Engaging Emma

Romance - Contemporary
232 Pages
Reviewed on 01/15/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Elle M. Adams writes an enjoyable story of love in Engaging Emma. Tucker Madsen always looked forward to his time at his family’s farm in Normal, Missouri. He loved working alongside his dad each summer and visiting in his gran’s wonderful Big House at Stoney Creek Farm. But mostly, he loved his time with Emma McAllister. Tucker’s summer right before college was wonderful and then awful. Tucker and Emma’s friendship grew into young love. They spent every moment possible together. The night before he leaves, Tucker proposes. Emma refuses; they are too young. But deep inside she hopes things will be okay. They promise to keep in touch. This promise is not kept; a chasm of silence forms between them. Life goes on. Twelve years later, Mrs. Lily, Tucker’s grandmother asks Tucker to return and help settle the sale of the farm. Reluctantly, Tucker returns to Normal. As he enters his old childhood room, he remembers Emma and the summer his heart was broken. The next day, he is shocked to see Emma inside what once was the farm’s barn. Everything is different, this isn’t the barn he remembers. Suddenly, he finds himself “Engaging Emma” again. Emma McAllister is buying Stoney Creek Farm.

Engaging Emma is a touching romance. Set in rural Missouri, the characters develop and grow in small-town Americana. Normal, Missouri is a close-knit town, a place where everyone knows each other’s business. News travels fast. It is difficult to keep a secret, yet there is one lurking in the shadows. This secret nudges the plot action along. The two main characters are shaped by their supporting cast, by their personal life choices due to a broken promise. Once thrust back together, old feelings and memories excite and equally irritate them both. Adams eloquently writes the merger of her characters’ lives after years of separation. Background information is revealed with precision, keeping the novel interesting. As I read, I realized just how perfect the title is. The word 'engage' has various meanings and most of them are portrayed in the narrative. Elle M. Adam’s Engaging Emma is a little frustrating at times, yet incredibly heartwarming at others. It is a reminder that life is full of pathways; most of them are not straight, many are bumpy and riddled with potholes, and some twist and turn you with unforeseen detours. However, if you are led by faith and love, you will find your way back home.