us from letting people in. The second, that we can’t let that darkness decide our future, we can make our future the brightest place on Earth.
Rowen has a dark past, she made mistakes she isn’t proud of and has been in situations she doesn’t like to talk about. She has learned that shutting people out and forming walls around her heart is the easiest way to protect herself from getting hurt. She’s terrified to let someone in because then they’ll see the darkest parts of her.
What Williams teaches us in her novel, is that when you open yourself up to people, you let the bad in with the good, but the hard part is finding someone worthy of opening up to.
“We all want to open up to someone, Rowen. The hard part is finding someone we trust enough to open up to. That person we’re not afraid to let into the darkest parts of our world.” – Nicole Williams, Lost & Found.
She teaches us that the right person will accept our past and love us anyway, because it made us the person we are now, and that’s the person they came to love. She says:
“I do care about your past, Rowen. It’s made you who you are today, and that’s the girl I’m in love with.” – Nicole Williams, Lost & Found.
The other thing I learned from Lost & Found is that we can’t let our past – no matter what it is – to define our future.
Rowen truly believes that she deserves the bad in her life as it comes to her. She convinced herself that her past mistakes and flaws make her such a bad person that she deserves the misery in her life and has gone to the extreme to punish herself. What Rowen is taught though, by the family she comes to love at Willow Springs Ranch and the boy she’s fallen in love with, is that every day is a chance to wake up and make a change. To live whatever life she wants to have for herself. To leave the past where it is, and look to the future.
“Every morning we get a chance to be different. A chance to change. A chance to be better. Your past is your past. Leave it there. Get on with the future part, honey.” – Nicole Williams, Lost & Found.
Lost & Found is an amazing book that teaches us many life lessons and shows us the meaning of true love. It’s the first in it’s series, and I can’t wait to see what the follow up book, Near and Far, is like.