Contemporary Fiction, Review

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh

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Faithfully Bookish

Just Look Up by Courtney WalshAfter tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home–a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work–something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along–if only she’d just look up.

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My Thoughts

While it’s not all that unusual for a story to touch my heart (even burrow down deep and make a home there), it is a rare blessing to be challenged to the point of positive change by fiction. This book has that power. Inside this entertaining, relatable, encouraging story is a simple truth we all know yet often fail to apply… more about that later.

I connected with Lane Kelley immediately (actually BEFORE I even read the book since I first felt a kinship in her character spotlight). Lane is a focused, driven, corporate ladder climbing powerhouse… she’s also lonely, ridiculously overworked and underfed. Her hometown memories are overshadowed by years of teasing and heartbreak.

Ryan Brooks is an unassuming, small-town trailblazer. With a little encouragement from the Kelleys, he has pulled himself up by the bootstraps and built a life to be proud of. Ryan is loyal, patient, and hardworking but he also makes time for family and fun. I am a big fan of good solid “Mr. Steady” male lead characters like Ryan, ones who work with their hands and choose their words carefully.

This book came along at just the right time for me! Just Look Up‘s subtle messages about family, relationships, and priorities have also inspired me to take a fresh look at how I spend my own time and energy. My smartphone will definitely be getting less use in the future as I strive to focus more attention on the people right in front of me.

I requested the opportunity to read this book through the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.


About the Author

Courtney WalshCourtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theater director, and playwright. Change of Heart is her fifth novel and is set in the same town as Paper Hearts.

Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two additional books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals.

Courtney lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing and visual arts studio. They have three children.

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Also Available

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Do you find yourself distracted from life and loved ones by technology, work, or something else, reader friends? What are some steps you can take or have taken to keep your priorities straight?

3 thoughts on “Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh”

  1. Lovely review, Beth. I haven’t read this book, but I hope to soon. I’m easily distracted by social media and spend too much time on it. I’m retired and my children are all grown and gone, but I find I neglect things around my house I should be doing. Although I don’t think the Board of Health will be coming soon, I find my standards of cleanliness have been relaxed a bit. Dusting, cleaning closets, etc. get put on hold. Perhaps I should push this book to the top of my list to give me motivation! 😀


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