I have been eagerly anticipating Becky Wade’s newest book, Stay with Me, for a while now. I just finished it and enjoyed it so much that I immediately read the prequel novella Take a Chance on Me. Which is why I didn’t review the book right away - I was getting lost in the story of Sam’s best friend Eli!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Sam is the male lead character in Stay with Me, and I absolutely adore him! I usually would roll my eyes at a character that runs an organic farm and a keto/paleo farm-to-table restaurant, but Sam was such a dynamic, complex character, he felt believable instead of a trendy stereotype. He is a man with a past, riddled with guilt and regrets, who keeps people at arm’s length. Yet he also tends to be a rescuer, a fixer (aren’t a lot a men?), and so he can’t help attempting to rescue Genevieve, the female lead. Even though he tries really hard not to.
Oh, and did I mention he’s a hunky Australian?
Genevieve, on the surface, seems like the last person who could identify with Sam’s walls and secrets, yet she too wears a facade. She’s a popular, extremely successful Christian author and speaker. Her Bible studies for women have made her an example for others to follow, but she harbors a devastating secret: she’s an opioid addict. (This is revealed right away, so I’m not spoiling anything!)
As Wade often does, a mystery from the past is woven into the tale as well. I couldn’t figure it out until Genevieve did, or at least, I didn’t want to believe my suspicions. Let’s just say secrets are a family sin.
With the subjects of opioid addiction, social media personas, and Christian celebrity culture with a keto/paleo farm-to-table restaurant to boot, this book could have easily been a trendy morality tale. I’ve read those and can’t stand them. Wade, however, crafts layered, believable characters into a story that transcends all those things and gets right down to human nature. The theme of sin thriving in secret is universal, meaning we can all relate to these characters and their struggles while rooting for Sam and Genevieve to fall in love. This is my favorite quote from the book:
“Relationships were painful and messy and beautiful and important. The mess came with the beauty. The pain came with the importance.
That was life. And God was calling him to live it.”
I am a former English teacher turned homeschool mom of three who writes Christian romance novels on the side. You know, in my huge amount of spare time.