Melissa Tagg. Like Never Before. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2016.
Over the last year, Melissa Tagg has become a great friend to the Books and Biscuits Blog. It all started with a fun review and quick note to Melissa about her book, From the Start. A guest blog post, several emails, and countless Facebook comments later, I’m thrilled to finally review her newest release, Like Never Before.
For anyone who regularly reads Ms. Tagg’s Facebook and blog posts, Like Never Before is a long-awaited and much-anticipated addition to the Walker Family series. Amelia Bentley is determined to save Maple Valley’s local newspaper from closing after her boss suddenly passes away. Unbeknownst to anyone, the former newspaper owner willed the business to the most talented person ever in his employ, successful political speechwriter Logan Walker. With the chance to work on a presidential campaign in his future, Logan returns to Maple Valley with the intent of selling off the newspaper to a corporate buyer. However, he never counted on the determination of Amelia to save her job and the small-town paper that has been her home for the past few years. Together, Amelia and Logan find a story that just might save the paper, even as it changes the lives of everyone it touches.
Ms. Tagg shines in this novel about renewed hope in the face of adversity. Building on the previous books of the Walker Family series, Like Never Before further expands upon the delightful town of Maple Valley and its quirky townsfolk.
Overall, Like Never Before surpassed my expectations, even in light of Ms. Tagg’s incredible build up to its release. The novel fits seamlessly into the Walker Family series, while exploring new themes and characters that continue to push the boundaries of Ms. Tagg’s writing. With Like Never Before, Ms. Tagg cements her position as a noteworthy contemporary Christian author, leading a generation of writers telling stories relevant to today’s up-and-coming readers. Focusing on a younger generation of characters with complex roles as working professionals in a fast-paced era, Ms. Tagg brilliantly captures the foundational roles of faith, family, and home within her stories. The challenges that her characters face leap off the page as relevant and timely, with just enough humor to make the novel a captivating and heart-warming read.
Fans of Ms. Tagg’s other novels, especially those in the Walker Family series, will definitely want to read Like Never Before. Readers who enjoy light-hearted contemporary Christian fiction by such authors as Becky Wade, Rachel Hauck, and Susan May Warren will also want to check out this fun-filled novel. Ms. Tagg utilizes a relatively light and fast-paced writing style that delves into the lives of a complex cast of characters. Additionally, she contributes a uniquely Midwestern feel to her novels, as she brings small-town Iowa to life through the pages of the series.
Special thanks to Bethany House Publishers for an advanced copy of From the Start!
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