Review: Lost & Found by Nicole Williams
Lost & Found (Lost and Found #1)
by: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Purchased for Nook
Page Count: 358 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 5/5 stars
I LOVED THIS BOOK! JESSE freaking WALKER everybody! Where do I start? Nicole Williams has created an awesome set of characters, a great love story, and an awesome look into the life of a loving family set on a ranch in Montana.
Rowen is our narrator and she is forced to spend her summer working on her mom's friend's ranch in Montana in order to 'reform' herself. Rowen has a troubled past filled with drugs, drinking, and sex and also carries a lot of insecurities. Because of her dyed hair, eyebrow ring, and clothing choice she is labeled a freak by most and as much as she acts like it doesn't bother her- you can tell it really does. We don't learn a whole lot about Rowen's mother until late in the book. All we know is that she sent Rowen off for the summer and Rowen won't take her calls. When we do meet her she is cold, distant, fake, and a complete bitch. I felt for Rowen because her self-esteem is essentially shot. By assuming this dark persona and having people constantly giving her uneasy looks and calling her a freak, it doesn't take much to tear her down.
However, Jesse Walker is able to see beyond the façade and immediately begins to try and get her to open up. I loved Jesse. He really is the 'golden boy': he is caring, genuine, and has a good heart. He is the son of the family she is staying with, and while he seems perfect, he actually has his own burden to bear. As I said, Jesse immediately recognizes something in Rowen and from the get-go works on getting to know the real her. Not the persona she's created, but the real Rowen Sterling. I like that Jesse knows when not to give up but also knows when to take a step back. As much as Rowen wants to be with him, she doesn't feel she can measure up to him or be what he deserves. She's the broken girl with the messed up past- the freak- why would someone as good as him want to be with her? My heart ached for her. She feels like the low-lifes are the only ones she deserves and I hate that she feels like this. She also is afraid that Jesse's family won't accept her as a girlfriend, especially after his mom adored his ex-girlfriend Josie.
Ah, Josie. The typical beautiful ex-girlfriend who you just want to hate because she's stuck up, right? Not in this case. She's beautiful, yes, but she is so nice to Rowen and the two actually end up forming a friendship, which I thought was awesome. Josie is still in love with Jesse, but recognizes that because of her past actions she won't ever get him back. Once she sees that Rowen and Jesse have feelings for one another, she is saddened and hurt, but still wishes the two the best.
And then there's Garth. Oh, Garth. You complicated asshole, you. Garth is Jesse's former friend and you can tell straight away these two have a lot of tension because of an event that happened between them in the past. Garth flirts with Rowen, but is immediately shot down by Jesse. Garth comes from a rough home life himself and is able to commiserate with Rowen. Both of them are far from perfect, and will never be the princes and princesses of the world. However, he also succeeds in bringing Rowen down, calling her a freak also, and then making her doubt a potential relationship with Jesse. However, Garth does redeem himself towards the end of the book, making me think he's really just misunderstood and more messed up by his family situation than he lets on.
Building a relationship is definitely not easy for Jesse and Rowen. They are attracted to one another, yet due to miscommunication and misconceptions, it certainly takes these two awhile to finally get together. Once they do though- Jesse really succeeds in building Rowen up and convincing her that he's not going anywhere.
“We all want to open up to someone, Rowen. The hard part is finding someone we trust enough to open up to. That person we're not afraid to let into the darkest parts of our world.”
One of the biggest things I love about this book was the family aspect. I adored Jesse's family. They are hard-working, loving, and so welcoming of Rowen. They pass no judgment on her and do not hesitate to take her under their wing. I especially loved Jesse's mom, Rose. Rose is the complete opposite of Rowen's mom and I love that Rowen got to experience what it was like to live with a woman who adored her family and put their needs first. Rose always gave Rowen good advice and unlike her own mother strived to build her up and make her rethink her attitude on life.
“Every morning we get a chance to be different. A chance to change. A chance to be better. Your past is your past. Leave it there. Get on with the future part, honey.”
Overall, like I said- this is a beautiful story of love, family, and forgiveness. Rowen ends the book a very different person than she started it and I loved seeing how much stronger she was. Surrounded by people who love her without condition and who believe in her, she can now go on to plan for a fuller, happier future.