Book Blitz, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Release blitz, review, & giveaway: I Loved You Then


Title: I Loved You THEN
Series: Bristol Backroads Duet #1


Author: Jen Blau
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 18, 2018




Love was supposed to protect us… but sometimes, love dies.
Emily’s life defines the American Dream.
She has a husband of eighteen years, two healthy teenage daughters, and a thriving business. But it’s all a lie.
Happily ever after was supposed to be enough, but her marriage is tattered, along with her self-esteem. She’s drowning and nobody sees her struggle.
UNTIL Logan, the town playboy breaks down her walls and reminds Emily who she was before putting them up.
Can she risk everything for the life she wants, or will Emily stay and continue to live the lie?


My Review:

*Trigger warning: this novel deals with themes of verbal and emotional abuse.

Welcome to my stop on the release blitz tour for Jen Blau’s debut novel, I Loved You Then. This is a story that many of us have lived ourselves or witnessed, a story about a marriage that has grown apart, that is not supportive, is selfish, and often, cruel. Emily and Ryan have been married for 18 years, have teenage twin daughters, and Ryan owns an auto-repair business. Things appear to be “o.k.” on the surface, but truthfully, Emily is trapped in an unhappy marriage with an alcoholic that completely discounts her own personal dreams. This book is emotional and difficult at times, but let me tell you – it is amazing!

Before the end of the first chapter, I honestly wanted to kick Ryan in the teeth. Why? Because I have lived that life (many years ago, thank God), where I am left home night after night, alone with the children/pets/etc., while my husband was out drinking, partying, flirting, cheating, etc. I was stunned at the similarities between my previous life and that of the main character, Emily. On the bright side, she has been working on and focusing on a screenplay for years, one that is nearly finished. But of course, guess who belittles and makes fun of her at every opportunity for her “stupid dream?” Yep, that would be Ryan. Emily’s best friend, Jules, is also married to a complete turd that treats Jules in much the same way that Ryan treats Emily. So, yes, these marriages are not very uplifting.

However, not long into the story, Emily starts noticing that one of Ryan’s friends, Logan, has started talking to her more while she’s working at the shop, and possibly flirting. She’s aware that adultery is not the answer to any of her problems, but as they build their friendship and learn more about each other, Emily slowly starts re-growing and spreading her wings in an attempt to find happiness.

Without ruining this novel with spoilers, I will try to summarize all of my ramblings by saying that I Loved You Then is a phenomenal debut novel that will be difficult at times, but will leave you with a smile. I feel that this is such an important novel to read, especially young adults just now looking for or beginning relationships with significant others. Verbal and emotional abuse does not leave marks on the outside, but the damage is just as detrimental and takes a lot of hard work to overcome. Not only does everyone need to recognize it for what it is, but also maintain hope that it can be overcome. Bravo to Jen Blau for this relevant, romantic, and engaging first novel!



Purchase Links


$2.99 for a limited timeAMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Available at the following retailers


We both laughed
and clinked the plastic together before each taking a sip.
Licking the
sweetness from my lips, I lowered my glass with both hands, eyes following it.
“Can I ask you
“Sure, anything.”
Logan drained his portion of champagne and set his glass down. Sticking hands
in his pockets, he leaned his hip against the freezer to face me.
“Why do you care
so much?” I lifted my face, devoid of expression. “I mean about my writing.
About my work. All these years, I thought you were this tough, no feelings kind
of guy. Yet, you’ve shown so much… I don’t know. Emotion. Why?” 
Logan paused, a
soft grin on his face, then tilted his head and moved in closer. “I told you
before. You don’t know me as well as you think you do.”
Squirming, a
little embarrassed, I broke from his gaze and tucked my elbows close to my
side, still holding onto my champagne flute with both hands.
“Well I am glad
that you’re here.” I took in a deep breath and let it out slow, savoring the
moment as I looked to the rich sunset forming outside. Pinks, blues, lavenders.
Like cotton candy.  
I turned back,
Logan’s face only inches from mine.
“Me too,” he
answered. Just then, the breeze whipped in through the door. “It probably
should be Ryan, though. Right?” Logan pressed his lips tight, leaned back some
and looked away towards the sunset. 
My stomach
clenched at the mention of my husband’s name. “Maybe. But he wouldn’t be
toasting with me. That’s for sure.”
Lifting my glass,
I drained what was left in it. Logan didn’t miss a beat and reached for the
bottle, giving me a refill. I took a sip before continuing.
“And, I doubt
he’d care. I don’t think he wants me to succeed at anything; he has no concern
for my passions whatsoever. I’m not sure I’ll even tell him about this.”
I went quiet, my
head spinning, not only from the phone call and the champagne, but also from
the reality of my situation. The thought of Ryan dampened my celebratory mood.
“Hey…” Logan
removed the glass from my hands with the tip of his fingers and set it down.
“Let’s not talk about him right now. Okay?” Taking my arms, he pulled me close,
wrapping them around the back of his waist. Nervous, my heart pounded as I
caught the essence of carburetor mixed with his signature musky lemon cologne
from his t-shirt. He’d come from working at Monroe Auto, but he somehow smelled
good enough to go on a date.
“Okay,” I
murmured and looked up at him. He released his hands to hold my face. Rough and
calloused from working on cars all his life, his touch was still delicate as he
bent, taking my lips in his.
Logan kissed me,
light and gentle at first. Like I might break under his touch. But then, he
dragged me closer, pressing his body to mine and taking more of me into his
mouth, our kiss building intensity.
“I care,” he
whispered against my skin. 
My body wouldn’t
relax fully. We lived on the outskirts of town, but with the garage door open,
anyone could see right in. That would start some gossip.
“What’s wrong?”
He leaned back, picking up on my tension. Noooo,
don’t stop.
I pointed to the
open door, then wiped at my wet lips.
He smirked.
“That’s easy.” He walked to the side of the door and pressed the CLOSE button.
The walk-in door to the outside was still open, but this was enough to conceal
He took back his
place with me, and I let go, running my hand up his back, feeling the warmth of
his skin. A moment later, Logan drew back again, his eyes fixed down into mine.
He kept his hands tangled behind my head in my long hair.
“He has no idea
what he has, Em. The depth of you is incredible. I see it. I see you.”
I squeezed my
eyes shut, trying not to cry again. Logan took notice and pulled me to his
chest in a hug.
With my eyes
still shut, I lifted away. Logan bent, our lips crashing again, before I opened
them.  I wanted to stay like this
A minute later, a
truck roared outside the garage door. Ryan.
“Shit!” Logan and
I broke from each other. I grabbed my glass, clearing my throat; he grabbed his
bottle of beer, and we composed ourselves quickly. He stayed close, though,
enough to touch the side of my body. We leaned with our backs against the deep
freeze as Ryan walked in the side door.
Everything that
had just happened–everything that has
happened–with Logan had felt right. Unfortunately, that still didn’t make it right.
“What the hell is
this?” Once inside, Ryan planted his legs wide and crossed his arms. His face
tightened, and he glared between the two of them.


Author Bio
Born and raised on a cattle farm in rural Nebraska, Jen still resides in the Midwest with her three children, two dogs and lots of happy cows.A proclaimed coffee, wine, and book snob, Jen writes about women and the depth of their life stories. Even before the “times-up” and new women’s movement, sharing light on women’s real lives was an important part of her vision and life purpose. I Loved You THEN is her first novel.

Author Links

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1 thought on “Release blitz, review, & giveaway: I Loved You Then”

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