WHAT IT TAKES: A DIRT ROAD LOVE STORY,
BY SONYA LOVEDAY
PUBLICATION: PRONOUN; 1 EDITION; MAY 18, 2017
About the book:
Gracen Lowell is on the hunt for a man—but not just any man. He has to be ‘the one’. Her only problem is that no one she’s dated has ever measured up to the charming qualities of her best friend.
Slade Owens knows no matter how much he loves Gracen, he’ll never be what she’s looking for. And he dang sure isn’t going to stick around to watch her fall in love with someone else. Slade leaving the Owens’ family farm for an out-of-state job should put enough distance between the two to allow him to move on with his life and Gracen to search for her happily-ever-after.
Gracen knows asking him to stay isn’t fair. Slade thinks leaving her behind is the only thing to do. Inexplicably drawn together, the best friends must decide if they have what it takes to own up to their feelings… before it’s too late.
*Possible trigger warning involving domestic abuse including physical, emotional, and verbal.
I am such a huge fan of Sonya Loveday and her latest novel What it Takes was as fabulous as I expected! Gracen is turning 21 and looking for Mr. Right, however, the man she considers Mr. Right is her longtime best friend Slade. He also considers her the one for him but doesn’t think she would ever have feelings for him other than friendship, which is why he takes a job in Montana to put space between them in hopes of moving on. Just when you think they are going to live happily ever after, Slade leaves anyway – leaving behind the family farm, his brother, and the love of his life – leaving the question of whether they are really meant to be together in if they will find their way back to one another.
Gracen and Slade’s relationship was incredible. It seems I’ve done a lot of reading lately involving friends realizing that they feel more for one another, but this was unique. Gracen had moved to the Owens’ Ranch when her father took a job there, but after his passing, she had no one. Slade and Lex’s Uncle declared her family so she kept living on the ranch. Gracen and Slade had been best friends for years although she was realizing that she felt more for him than that. Unbeknownst to her, Slade had always felt the same. Romance aside, however, they had an easy, effortless bond and relationship from beginning to end.
The bulk of the plot focused on Gracen and Slade’s friendship and potential romance but there was much more. Slade struggled with leaving his family behind and the ranch that he had grown up working on. Gracen struggled with finding her own peace and happiness separate from Slade. Mixed in with all of that were brotherly issues between Slade and Lex, ranching issues, learning to work with new people, and also trusting one’s initial gut reaction to people.
Domestic abuse is part of this novel. It was relevant to the plot, built suspense, and was handled by the author with the utmost respect. I feel as if one of the most important lessons in this novel pertaining to domestic violence is the significance of how different the character was prior to being abused, as the abuse became more frequent, and until it ended. Sonya Loveday captured the changes that can occur within people when in abusive situations and how personalities can be completely transformed when in unhealthy situations. Moreover, she captured the emotions and changes within those that know the victim, and the importance of each person realizing the need to heal in order to try to achieve normalcy again.
What it Takes is a well-written and touching novel about romance and recovering from tragedy. The novel instills hope and praises the bonds between friends, family, and significant others. Not to mention, there is an incredible dog named Lucy that is wonderful!!! I loved this novel and especially loved the ending, which gave me hope that this may possibly be a continuing series (crossing my fingers). Once again, I have nothing negative to say about Sonya Loveday and her writing!
*Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!