Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Where She Belongs (Misty Willow, #1)” as Want to Read:
Where She Belongs (Misty Willow, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Where She Belongs

(Misty Willow #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  428 ratings  ·  111 reviews
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 homes
Paperback, 365 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Revell
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  428 ratings  ·  111 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Where She Belongs (Misty Willow, #1)
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 find
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-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 stro
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-tour, review
Though I’ve seen her historical debut around the blogosphere and have spied it during (online) window shopping sprees, 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.

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-c
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 ...more
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
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 h
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 cha ...more
Carole Jarvis
Reviewed at The Power of Words:

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
Becky Van Daniker
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 Sulli
Nicki Olsen
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it

*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
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Randy Tramp
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing

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. T
Christian Fiction Addiction
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
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, an ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: realistic, christian
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 i
Shirley Corder
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 wo ...more
Beth Erin
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Full review on Faithfully Bookish

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
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 Whe ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Sandra Lovelace
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
Victoria Bylin
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Delightful! Thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the small town setting, and the sweet message of healing.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
“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 histo ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 c
Kasey Cocoa
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: clean-romance
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 h
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Regina Merrick
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Trudy Cordle
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!! ...more
Aimee M.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a modern day Hatfield/McCoy story. Since A.J., the main male character's grandfather took away the main female character, Shelby's grandfather's house, she instantly does not like A.J. or his family when she moves back to Misty Willows. Then by the end of the story, Shelby figures out what a good guy A.J. is after all. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Readers Unite | T...: Where She Belongs Giveaway 1 8 Jan 20, 2016 09:46AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 2 3 Nov 23, 2015 12:22PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sweet on You (A Bradford Sisters Romance, #3)
  • Gingham Mountain (Lassoed in Texas, #3)
  • Falling for You (A Bradford Sisters Romance, #2)
  • Now and Then and Always (Maple Valley, #1)
  • Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story
  • The Runaway Bride (The Bride Ships, #2)
  • Beyond All Dreams
  • True to You (A Bradford Sisters Romance, #1)
  • Acceptable Risk (Danger Never Sleeps, #2)
  • Just Look Up (Harbor Pointe, #1)
  • How Sweet It Is (Legacy of Faith #3)
  • Collateral Damage (Danger Never Sleeps, #1)
  • Her Cowboy Billionaire Birthday Wish (Christmas in Coral Canyon #9)
  • New Leaf (Mystic Creek, #2)
  • A Bride of Convenience (The Bride Ships, #3)
  • At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen, #1)
  • Amish Christmas Buggy Ride: Amish Romance
  • The Amish Christmas Wish
See similar books…
Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won't forget.

Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale), made the CBA bestseller list. Her contemporary romance novels include Where She Belongs, When Hope Arrives, and What Hope Remembers.

She currently writes cozy mysteries and contemporaries for Annie's Fiction and historical novellas for Barbour.

Other books in the series

Misty Willow (3 books)
  • When Love Arrives (Misty Willow #2)
  • What Hope Remembers (Misty Willow #3)

News & Interviews

Some interesting news for book nerds: According to recent industry research, book sales spiked dramatically in 2020–otherwise a rather...
25 likes · 11 comments
“How soon do you want to move in?” “As soon as possible after school is out. In about six or seven weeks.” “Are you a teacher too?” AJ asked. Shelby shook her head. “I have a first grader. And a three-year-old.” “You’re married?” As AJ’s brown eyes flitted to her left hand, she self-consciously folded it into her waist. It’d been over a year since Gary’s death, but she still wore her wedding band. More for her daughters’ sakes than her own. “I was.” 1 likes
“How about going into town for lunch? My treat.” “With you? No.” “This may surprise you,” he said, a teasing lilt in his voice, “but I’m not my grandfather.” Shelby gazed at the broken swing. “Uncle Richard told me you’ve owned this house about five or six years.” “Six.” “What exactly did you do different than your grandfather?” A wounded frown replaced AJ’s amiable smile, and his eyes brimmed with pain. Regret gripped Shelby’s heart. She’d meant the words to sting a little, but not to cut. She opened her mouth to apologize, but he turned on his heel and headed toward his Jeep before she could say a word. Opening the driver’s door, he glared at her over the roof. “See you at the signing.” “I didn’t mean—” “I think you did.” He disappeared into the Jeep and started the ignition. As the vehicle bounced down the lane, Shelby’s heart jolted. It was as if she were fourteen again, as lonely and abandoned as the house behind her.” 1 likes
More quotes…