This was possibly the best buddy read ever!!!

Chase the Storm - V.M. Waitt

I've had this one for a while now and every time I looked at it I kept thinking it would probably be one of those books that would read even better with a friend or if you're lucky maybe 2. I was lucky as it happened one of Christelle's friends brought it to her attention and opportunity knocked and I pounced on that door all smiles and sweetness..."We should buddy read this, I've been wanting to read it for ages? Maybe Josy will join us?" and thus was born an epic buddy read.


Thank you lovely ladies for making what I'm sure would have been a really good read...into an amazingly fun read that definitely required tissues, hand holding and so many cowboy gifs.


Having just finished his first year at Harvard Eli Morgan is about to face a summer internship working for his father. He's never felt like he belonged and he may not know exactly what his path in life is but the one thing he's certain of is he's not on it. It's when he spots a battered, 1965 Ford pick-up truck with a 'For Sale' sign that he makes a spur of the moment decision that will change the course of his life forever.


After purchasing the truck and loading his belonging into it Eli heads out in search of something, what that is he's not sure but filled with a sense of freedom and optimism he's determined to find out.


It's in Nebraska that Eli's truck decides to break down. Luckily circumstances and a posting on a bulletin board solve Eli's problem of where to stay while he awaits the repairs and what to do for the money to pay for said repairs. 


Chase McKenzie needs help on his farm. He's been managing on his own every since the unexpected loss of his partner Owen, but he's still grieving and dealing with his feelings of anger and loss so having a sexy, young city boy whose all of 19 years old walk onto his farm and into his life and make his heart start beating again isn't necessarily his idea of help.


The relationship between these two initially is tenuous at best. Eli needs the job, Chase needs the help but it doesn't necessarily mean that he wants it from Eli, however, beggars can't be choosers and given the circumstances Chase can't afford to turn down his only available option so it's with more than a little reluctance that he takes Eli on as a farmhand.


I'm pretty sure that if I went through all the books that I've read I'd find a few that carry this same theme. Circumstances may be slightly different but the essence would be the same. What I wouldn't find would be a lot if any that grabbed me heart and soul the way this one has. 


'Chasing the Storm' for me wasn't a 'romance novel' it was a 'love story'. You may very well be wondering 'what's the difference?'. Truthfully, I've wondered this myself and I've given it more than a little consideration, I've even googled and the results were a variety of responses. There's even an article from the 'Huffington Post' that was written by an editor for Harlequin Romance. But I'm not going to go into all those details for this review since it's my review I'm simply going to share with you what the difference is to me. 


For me the difference between these two types of stories is about how they make the reader feel. Romances are big and splashy, with people that are often bigger than life and impossible situations, there's almost a sense of impossibility about them but that's why we love reading them.They take us away from the real world and let us experience an imaginary version where we know that at the end of it all the guy gets the girl or the girl gets the girl or the guy gets the guy whatever applies to the story and everyone lives happily ever after. They're fun and enjoyable but when the stories done so are the feelings, we don't linger over them they aren't lodged in or hearts days, weeks months maybe even years later. Don't misunderstand me, I have no issue with romance stories,  I've read more than a few and I'm sure I'll continue to do so in the future. 


But a truly good 'Love story' that's a much harder creature to find because for me a love story is more about the feelings. Not just the ones between the main more importantly it's the feelings that the story creates to connect the reader to it and how strong that connection is. It's the ability to make you feel everything that the characters feel as if it was happening to you. To share their laughter and tears, their anger and fear,  their joys and triumphs in a deeply personal way that stays with you well beyond the last page of the book.


Love stories aren't always about passionate romantic love between two people either, they can be about a parent's love for their child, friends, family. Love has many meanings and takes many different forms and a truly good love story will touch the heart like nothing else can no matter what form it is in.


'Chase the Storm' is one example of what I consider to be a love story. Practically from the beginning I willingly invested myself into these characters...heart and soul.


I jumped in that pick-up truck and rode down the highway right beside Eli singing those country tunes and anyone who knows me will tell you...Me in a ford pick-up? singing country songs? not gonna' happen but I'd do it for Eli. I loved him, I wanted to feed him milk and cookies and tell him to go make his music and screw his daddy and his Fortune 500 company but I'm a mom and I know better so I stepped back and watched Eli find his own path. It was a path that at times reduced me to tears as I watched him grow and mature and ultimately fall in love for the first time.


"...After all, what could a nineteen-year-old kid know about lifelong love?


But maybe the nineteen-year-old kid knew what love was because he felt it as his heart shattered in the aisle of a soundless barn."


And for all that I loved Eli my heart came to care for Chase as well. I ached for his loss and how lost he was as a result. Chase's struggle to move on with his life is not something that is foreign to anyone who's shared his experience.


Eli and Chase's journey to be together was neither simple nor direct and the authors ability to take us on a journey that was filled with a sense of emotion, truth and realism that isn't always present in fiction often made me forget that this was a work of fiction and not someone's story that I was sharing in. 


Just like the beginning and the middle the ending of this story was neither simple, easy nor direct but it was emotionally beautiful and filled with love because at the end of it all that's what separates a love story from a romance for me is that when all is said and done as I am drying my eyes I am left with a sense of contentment and completeness that I've just read a story that is as it should be.