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Gracen Lowell is on the hunt for a man—but not just any man. He has to be ‘the one’. Her only problem is that no one she’s dated has ever measured up to the charming qualities of her best friend.


Slade Owens knows no matter how much he loves Gracen, he’ll never be what she’s looking for. And he dang sure isn’t going to stick around to watch her fall in love with someone else. Slade leaving the Owens’ family farm for an out-of-state job should put enough distance between the two to allow him to move on with his life and Gracen to search for her happily-ever-after.


Gracen knows asking him to stay isn’t fair. Slade thinks leaving her behind is the only thing to do. Inexplicably drawn together, the best friends must decide if they have what it takes to own up to their feelings… before it’s too late.

Authors Talk About It Full Review

5 Stars


Sonya Loveday’s What It Takes: A Dirt Road Love Story is a romance novel that will take readers from laughing to crying, from feeling happy to being furious, and from filled with joyfulness to emptiness and back again. Slade and Gracen were best friends since they were children, but it took them a long time to discover that they were meant to be soul mates in more ways than one. They both had to travel along different paths for a time to discover that what they really wanted in life, what really fit them had been right in front of them all along. On some levels, What It Takes is a typical romance novel, but in all honesty it isn’t typical at all.

What It Takes flips back and forth between Gracen’s perspective and Slade’s perspective, and Loveday did a fantastic job with this often difficult style of writing. This is a country love story that will hit home, but it goes beyond the love and the challenges that face Slade and Gracen’s relationship. Sonya Loveday displays wonderful skill in shining a spotlight on domestic violence -men against women- and even adult bullying -men against men. These pieces are fluidly interwoven into the fabric of What It Takes: A Dirt Road Love Story, and may even help others understand a bit more about it.

Occasionally, readers may have a hint of what to expect in the plot, but mostly, Sonya Loveday’s exceptional writing skill will keep readers questioning what will happen next and turning pages until the very end. She even shares a surprise in the epilogue. What it Takes is one of the best romance novels I’ve read or critiqued in quite some time.

Well done.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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