“The Night I Found You” by Noelle Bensen

The Night I Found You (A River Haven Novel)

Noelle Bensen
Autumn Mountain Books (2021)
ISBN: 978-1737994206
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (12/2021)

Gemma Stone, the main character in this debut romance, was quite literally in a “spot” I remember well from my own life. When the author first introduced me to her, Gemma was hiking in the freezing cold woods of Vermont… and not because she wanted to. Her car had broken down, the snow beneath her feet was rising by the minute, and the boots she wore this winter evening were not exactly made for practical use. My own hometown, which I lovingly refer to as the “Hellmouth,” is the same scenery. I remember that hideous snow reaching past mid-calf on nights such as the one Gemma Stone is having. And when it comes to the woods… I despise nature even when it’s warm.

Gemma, however, is luckier than I was… because in the distance she sees a light beaming from a cabin window. Yes, a cabin in the middle of the woods that would literally be an oasis for anyone who was frozen to their very core. You will actually feel jealousy when you see what lies in store for Gemma. Reaching the threshold, the frostbite takes over and Gemma’s world goes dark. But when she wakes up in this cabin that she remembers seeing, a stunning man by the name of Levi is taking care of her. (Makes you really despise her now, doesn’t it, ladies?)

Levi Hudson is a man who actually wanted to take advantage of this hideous Vermont snowstorm that meteorologists stated was about to descend upon them. He had chosen to flee to his cabin in order to enjoy a quiet, carefree winter weekend. What he never expected was to find a woman on his doorstep, near death from the wintry weather, and have to nurse her back to life.

The jealousy fades (a bit, anyway) as the story progresses. Gemma Stone has problems in her life, with one being that outside influences are coming down on her and Levi can actually solve her problems if they enter into an agreement. Levi has his own issues, including a father who will not stop bothering him and intruding on his life. As they get to know each other, a proposal ends up on the table, so to speak, that will actually help them both get over the negatives in their life… if done correctly. What’s the proposal, you ask? A proposal of marriage, of course. The only thing is, Gemma must question what’s behind this for Levi Hudson. I mean, this is humanity. Why would anyone marry basically a stranger if there wasn’t a benefit for themselves?

I can’t tell you how much I want to provide answers to these questions…but I cannot. To reveal a detail would be revealing too many. What I can say is that when you look at the romance genre there are true masters of the art. (Nora Roberts, anyone?) With few exceptions, romance novels tend to follow the same “formula” that has been put in place for decades; they rarely take a mysterious turn or break away from the norm.

This author, however, did a fine job of being unique. Her characters and their personal situations were interesting to learn about, and the back-and-forth dialogue between them keeps your attention. Although the romance brought heat to the story, the plotline was fresh, which makes it exciting to know that this is just the first of, what I assume will be, a great series of books to come!

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