Series: Lost and Found #2
Publish Date: July 29, 2013
Find it here: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N
There’s optimistic. And there’s Jesse Walker.
If he wasn’t so charming, his sunny disposition and incessant grin would get old. Fast.
Falling in love with the broken girl who had at first seemed immune to anything resembling love was the best thing to happen to Jesse since the Walkers adopted him when he was five.
As Jesse’s life continues at the ranch and Rowen begins making her mark in the Seattle art community, they wonder where the middle ground is. Or if there even is one.
As push comes to shove, they’re forced to make choices neither are eager to make, and Jesse and Rowen have to face what their lives might look like without the other. Can two people with such tragic pasts and different presents expect a promising future together? Whatever the answer, they’ll need a lot more than love to make it. (from Goodreads)
This is the second book in the Lost and Found Series.
I have done my very best to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible
with the exception of the information that is included in the book summary
which is noted above.
Please check out my thoughts on Lost and Found HERE!
And go read it, seriously. It's so good.
Near and Far by Nicole Williams
My Thoughts: When I read the first book in this series, Lost and Found, back in May of this year, I said in my review that I would read it again and again. I've held true to that, you guys - I've already re-read it via audiobook while I followed along with my print copy and I PROMISE YOU that I loved it even more the second time. When I read Near and Far not long ago, I couldn't believe that I could grow to love Jesse Walker and Rowan Sterling any more than I already did, but somehow my heart was able to make more room for them and I just want to squeeze them. Yep, I said it. I want to squeeze these fictional characters.
If you've read these books, you probably do too.
First of all, let's recap for just a second. JESSE WALKER IS A COWBOY. Not only is he a cowboy, but he has a heart of gold. He sees the good in everybody, all the time, almost to a fault. He chooses to see the good in everyone and gives them the benefit of the doubt. When Rowan Sterling came rolling into Montana on a bus at the beginning of the summer to work on Willow Springs Ranch (Jesse's family's ranch), she looked a little...different. She was dressed in dark clothes, down to the dark eye-liner, dark contacts, and dark boots. She was complete opposite of Jesse's ten-gallon cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and tight-fitting jeans. But he was nice to her anyway, and the two forged an unlikely friendship that turned into a mad love. Jesse was able to teach Rowan to open up, share her heart and her past (which was not a great past), and eventually to try and let go of it. He and his family taught her that there were good people in the world and that she didn't have to hide behind dark clothes and dark colors.
OH THAT BOOK, I LOVE IT SO.
(You can find my thoughts on Lost and Found HERE.)
Near and Far is the second book in the series and picks up where Lost and Found left off. Rowan is now in Seattle - she's attending a community college for art - and Jesse is still back at Willow Springs. The two miss each other terribly but are making the long distance work the best way that they can. They try to see each other about every two weeks, alternating between Jesse making the trip to Seattle and Rowan making the trip back to Willow Springs.
Now, without getting too far into the plot and spoiling too much - we all know that long distance relationships can be a pain in the butt and in some cases, they don't work at all. But this is JESSE WALKER the Cowboy of all Cowboys we're talking about, and if there's anything we know - it's that he loves his girl. So he's committed and she's committed and that's that. But these little things keep popping up: an art show here, an extra shift at the doughnut shop there. Calving season coming early on the ranch, stuff like that. PLUS we have some new characters thrown into the mix that take things from "just Jesse and Rowan" to "Jesse and Rowan and everyone else too." These characters make life very, very interesting for our couple.
- Jax Jones is a teaching assistant for some of Rowan's classes. He's completely opposite of Jesse - very into fashion, very stylish, very sophisticated. He has more art talent in his little finger than most of her professors so even though he often makes fun of Jesse being a cowboy, Rowan overlooks it and keeps him close - she knows he can probably help her get ahead in her chosen career path. But does he have pure motives or does he have his eye on Rowan?
- Alex is Rowan's roommate in her apartment in Seattle. Alex is fiery, loud, and inappropriate in just about every way. She's quite spicy and I think she freaks Jesse and his gentle-natured self out when he comes to visit. I like her; she makes me laugh.
- Jolene. UGH. (I just had to say that before I start talking about her.) Jolene comes to help out at the ranch for a few months, kind of the way Rowan did the summer before. Jolene's job is to help out in the kitchen with (Jesse's mother) Rose and his sisters, but she is shameless about the way she stares at Jesse and flirts with Jesse and all sorts of other stuff related to Jesse. Not only does she make Rowan angry, she made me that way too. I couldn't stand her. Oh, yeah, and she's Josie's cousin, which made things interesting.
- Josie. Josie is Jesse's old girlfriend, now Rowan's best girl-friend. Josie is just there, kind of hovering around in the background. I'm thinking we haven't seen the last of this cowgirl, wink wink.
- Garth Black. You know, I HATED Garth in the first book. I. HATED. HIM. BUT! I've really warmed up to him in this book. That's about all I'm gonna say about ole' Garth, with his foul mouth and his dark hat. (I'm afraid this cowboy just might steal my heart if I let him.)
- Mar is a homeless woman that hangs out behind the doughnut shop where Rowan works in Seattle. Rowan befriends her, at first feeding her doughnuts and then sharing her meals with her. This actually ends up being a huge part of the story.
Okay, so these characters that I've mentioned above are some of the key players in Near and Far. Some of them I knew from the first book, and some of them are going to bridge over into the next book, Finders Keepers (which will be Garth Black's book, OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH). I've shouted my love for this series so many times, but it has only intensified with this book and it has so much to do with all of these great characters that play into the lives of Rowan and Jesse.
It also has so much to do with Garth Black. Oddly enough, this cowboy that I found myself hating in the first book (with good reason) is really growing on me. There are a great plenty of scenes that include Garth in this book and, well, let's just say that I enjoyed them all. I'm all for mending relationships, be they bookish friendships (or Asheley + A Fictional Character That She Once Hated).
One more thing about this book - there is a ton of growth in Rowan because of Jesse, which is really great. I love it when a female character makes some intensely positive change that sticks with her and completely changes the course of her life. I also like to see female characters form positive relationships that change her life. Both of these things happened to Rowan in the first book and in both of these cases, Rowan came out on the better end of the deal - Jesse was great for her, not only helping her to see the good in herself but sharing his family with her (and Willow Springs Ranch, which she loves). It's these wonderful, positive influences and the changes that she makes to herself that enable Rowan to now help Jesse when things take a turn and he faces a bit of a crisis. Because Rowan has found the strength to really come into herself and know who she is, she is able to be strong for him when he really needs it, and I think that was a really superb thing to write into this series. I loved it. It isn't fun to see a character that you love have a real problem, but it is wonderful to see the rest of the cast that you love (and I absolutely love these characters) rally around him to bring him out of it.
You guys, I cannot recommend Near and Far by Nicole Williams enough to fans of New Adult Contemporary Romance and fans of COWBOYS and RANCHES and HORSES. Also art! There is art in this book. Actually, there is kind of a little bit of everything in here, and I really think you should just give this series a shot. It's a favorite of mine. A FAVORITE. Also, as a sidenote, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see that audiobooks will be made for the rest of the series because I enjoyed the audiobook for the first book so much on my re-read.
Near & Far will appeal to fans of:
New Adult Contemporary Romance
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: Already Established. No triangle.
Coming-of-Age/Continued Character Development
Setting: A ranch in Montana! Also Seattle!
Near & Far by Nicole Williams
is currently available for purchase.
If I could push books on people,
this series would be one that I'd push.
I love it so much.
These characters, the ranch, the cowboys.
Is it on your to-read list?
IT SHOULD BE.