This week’s Wednesday Reads was one of those books that I’ve had on my Kindle forever, one that I picked up when it was free and am just now getting around to reading. I checked it, though, and while it’s not still free, it IS free on Kindle Unlimited! (I love finding good Kindle Unlimited reads to pass along to y’all!)
Until I Do by T.I. Lowe is a story primarily about marriage and the challenges of mid-life. I get all antsy reading these kinds of books because I find that most authors choose to give their main characters mid-life crises at the age of forty, and so I (at forty) am reading these and looking over my shoulder, waiting for mine to come and get me. (So far I’m good. Ask me tomorrow how it’s going, though.) Mia and Bode are high school sweethearts who married young, started a family right away, and are now in their early forties with an empty nest and a lot of issues between them. The book opens up with Mia’s fortieth birthday party from an outsider’s perspective, detailing how perfect the family looks from the outside – attractive, successful, supportive Bodie, adoring and bright young adult children, and Mia herself, who is at the peak of her career and still manages to look youthful and glamorous. Then the perspective shifts to Mia and Bode, and we’re all seeing the marriage for what it really is. Bode is having a full blown mid-life crisis, hating his job and considering a massive career change. He feels as though Mia’s success and her constant irritation with him has reduced him to less than a man in her eyes, and he’s stopped trying to communicate with her. Meanwhile, Mia is experiencing her own mid-life hiccups as her body has changed, as she desperately misses her children, and as Bode has seemingly checked out of their marriage. Cue the hot guy from her gym who shows her some attention and makes her feel the way that Bode used to, and… well, it all explodes from there.
I love that this story depicts marriage and some of the hardships that come with it in a realistic light. Mia and Bode have real problems that aren’t uncommon to couples in their stage of life, and once they’re forced to admit that they have issues, they do what they need to do, getting pastoral counseling and vowing to work through their rough patch. That’s where the reading gets even more difficult, though, as they’re well developed characters who are true to life, stumbling and struggling through conflict. Some things were hard to read, especially during their most heated fights, and while for most of the book, it looked as though Bode was shouldering all the blame for all of their problems, Mia does finally take ownership for her part in it all towards the end. (I was wondering if she ever would, though, and I was getting all irritated as she continued to just browbeat the man over and over again. That’s part of his problem, Mia! Ugh! What’s that Scripture about how a foolish woman tears down her house with her own hands? That kept coming to mind again and again.) I’m not sure I’d call this the happiest read ever (because it wasn’t), but it was certainly real, the characters were authentic, and the conclusion felt hard won at the end. While this book was completely clean, I did feel like there was a lot of sex in it. (How? It’s possible.) I think the author was trying to show that their relationship had regained its spark and that they were like they’d been as teenagers, but I was all, “Yeah, yeah, Bode’s hot, got it,” after several fade-to-black scenes. We get it. (And maybe this is a good reminder to me as a romance author. People get it, Jenn. Move along…)
I would definitely read more by this author and would recommend this book to anyone who wants a realistic Christian fiction book. And did I mention that it’s free on Kindle Unlimited?