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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
You Were Always There by Stephen Russell Payne is a romance novel set in the time of the Vietnam War. A coming-of-age story of two young souls, Luke and Sarah crossed paths and nothing was ever the same for either of them. With his draft card burning a hole in his pocket, young 19-year-old Luke was a local farm boy trying to earn as much as possible to support his widowed mother. Luke was delivering beams and posts to the lakeside property of a judge where he met the beautiful Sarah Clements. The daughter of the judge, Sarah was everything Luke wanted and but both of them had a different idea of what life should be. One thing they were sure of though, was that they loved each other and were ready to give it their all. They were truly opposite each other, but would they make it work?
You Were Always There was such a breezy, emotional yet soft romance story. Don’t get me wrong. The story was fantastic. It had just the right amount of drama, suspense, and pain (at times), but it never made the romance hard or tough to swallow. Author Stephen Russell Payne made sure Luke and Sarah were each other’s support system through the hard times and even when things were shaky between them. Luke’s growth was remarkable. I enjoyed watching him grow up, mature, and accept life as it was meant to be lived and not based on ideals. Sarah had rude awakenings at times and had to take off the rose-colored glasses that her privileged life brought her. However, she coped well and had Luke support her. The descriptions of the Vietnam War were heart-wrenching, especially when looking at them through the eyes of a young man terribly in love and snatched away from life. I don’t have words to praise it enough. I highly recommend it!