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Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite
You know that you are in for a good story when you are introduced to the heroine as she is finding her strength and who she is as a woman. Bethany Lopez got it right in "I Choose You" by starting the main character, Nicole, out flexing her individuality and daring to go after the life she really wants. Instead of trotting the path expecting of her by becoming the preacher’s wife and dedicating her life to his career, she ditches Jake and her family to find a life that will make her happy. As she moves on with her life, without her family, Nic hangs on to some of the religious teachings drilled into her, specifically no sex before marriage. This point is rather the crux of the story between Nic and Kent.
Although the best word to describe Bethany Lopez’s novel is “sweet”, I think she did a wonderful job capturing the fears and doubts of Nicole and Kent. They both come with baggage, but not the kind of baggage that makes you feel as though you are reading a daytime soap opera. It somehow seems real because it isn’t quite so dramatic, but rather normal. The lack of extreme drama allows you to simply focus on the growing love between the main characters and root for them that they finally get over their fears and see how great they are together. It would be easy to make snide comments about her decision to remain a virgin, but I think Lopez does a spectacular job of addressing it in a way that is not beating the reader over the head with religion while also acknowledging there are other physical ways to express love. Although I did feel the dialogue was a bit stunted at times I was in awe of Nicole’s strength to hold on to what was important to her from her old life while embracing the new life she created for herself with amazing friends and a dream of a man. Many women wouldn’t be strong enough to go from a life of privilege to waiting tables as a struggling artist. This was a solidly sweet story with admirable characters and I am eagerly looking forward to Roni and Rich’s story!