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Yours Truly


Yours Truly

When I read Abby Jimenez’s PART OF YOUR WORLD, I was not alone in hoping that she would give Briana Ortiz, the cynical best friend and colleague of heroine Alexis Montgomery, her own happily ever after. So I was more than a little excited to crack open YOURS TRULY and see what she had in store for Briana.

When the novel opens, Briana’s divorce from her two-timing husband is about to be finalized. But she can hardly wallow in her own misery. She’s also coping with her younger brother Benny’s rapid-onset autoimmune disease, which has left him without functioning kidneys, depressed, and despairing of ever finding a match. What’s more, the one thing that had been giving Briana any kind of hope --- the prospect of getting a promotion to head of emergency medicine at the Twin Cities hospital where she works --- is now on hold, thanks to a new hotshot doctor her boss has brought in to compete for the position.

"Both Briana and Jacob are appealingly flawed in different ways... Jimenez continues to excel at emotionally resonant love stories with plenty of gentle humor."

Briana is poised to loathe Jacob Maddox from Day 1, especially after he barges into her brother’s hospital room to berate her for running in the corridors. Unlike Briana, he doesn’t even know how to sweet-talk the nurses, who also take their lead from Briana, who’s beloved in the department. And when she confronts Jacob, he…just freezes and runs away. Not exactly the stuff of great first impressions.

But the Twin Cities medical community is small, and Briana has plenty of colleagues who already knew Jacob from his prior position at a neighboring hospital. They assure her that not only is Jacob not evil, he’s actually one of the kindest and most generous and thoughtful people they know. Could this be the same Jacob Maddox?

Briana might have constructed a wall around her heart after her painful divorce, but when Jacob writes her a letter to apologize for their initial confrontation and explain where he’s coming from, her defenses begin to soften somewhat. Soon, they’re confiding things to one another in letters and stealing away for lunches together in the supply closet that both of them use when ER life --- or life in general --- gets to be just a bit too much.

It turns out that Jacob is recovering from his own painful breakup. It was bad enough that it prompted him to switch hospitals so he wouldn’t have to keep working with his ex. When Jacob makes the ultimate gesture of generosity for Briana and her family, she agrees to return the favor (kind of) by helping convince Jacob’s loved ones that he’s moved on. Neither is ready for a new relationship, but the more time they spend together, the harder it is to deny their feelings.

This slow-burn love story might be relatively low-stakes in terms of the obstacles keeping its two love interests apart, but Jimenez’s effective character development more than compensates for any flatness in the plot. Both Briana and Jacob are appealingly flawed in different ways, and their vulnerabilities manifest themselves in ways that both contrast with and complement one another. And, of course, there are glimpses at the next chapter for Alexis and Daniel from PART OF YOUR WORLD. Jimenez continues to excel at emotionally resonant love stories with plenty of gentle humor.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on April 14, 2023

Yours Truly
by Abby Jimenez