Review by Veronica

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Stories saved my life. Trapped in my prison of silence, doctors and speech therapists and child psychologists could not reach me. The love of my mother was too feeble to pull me free. I lived alone in a swirling, writhing smog of fear that clamped across my mouth with its cold, dank fingers. Stories provided enough light to show me the way out.

Because You Loved Me is a heartwarming story about discovering who you truly are.

Marion Miller needs a fresh start.

Her childhood in Northern Ireland wasn’t easy, with a father who passed away when she was young and a mother who got lost in grief. Now grown-up and with family relations as tense as ever, Marion heads to England, to find out the truth about her father’s mysterious past – and hopefully an extended family who will love her as much as he did.

Scarlett Obermann runs a holiday park in Sherwood Forest with her daughter Grace, but what she’s best at is making people feel like they belong. With her merry band of waifs and strays, Scarlett welcomes Marion with open arms, and it isn’t long before Marion finally understands what it means to find a home. 

As she tries to uncover her father’s story, Marion slowly blossoms, even daring to indulge in her crush on Reuben, the son of the Lord of the Manor, but she hasn’t quite out-run her past. And as Scarlett faces her own tragedy, it’s Marion’s turn to take care of everyone.

This book just draws you in. I couldn’t believe how the world around me disappeared and time ceased to exist for me while I was reading this story. Now before I get into why I love this book so much, I feel like I should say that this book flirts with that “being a romance book” line. I don’t know if I would truly call it a romance. There are some romantic moments in this book, especially the ending, but overall the story reads more like a beautiful fiction novel. I only say this because I don’t want you to judge it based on whether it is a good romantic story.

Because You Loved Me is a heartfelt and emotional story about love, loss, and learning to live your life the way you want to. This book is going to take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Beth knows how to tug at her reader’s heartstrings and have you feeling those big emotions. I definitely found myself reaching for that tissue box a few times while reading this book. But fear not; this book isn’t all doom and gloom. There are plenty of heartwarming and laugh-out-loud moments that put a smile on your face. The story follows Marion, who has travelled to Sherwood Forest to learn more about her father’s mysterious past. Marion’s childhood is not happy; her father passed away when she was a wee girl, and her relationship with her mother is not good. Her mother was verbally abusive to her daughter, which caused Marion to become a selective mute for most of her childhood and teenage years. Marion’s journey doesn’t go as expected, and before she knows it, she finds herself an employee of Peace and Pigs Holiday Park, a local campground at Sherwood Forest. I loved all the Robin Hood references! It was refreshing to have an author use a different classic tale in their book instead of using Jane Austen or Shakespeare’s works.

A lot is going on in this book. The main story focuses on Marion’s quest to learn more about her father’s history. And we also have several side stories that unfold as the main story progresses. Let’s focus on the main plot right now. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Marion’s father’s past. It had way more twists and turns in it than I was expecting. It was well done. As Marion tries to learn more about her father, she meets people who help her heal and grow. Marion’s journey is full of lots of ups and downs, and I loved how Beth used flashbacks of Marion’s life to help us get a better understanding of everything she has been through. Marion is a likable character, and her experiences were heartbreaking at times and truly wanted her to find her own voice and have her happy ever after. I should warn that some sensitive topics are addressed in this book around abuse, addiction, suicide, and assaults. All of these topics are dealt with in a very thoughtful and sensitive manner. 

One of the side stories that I want to talk about is Scarlett’s story. I adore this lady!! She oozes wonderful energy, and I love the little life lessons she always preaches to everyone. Scarlett owns Peace and Pigs campground and always ensures that her camp is open to those who need a safe place to stay. I love the merry band of misfits that she brought together. She is the heart of Peace and Pigs Holiday Park. But even though Scarlett always seems to approach life with a “glass half full” attitude, she has her own struggles. Her relationship with her daughter Grace is often strained, and she struggles to figure out a way to communicate with her daughter. Scarlett also receives some heartbreaking news that takes her life in a direction she wasn’t expecting to go.

Now even though there weren’t a lot of romantic moments in this story, there were some. Marion’s love interest is Reuben, the son of the Lord of the Manor, located right beside Peace and Pigs Holiday Park. For the bulk of the book, these two are friends. They have some cute and slightly embarrassing (for Marion) moments, but Reuben is off-limits because he is in a relationship already. The chemistry is there, and it builds up as the story progresses, but it’s only in the last few chapters that those romantic sparks start to go off.

Because You Loved Me is a beautiful story that will have you feeling all those wonderful big emotions.

Thank you, Boldwood Books and Rachel Random Resources for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.