As a community development worker, Faith was quite familiar with heartbreak and recovery after all the time she spent on disaster relief missions. So when her five-year relationship ends right before she left for a mission trip to a typhoon-stricken town in Iloilo, she tries not to make a big deal out of it. How can she be broken up about a breakup when she’s with people who literally lost everything?
But now that she’s back, all Faith wants is for her life to go back to normal and have people stop looking at her with pity. Never mind that she still has a lot of questions about the breakup, or that she feels a tiny ache every time her ex comes up in conversations. She’s okay now, and happily distracted by Nico Tamayo, the attractive new guy at work.
With new possibilities in the horizon, Faith thinks she is well on her way to moving on. But when her past comes calling back to her, will all the good things in her present be enough to keep her on the path? Or will she finally learn that there was more to heartbreak and recovery than what she knows?
Author: Ana Tejano
Format: Kindle Copy
Part of a Series: No. Standalone.
Release Date: July 31, 2016
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
One of my few bookish New Year’s resolutions is to read, support, and promote locally published books. Last year, the outburst that is #romanceclass (a.k.a. a community filled with locally published authors and readers) took the Filipino bookish community by storm, and I might be a bit too late, but I want in on this amazingly active (not to mention positive and supportive) community.
Today, I’m more than happy to share with y’all my thoughts on Ana Tejano’s book, Keep The Faith.
The first thing that I wanted to positively point out about this heartfelt book was the fact that religion, mainly Christian faith, played a major role in the story. Nowadays, with cliche contemporaries and vividly-written fantasies dominating the bookish community, it’s a bit rare to read a novel that will somehow tackle religion. Let’s be honest, if we were asked about the last book we read that tackled Christian faith and/or Social Responsibility, can we honestly answer with a good book to recommend? I don’t think so. One of the main reasons why I loved this book so much was that this aspect was incorporated well into the story. With main, and side characters that were socially responsible and imbued with good faith, it’s a no brainer why this book became an instant favorite for me.
I’m so impressed with the main character’s development all throughout the story. Naturally, the novel focused on the life of a certain Faith Alvarez, and how she coped up with a broken heart, while having to show others that she’s okay to not feel pitied. I love how she put up a good front at first, handling her recent break-up with James quite “gracefully”. (Although to be honest, she wasn’t fooling anyone with that act.) As the story progressed, she started losing her grip on things and she desperately tried to get a hold of his ex, even choosing to remain friends with him while everyone in the world knew how abnormal that was. (COME ON, PEOPLE!) In the end, my heart broke for her when she admitted just how truly shattered she was about the stuff that was going on. It takes guts to admit and accept the truth, and seeing Faith’s emotional growth made my reading experience all the more satisfying.
I hope everyone who gets to read this learns from Faith: that sometimes, in order to move on, and be able to forgive those who have hurt you in the past, we must first be able to forgive ourselves. It takes a great deal of courage to admit that sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s what makes us human, after all. Everything might not be going as planned at the moment, but it can’t rain forever, right? Until such time, it’s okay to cry, and grieve. But after that, we should move on, learn from out mistakes, and come out of this challenge better and stronger than before.
“Keep The Faith will surely be an instant favorite, especially for those whose looking for simple, yet sweet reads that unpredictably packs a good punch. It’ll make you smile (like crazy), cry (again, like crazy), and it will remind you of the most basic things that make us human: the ability to love, grieve, and forgive.”
Characters – 4.50
Plot – 4.00
Writing Style – 4.50
Pacing – 5.00
Ending – 5.00
TOTAL – 4.6 / 5 ★
Thank you to Ana Tejano for letting me be a part of this blog tour, as well as for providing a review copy, and tour kit for me. This, by the way, did not affect my opinion nor the content of my review in any way.
Click here for a chance to be entered to win #romanceclass ebooks and a signed copy of Keep The Faith by Ana Tejano!
The tiny tinkling sounds of the chime sounded extraordinarily loud in the empty office as she left. As soon as she disappeared from my view, I switched to my browser, and in less than a minute, I was staring at James’s smiling face on his social media profile page.
He had just changed his profile picture. His hair was shorter, shaved closer to his head. The last time he had this hairstyle was around three years ago. The photo looked like it was taken at a restaurant, and that he was with some people, but I could only see the shoulder of whoever was sitting beside him. I recognized the red and blue plaid polo shirt he was wearing—my birthday gift to him last year. Seeing that gave me a huge wave of relief. He hadn’t thrown it away.
I know cyberstalking my ex wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t like I hadn’t checked on his profile when we were together, but now that we’re not, I couldn’t help but look at it every time I logged on. This was all I could do while I mustered up the courage to reach out to him so we could talk about what happened, for my peace of mind.
James’ eyes crinkled whenever he smiled genuinely, like he was doing in this photo. A slight ache tugged at my heart as I stared at it but I shrugged it away as I scrolled down his timeline.
There wasn’t anything else new on his profile that I hadn’t seen the last time I checked (yesterday). With a tiny sigh, I clicked on some albums that he posted after the breakup to see if there were comments that I hadn’t seen yet.
“Faith, what are you still doing here?”
“Holy crap!” I shot out of my seat, and for the second time since last week, my heart leapt at the sight of Nico.
“Hey, hey, sorry.” He put down on the floor the big plastic box he was carrying and held up his hands, as if I was a wild animal about to bite him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to surprise you. I thought you heard me.”
“You think?” I exclaimed, taking a step away from him. My voice was shrill from the adrenaline running through my veins.
“I’ve been in the supply room all this time. April even said goodbye to me. I thought you left with her.”
“Why are you still here?” I struggled to keep my voice calm but my nerves were still strained. I jumped a little to shake it off, but my shaky knees made me stumble. Nico reached for my arms to keep me from losing my balance.
“Hey, be careful.” His grip was firm but gentle and helped to steady me, but my heart refused to calm down. I pulled away, stepped back, and leaned on the table, finding it more soothing to hold on to rather than Nico’s warm hands.
About the Author:
Ana Tejano has been in love with words and writing ever since she met Elizabeth Wakefield when she was in Grade 3. She has contributed several non-fiction pieces in print and online publications, and has been blogging for years. When she’s not writing, she works as a communications manager for a payroll outsourcing firm, and serves in CFC Singles for Christ in every other time that she doesn’t spend reading or sleeping. She lives in Metro Manila and is also known by another name in her other circles (but it’s not a secret identity, really).