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Misty Willow #1

Where She Belongs

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Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she'll have her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He's glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn't possible when he can't get the young widow Shelby off his mind.

Welcome to Misty Willow, a place that will have as great a hold over the reader as it does over its inhabitants. With writing that evokes a strong sense of place and personal history, Johnnie Alexander deftly explores the ties that bind us to home--and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.

365 pages, Paperback

First published January 5, 2016

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About the author

Johnnie Alexander

29 books369 followers
Johnnie Alexander is an award-winning author of more than twenty-five works of fiction in a variety of genres. Her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, is a CBA bestseller which was translated into Dutch and Norwegian. Her latest novel, The Cryptographer’s Dilemma, hit the Amazon best-seller list.

Besides historicals, Johnnie also writes contemporary romances, cozy mysteries, and romantic suspense.

She is on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts an online show called Writers Chat, and teaches at writers conferences and for Serious Writer Academy.

A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, she shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Connect with Johnnie at johnniealexander.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 117 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,329 followers
February 6, 2016
Excellent! This is a wonderfully told story, enjoyable partly because it is so delightfully unpredictable. It's not every day that you find a contemporary that has you flipping pages like a suspense novel! Johnnie Alexander is an excellent author and played my emotions like crazy in this book.

From the start, I was hooked...when widowed Shelby goes to her grandparents' old homestead, which she has just bought back from the man who took it from her grandfather, she is greeted by a man who she finds charming and polite—until he introduces himself, and she realizes that he isn't her restoration contractor—he's the selling owner, the grandson of the man who cheated her grandfather out of his property. Except AJ is determined to be nothing like his grandfather; he'd like to be more like his beloved grandmother.

The story isn't just about belonging or even about who you are, though those themes are strong; it's also about consequences (setting up nicely for book two) and legacy and family and neighbors. The house, Misty Willow, is almost a character of its own, with the rich history of the Lassiter family.

I loved Shelby's two young daughters and AJ's dog Lila especially. All three added so much to the story, as well as some great comic relief. And the secondary characters, good and bad, added lots of depth to the story and even to the definition of who the main characters are. It's layered and multifaceted and delightfully unexpected. Don't miss this one.

Note: Adding a sixth star for some really great Cary Grant trivia/quotes!!
Profile Image for Brittany.
2,188 reviews137 followers
January 19, 2016
This was such an enjoyable book! I had not read any other books by Johnnie Alexander, but I can already say that it will be hard to wait until book two of this Misty Willow series releases.

I really liked the two main characters, AJ and Shelby. For the first part of the story, I originally felt that Shelby hung on to her grudge against the Sullivans for too long. She extended that grudge to AJ, part of the Sullivan family. I wanted her to “get over it” and realize that he was not his grandfather. But, as the story progressed and I learned more about what tore her family apart, I understood her feelings and I decided that the way she reacted made perfect sense. It also provided the opportunity for this character to really grow a lot spiritually through the novel. I absolutely loved the difference in the way Shelby viewed life at the beginning of the story with the peace she found at the end.

The attraction between Shelby and AJ was palpable and the longing I felt for things to work out between them made for such an engrossing read. There was a love triangle complication, past relationship issues to be resolved, family members with ulterior motives, and two precious little girls. I was also pleasantly surprised when I began reading this book and discovered that there were hints at some kind of trouble from the past that could impact everything. I loved watching that information unfold.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

You can read this review on my blog at:
Profile Image for Staci.
1,658 reviews507 followers
July 20, 2016
This was a very good contemporary romance novel (as evidenced by me staying up late to finish it). This is my second novel by Johnnie Alexander. The first was a historical novel (WWII) and I found her contemporary romance to be stronger.

Where She Belongs had good humor, strong characters (with one exception) and a good story line. While I figured out where things were headed at the 50% mark, it was an enjoyable journey to take even knowing some of the pieces.

Two factors I found to be not as strong. First, there was one character that did not come across as credible in the later part of the novel. Second, the historical mystery didn't add, but rather detracted from my enjoyment. The historical mystery could have been scaled back and the novel would have been even stronger.

Overall, a very solid read and recommended for fans of contemporary romance. I look forward to reading the second novel in the series.
Profile Image for Rissi.
426 reviews9 followers
April 15, 2021
Though I’ve seen her historical debut around the blogosphere, I’ve never read a novel by Johnnie Alexander. Thinking her contemporary (and publisher) debut sounded like a charmer of a story, taking the opportunity to read her novel, Where She Belongs didn’t require second thought.

STORY: Single mother Shelby Kincaid is determined to buy back her family’s former home and land. Doing this will involve a lot of time, effort and a move from the big-city of Chicago to a the simple living of small-town in the south, but she believes it’s the only place for she and her young daughters. That is until the Sullivan family – her grandparent’s enemies, attempt to take her home away from her all except AJ Sullivan. AJ is the one Sullivan who hasn’t tried to take anything from Shelby, not to mention the man willing to sell Shelby back her ancestral home. But with his cousins planning a land development deal – one that involves her land, Shelby’s dreams are just one court ruling away from shattering.
Where She Belongs, by Johnnie Alexander | Book Review
Contemporary romance is my happy place reading. With any new book that catches my fancy set in this genre, I get excited to become lost inside its pages; to uncover the what and why it might find itself a spot among my favorite reads shelf. It’s all the more anticipatory when the book is by a new author. All of this and more applies to this novel. Charming is inadequate a word. There is something distinctly different about the novel though it’s not because it’s a story variation. Instead it’s the depth of the characters and the proud family history that leaves the reader sighing in enjoyment as we turn each page.

Within the pages of Where She Belongs was a story I didn’t want to put down. I was loathe to put the book aside to carry out with ordinary interruptions or things that demand our daily attention (such rude distractions!). The reasons being were the characters. Though Shelby’s attraction to Brett baffles me, each of the primary players are complex with great potential to enjoy an interesting story of their own. These characters have to undergo a greater sense of redemption, which may present a challenge or two.

If you like contemporary fiction, this novel is gorgeous. The lyrical writing, tender romance and sense of family is elegant. The relationships leave us wanting more, and Shelby's daughters are as darling as can be. As I read the story I could tell the author took great care in crafting and in the telling of it. Because of this, this is one novel that may make you eager to journey more through Misty Willow, asking “what's next?”

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.
Profile Image for Dawn.
781 reviews75 followers
February 1, 2016
Shelby Kincaid returns to her ancestral farm hoping to raise her two daughters in the same sort of environment she was raised. She's hoping that the move will allow for both her and her daughters to put aside their grief over the loss of their husband and father. She knows that the Sullivans, who bought the farm from her family, have done nothing to it, and she hopes to make it into what she remembers. AJ Sullivan never wanted Misty Willow. His grandfather left it to him as punishment, and AJ's let it fall into ruin. When Shelby contacts him, he hopes to make a clean break from the farm. At least that's his plan until he meets Shelby and her adorable daughters. Perhaps both of these two wounded hearts can find a second chance together?

This is the first book I've read by Johnnie Alexander and I loved it. I loved the detail that pulled the story together from the minor characters (AJ's dog, Shelby's daughters, the neighbors) to the dynamics between the major characters.

Shelby is hurt by the events of her life. She's not looking for new love. She just wants to start over. But I love how she comes to realize that maybe God's plan includes more than just a new home. And I loved AJ. When he is made aware of something from his past, he steps up.

AJ's cousins need some work. Since the next book is about his cousin Brett, I'm hoping to see him change even more than he has started to in this book.

I received this book for free from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, Rachel Hauck, Susan May Warren, Denise Hunter

Rating - 5 stars
August 12, 2019
This absorbing novel does more than just weave a story of romance; it creates an atmosphere of coming home. The town and its people feel like long-lost friends, and readers cannot help but invest emotionally in the plot’s outcome. An added element of historical mystery swirls through the pages, alongside the more modern tensions also in play, and brings extra dimension to an already compelling story.

(I was paid to write a review for RT Book Reviews. All views expressed are nevertheless only my honest opinion.)
2,811 reviews1,728 followers
January 19, 2016
That moment when you are happily reading a wonderful story and suddenly what you think is going to happen doesn't and then other things you never even dreamed of start happening instead. You're like -- whoa, wait. Noooooo! And you start waving your arms around like a rabid music conductor as you try get Character A to cool his jets so you can coach Character B to stick with it a bit longer while praying for Character C to just shove off to another book all while trying to hip check secondary characters into an appropriate holding pattern while...Yeah. There were a lot of those moments in this book. All that arm waving and not one single character listened to me. Not even the dog.

Enthralling because I wasn't sure what would happen next. Gut-wrenching because it didn't always go the way I hoped. Dipsy-swoony because when the romance is on it's really, really on! Thud! Heart-stirring because the author explores the power in relationships -- both the past and the present -- and how they shape us. Soul-nourishing because of a solid inspirational thread that anchors it all.

Read this one in a day because... I. Just. Couldn't. Stop.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Profile Image for Reader of Books.
Author 2 books49 followers
October 1, 2022
It was fine but slow paced and I dnf'd at 100 pages. I just wasn't feeling it. 2.5 stars rounded up.
Profile Image for Carole Jarvis.
794 reviews41 followers
March 7, 2016
Reviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/1M39osr

Where She Belongs is an elegantly crafted, compelling story about coming home, and I was absorbed emotionally from the very first page. As the beautiful cover picturing AJ and Shelby by the engagement tree promises, romance plays a major part – but so much more is hidden within its depths! This is a story of family and of legacy, with characters so real and approachable that I literally wanted to join them. There’s something unusual about this novel, something that elevates it above other comparable stories. And I found it totally unpredictable, for just when I began to feel comfortable with the direction things were going, another twist came from out of nowhere.

Feuding families, holding on to anger, unscrupulous family members, a love triangle, and a house that almost feels like a major character are just a few things you will find within these pages. Also present are themes of legacy, a troubled past that casts a long shadow and shapes future generations, consequences of actions, and forgiveness. Family history is woven throughout the narrative in a way that adds a touch of mystery and tension.

Shelby and AJ are well-drawn characters that I loved, and we see how they are shaped by their family legacies. While Shelby had loving grandparents and parents who were missionaries, AJ’s grandfather was a shrewd businessman whose “acumen was rooted in vengeful ruthlessness” – and his parents fought and divorced. I also adored Shelby’s children and AJ’s dog, Lila.

I find it so easy to form attachments to physical things, so I appreciated the twist on the “coming home” theme that Johnnie incorporates through this favorite verse of Shelby’s grandmother: “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19). Shelby gradually came to realize her “spacious place” might be much more than a physical place as she reflected on her grandmother’s words . . . “God delights in you, darling girl. He will take away your heartache and bring you into a spacious place where all will be well.”

AJ’s cousins are real characters – and not in a good way throughout most of the story. I found myself asking if it was possible for Brett and Amy to change, only to realize that if not, then there’s not much hope for any of us. Brett still has a long way to go, but I loved how Johnnie brings in the theme of transformation and eagerly anticipate his story next in When Love Arrives.

Johnnie’s previous novel is a World War II story entitled Where Treasure Hides that I also enjoyed, although I am glad she has turned to contemporary with this series. When contemporary romance/women’s fiction is done well, it is one of my favorite genres, and Johnnie’s writing sparkles. Where She Belongs is excellent in every way and goes on my “best of the best” list. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Becky Van Daniker.
321 reviews99 followers
March 29, 2016
This is a sweet, fun-paced contemporary romance that will have you flipping through the pages as if it were a suspense novel! Where She Belongs is the first book I have read by Johnnie Alexander and it most definitely will not be my last.

Shelby is ready to move on after the death of her husband is determined to purchase and fix up her family's homestead, Misty Willow. She has plans to raise her kids in the only place that she felt that she truly belonged. She has a major grudge against the Sullivans and even extends it over to AJ. Shown this factor early on in the story, makes the reader pause and wonder why this grudge exists and how the Sullivans owned their farm in the first place.

In fact, AJ doesn't even want Shelby's homestead in the first place. His grandfather left it to him as punishment for not following his wishes. In a form of rebellion, AJ let the land fall to ruin. He finds a loophole and is more than willing to let Shelby have the land. Even though she holds a major grudge towards him, he can't get her off his mind.

As the story unfolds we find out why she has the grudge. In fact, her feelings totally make sense! It's the kind of story, that once you think you understand what is going on, the plot changes entirely. There's a love triangle, past relationships to resolve, family members with ulterior motives, and tons of uncovered family history.

I loved AJ and Shelby from the start. I couldn't help but want them to work things out and get together. He's amazing with Shelby's two little daughters and he does a lot for Shelby. He's the kind of man all girls should look for. Oh and Lila, his dog, is the cutest!

You'll laugh, cry, get angry, and all of the emotions all within the same book. Both of the characters also grow a lot in their walks with God.

Belonging is the main theme of this book. However, it also focuses on the consequences of our choices and how they impact not just yourself, but others. Misty Willow is a beautiful place that is full of rich history. If it's a real place, I long for a visit!

Also, I loved all of the Cary Grant references! So cute!

Go read Where She Belongs because you won't want to miss this!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Nicki Olsen.
219 reviews8 followers
February 1, 2016

*My Thoughts*

This was my first "Johnnie experience" so I wasn't really sure to expect. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised and this one is definitely worth the time spent reading it.

The first thing I would say about it though, is that it is not just where "she" belongs, it's where they belong because two adorable little girls are involved in this beautiful story!

The mix of conflict and attraction between Aj & Shelby intrigued me from the beginning. Shelby was hurt in the past and I wanted her to "grow up" and understand that it wasn't Aj's fault. Fortunately, I quickly grew up as I read the story and understood the pain she was feeling and why. I wanted them so badly to overcome their obstacles that I was engrossed from cover to cover!

This was so much more then a contemporary romance novel, the story of healing, hope, and God's plan made it so much more then that!

I loved the setting of Misty Willow. It was such a peaceful setting and when mixed with the well- developed characters, I fell in love with Johnnie's writing and her characters. I can't wait for book two!


*My overall thoughts*

A completely beautiful contemporary romance that is so much more! Woven with faith, healing, forgiveness, and love, Where She Belongs is a much welcomed addition to my shelves!


*My Rating*

I give Where She Belongs by Johnnie Alexander...

4 stars!!


Romance lovers? If you love these authors, you'll love Johnnie too:
Amanda Cabot (contemporary novels), Beth K. Vogt, and Cathleen Armstrong!

*I received this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given. All thoughts were my own and I was not compensated in any other way.

Profile Image for Abbi.
305 reviews
February 1, 2016
I have had this author's previous novel on my TBR list pretty much since it first came out but I just haven't gotten around to reading it. So when I had the opportunity to review this book I jumped at the chance (even though the plot didn't sound like my typical read) because I knew if I ended up loving her other book I would be kicking myself for passing up on this one.
Shelby and AJ where both great characters and despite a slightly rocky beginning they really fit well together. I really liked how AJ didn't let money change who he was or keep him from doing what he loved. And I loved how he was always trying to help and care for those around him. Also it was so cute how he interacted with Shelby's daughters. Shelby fiercely loved her girls and was determined to give them the happy memories she'd had from her childhood. She was a little stuck in the past but with good intentions and even though she was a little irrational at the very beginning she turned out to be pretty great and I loved watching her and AJ's relationship unfold.
Shelby's neighbors were all very kind and welcoming and I really liked their characters. AJ's cousins on the other hand where a different story. I didn't like Brett and Amy at all from the get go, though Brett did start to redeem himself as the book went on. I'm very interested to see how his story will play out in book two.
The plot was well done and kept me engaged the whole time. There was a slight mystery deeply hidden that really intrigued me and though it could have been woven throughout the book a little more the end was satisfying.
So all that to say, I enjoyed this book, I'm looking forward to book two, and if this sounds like your cup of tea then I highly suggest you check it out!
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
1,533 reviews6 followers
February 3, 2016
My main problem with Where She Belongs is that it suffers from a bad case of “takes too long to get to the point.” I had to wait through around ten chapters for one character to find out something I had figured out the moment two other characters appeared on screen; then I had to sit through several more as more characters plodded along in their ignorance until, finally, they caught up to where I was and found out what I already knew.

So, yes, the plot was slow as molasses, but parts of it were interesting. I liked the tension between the two families at the beginning of the novel, though it fell flat for me by the end when I was sick of waiting for the characters to catch up to me. I thought the romance was more original than some, though the hot-and-cold, “She’s so beautiful when she’s angry” stuff is annoying. And I am very tired of all the similar-sounding, similar-acting female protagonists that have been in the review copies I’ve read. I’d like to read something beyond the spirited, witty-comebacks-always-at-hand, super put-together female who the handsome, usually in almost every way perfect man falls for.

I will say, though, that I thought Brett’s character was the best part of Where She Belongs. It’s almost too much of a “This woman changed me forever” type-plot, but it works well, and it makes Brett even more interesting than AJ. He also goes through much more change and development than AJ, who seems even more one-note after Brett’s schemes, apologies, and then overall turn-around. He’s piqued my curiosity—maybe even enough to read the sequel.

Disclaimer: Book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Amy S.
996 reviews
May 4, 2020
A nice lady meets a nice man, a while later they have a happy ending.
It was kind of bland and the pace was pretty slow. There was almost a murder mystery in there but by the time the characters realized there was a mystery it was already solved so that was awkward. There was sort of a paternity mystery but again, awkward and solved fast. There’s a conflict with a land dispute that almost gets exciting before fizzling into dull legal documents and a bit of angst.
The premise that the female main character is a wonderful person who just happens to hate some people she’s never met for reasons that seem kind of vague left me with an impression of a sort of petty, resentful, unstable person. The male main character only vaguely appealed to me and when the author threw mud on his reputation then scrubbed it back off it was just unsettling to the flow of the story.
A major plot point is just left hanging, presumably for the next book in the series, but the supporting characters involved weren’t engaging enough for me to want to jump back in there with them.
At least it was clean.
A little violence, no sex, mild language
Author 1 book59 followers
April 25, 2020
Shelby plans to transform her family’s homestead into the home of her dreams. A lawsuit threatens her dream.

Shelby and AJ - Fun, likable characters having realistic flaws. Mystery, twists and turns throughout the book. The story grabbed my attention from the beginning.

I enjoyed the sprinkling of Bible verses throughout the book and the Christian message.
Profile Image for Karla.
306 reviews9 followers
January 29, 2016

Shelby Kincaid has suffered the loss of her husband and is left feeling devastated, lonely and forlorn. She is at the stage of her life, where she feels that she is ready to move on and hopes for a brighter future. To improve her life with her two young daughters and herself, she longs to purchase her family's homestead, Misty Willow, the only place that she ever truly belonged. Although the house is at present, abandoned, Shelby has plans to transform it into the perfect home of her memories. This becomes a very big challenge!

AJ Sullivan never wanted Shelby's homestead! He became the owner, only as a punishment!! Yes, a punishment!! His grandfather left it to him because he did not follow the elderly man's wishes!! AJ, not caring about this house, has let it fall into a state of complete disrepair. His greatest wish is to unload this eyesore to this spitfire of a woman. But even after many angry outbursts from her, he just cannot get her out of his mind.

My Opinions:

Johnnie Alexander is a new author to me, so I really did not know what to expect when I opened this book! I was pleasantly surprised!! It was a fantastic read!

The characters were realistic and so well described that I felt immediately their every challenge, hurt and joy. I easily pictured Shelby in my mind as a spunky young mom who was facing a world of worries and heartaches!! AJ was also suffering from a family past that wasn't full of pleasure. Both of these individuals had disappointments and heartache that make an impact on the reader.

The plot moves along at a steady pace with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader glued to the page. What you expect is not always the outcome!

The setting is described in a way that it portrays a vivid picture of this old home. I really wanted to jump into the story to be there to enjoy this wonderful place.

This book is truly one that keeps you thinking long after you have read the book. Family grudges, unhappy pasts, life's surprises, all influence your life in the present and the future. The past can be overcome but it takes will power and help from above.

I will eagerly be awaiting this author's next book!!

This book was supplied byRevell and Graff Martin Communications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Now available from your local bookseller.
Profile Image for Christian Fiction Addiction.
689 reviews317 followers
January 6, 2016
Johnnie Alexander has crafted a well-paced novel brimming with romance, hints of humour, and plenty of unexpected surprises that will keep you turning through the pages. While I am not typically attracted to romance novels (see what I did there?), I quite enjoyed the characters of Shelby and AJ as they work through a complicated past and an uncertain future together. The bitterness that grips Shelby's heart towards AJ due to the actions of his grandfather adds a definite tension to the story, and the author does a great job at working the characters feelings towards a place of reconciliation. The romance that ignites between them is nothing over the top, and even male readers will enjoy watching their relationship blossom. Probably my least favourite character was AJ's cousin Brett, as he is an utter cad and I'm not sure I totally bought the beginnings of transformation that we see in this story. But his actions make AJ all the more likeable, and certainly a character to look up to. What most pleasantly surprised me about this story were the mysteries revealed over the course of the novel, especially surrounding AJ and Brett. Consequently, although I had planned to meander my way through the pages, I instead found myself unable to put down the book as I wanted to see how things would resolve between the different characters, and whether the truth would emerge.

"Where She Belongs" offers up a solid beginning to the Misty Willow series, and the author has done a fine job of setting the stage for the second book in the series, which appears to be focused on AJ's cousin Brett. I have no doubt that readers will not only enjoy this novel, but eagerly anticipate what is to come! I award this novel a solid rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Profile Image for Shirley Corder.
Author 24 books68 followers
April 3, 2016
Newly widowed Shelby Kincaid decides to move with her two young daughters to the small town of Misty Willow to live in her family's old homestead.

She knows there is going to be a lot of work getting the abandoned home to the condition she knows it can be. It is the only place where she ever felt she belonged, and she longs to have her children grow up in touch with their heritage.

The house has been neglected for so long and is in need of massive repairs, however Shelby knows she can do it, and looks forward to the challenge.

Almost as soon as they arrive, Shelby clashes with the previous owner, AJ Sullivan, and the reader is drawn into a two generation drama that shows no signs of letting up. The plot is made richer by many twists and turns along the way with some surprising developments that take both Shelby and AJ by surprise.

The major characters all have depth and it is great to watch them change as the story continues. The minor characters are well painted, and you can't help falling in love with Shelby's sweet little girls.

This is the first book I have read by Johnnie Alexander, but I will look for more. Those who enjoy light-hearted Christian romance will enjoy this book.

I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sydney.
956 reviews106 followers
September 29, 2016
Where She Belongs is a beautifully written novel about the sense of home, friendship, family, love, and just over all finding where you truly belong. Johnnie Alexander has crafted a delightful and engaging story that readers will fall in love with from page one. Johnnie’s characters and their stories come to life the moment a reader opens to the first page and this love continues throughout the entire book. This is one of those stories that will pull at your emotions and your heart-strings. I would recommend this novel to readers that enjoy contemporary, inspirational, romance stories.

Series: Misty Willow
Genre: contemporary, inspirational, romance, Christian
Publisher: Revell
Publication date: January 5, 2016
Number of pages: 368

Content Rating: PG
Book Rating: 4 stars

Other books in the series:
2-When Love Arrives

A review copy of this book was provided by Revell.
Profile Image for Beth | Faithfully Bookish .
851 reviews178 followers
October 27, 2016
Full review on Faithfully Bookish http://wp.me/p7ngfE-mD

After the death of her husband, Shelby Kincaid is hoping to recapture the joy of her childhood for her daughters. When family history is deeply rooted in one place, it tugs your heart strings and gives you a feeling of awe.

AJ Sullivan is the reluctant owner of Shelby's ancestral homestead. Shelby's return stirs up questions and pain from the past sending AJ on a quest for answers and closure.

I love the deep sense of family history and the legacy of love whispered throughout this story. Where She Belongs is an excellent story of hope, redemption, and restoration, I highly recommend it!

I won this title in a giveaway on The Sweet South Blog. My thanks to Natalie Monk, Johnnie Alexander, and Revell. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
Author 9 books24 followers
February 6, 2016
Move over Nicholas Sparks. Johnnie Alexander has become my new favorite romance novel author.This book kept my attention from chapter one until the end. All the twists and turns kept me guessing where the book was going and praying it would have the ending I hoped for. Johnnie didn't disappoint. I love that it was a romance novel, but clean and no trash. Her detail and descriptions were so good it was like I was watching the movie in my mind. And with any good romance novel, I cried. I loved Where She Belongs and can't wait for book #2 in the Misty Willow Series to come out in the fall.
Profile Image for Robyn.
68 reviews22 followers
January 7, 2016
Johnnie Alexander has created a wonderfully poignant story of God's work in his beloved children. I very much enjoyed the characters of Shelby and AJ- both were very well rounded. I liked being able to 'hear' from each one as the story unfolded. Hearing both of their voices and thoughts did not detract one from the other but gave the story a very balanced view point and therefore, added depth. Very highly recommended! I look forward to the next installments to this Misty Willow series.
Profile Image for Sandra Lovelace.
33 reviews6 followers
August 7, 2017
Johnnie's characters swept me off my feet from page one. Some I wanted to hug. Other's I was prepared to clobber. They had me in tears faster than I want to confess.
The main problem with the book is that it's given me a thirst for title 2 and 3. :-P
In closing let me point out that this novel grabbed me even though it's not a favorite genre.
Thanks anyway, Johnnie. :-D
Profile Image for Victoria Bylin.
Author 34 books462 followers
May 2, 2017
Delightful! Thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the small town setting, and the sweet message of healing.
937 reviews4 followers
October 13, 2017
“Where She Belongs” by Johnnie Alexander was not a book I counted on liking very much. First of all, I’m not partial to contemporary romances, and secondly, I wasn’t sure the premise of the story would be one I liked. I was wrong. This novel, although it took me a chapter or two to get into it, was very enjoyable. There was also a hint of historical mystery following the thread of the story which gave the novel the kick it needed. The obvious theme of Ms. Alexander’s novel is one of family history and the home place. Some count on that tie that binds them to their ancestors and some could care less about the family story.

Shelby Kincaid is trying to recapture the memories she had as a child for her girls. AJ Sullivan has no desire to remember his childhood. They were vastly different although lived in the same area. Finding the ties brings them together and makes each of their histories a part of who they are.

I received a complimentary copy from Revell and was under no obligation to review the book. You can read this review on my blog at http://wp.me/p2pjIt-sG. Check out other book reviews at http://imhookedonbooks.wordpress.com.
Profile Image for Kasey Cocoa.
954 reviews39 followers
May 8, 2017
Where She Belongs starts out smoothly and takes the reader on a journey not typical of romance novels. The change works well and fits the main plot thread of the novel, although at times it's not 100% clear if the primary plot thread is the historical one or the romantic one. This does not detract too much from the overall read and may add something for some readers. I found the characters to be believable although for me it feels as though some received more thought and fleshing out than others. Character development is nicely handled and feels authentic to the initial foundation. Overall, this is an enjoyable read with a good message and well constructed plot. I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Karen.
656 reviews9 followers
February 12, 2018
3.5 stars.
This is a clean, contemporary romance. i actually dont read many contemporary romances, but I enjoyed this one. It was not too religious and the main characters were good.
Shelby comes back home to her grandparents old abandoned home. Shes a widow with two young girls.
AJ was in possession of the home and ready to sell it, it is a sore spot for him with his past.
Youll learn a lot about the history of this beautiful big house and farm. Youll also learn a lot about AJ and Shelby's family history and their grandparents feud.
AJ is such a good guy, youre rooting for him the whole time hoping Shelby can learn to forgive the past and move on.
November 9, 2017
Many Christian romance novels uses the plot of a widow going back home to start anew, and if you read as many books as I do, then the theme can get a little stale. However, that isn't the case here, as Johnnie Alexander uses her magical writing skills to spin an unique story with intriguing, believable characters. At first glance, the novel does look like a typical romance story, but there's more to this tale than meets the eyes, as there's a bit of a mystery involving the Sullivan family's past.

Overall, Where She Belongs is a well-written contemporary romance read!
Profile Image for Regina Merrick.
Author 12 books40 followers
July 7, 2018
I purchased this book directly from the author at an author event, and as soon as I started reading, knew I had found a new author to follow. In fact, upon finishing this book, I immediately purchased books 2 and 3 of this series. The two main characters, Shelby and AJ, are two generations away from what some would call star-crossed lovers tied together by a place, Misty Willow Farm. A sweet romance filled with heart-tugs, little girl kisses, and even a protective dog, you won't be disappointed reading "Where She Belongs."
690 reviews7 followers
August 13, 2019
Oh, wow!! I really loved this book!!! I was hooked from the first chapter!! It was so engaging, and I had to find out what happened!! I did not want to put this down!!! I stayed up a tad late last night to read "just one more chapter!" Then, I spent time today finishing it. This was the first book by Johnnie that I've read, but I guarantee it is not the last!!! Can't wait to read the rest of this series!!
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