There is a law irrevocably decreed in the state of Alabama that you must choose a team. You're either an Auburn fan or an Alabama Fan. There is no fence sitting or waffling. It’s one or the other. However, it doesn't mean that you can’t fall in love with someone from the opposing side. They even have a name for it ... House Divided.
Ellie Eaton and Brady Jackson were just such a couple, but unfortunately they were separated by more than just their loyalty to a university. Against the odds and against the rules, Ellie and Brady dove right into the forbidden current of friendship and then love. Their sweet, innocent romance was one for the storybooks, but old rules and family prejudices ultimately tore them apart, just as they were each ready to depart to their beloved universities, Ellie to Auburn and Brady to Alabama. But years later, when near tragedy strikes, they're brought together again and given a second chance at love, this time with help from some very unlikely sources.
House Divided is a sweet romance filled with southern charm, a dash of humor and, for good measure, a pinch of lies and intrigue.
Praise for the Book:
"House Divided was one of those books that made me want to ignore my children, my to-do list, my need for food, and pretty much anything else that would keep me from reading. Jennifer Peel has a real gift for depicting first love, heartbreak, and hope."
"A tender, soft, story that truly is a gem to read."
"Ms. Peel has created a story that stands as a tribute to true southern gentility, it's foibles and strengths. Truly a beautiful read that gives heart and meaning to true devotion. She truly knows how to weave a story that has beauty and true southern charm."
I was so thrilled that Brady was in my home that I didn’t notice he wasn’t acting like himself. I pulled him into our drawing room where the fireplace was lit and the twelve-foot high Christmas tree sparkled in the dimly illuminated room. Under the tree sat my wrapped present for Brady. I retrieved the present and sat in front of the fireplace on the floor. Brady sat next to me, and before I could say a word, he pulled me to him and kissed me like he never had before. It was like a man kissing a woman, not a boy kissing a girl. I could barely breathe when he was done. His breathing was ragged too.
"Well, Merry Christmas," I said. That was present enough for me.
He smiled that country boy smile I loved so much, but it was then I noticed it didn’t touch his eyes like his smile always had.
"What’s wrong, Brady?"
He pulled on my hair, like he always had. "Ellie …"
He took a deep breath and looked at me with his baby blues. "We can’t be together anymore," he quickly blurted out.
I just shook my head. Surely I had heard him wrong, but I knew I hadn’t.
I backed up, and he scooted closer. The tears welled up in my eyes and in his. "Please, Ellie, just listen to me."
"Ok … Ella. I’m so sorry, but being with you is tearing my family apart, and with my daddy so sick … I … I have to … I have to do this for my family. Can you please understand that?"
I was speechless. I loved him. I had broken my aunt’s rules and heart for him. And he, he was the one who pursued me and who had to shout it to the world that we were together. How could he just end it like that? I didn’t understand. The tears began to flow. He tried to wipe them away, but I wouldn’t let him. I didn’t want him to touch me.
He stood up, but before he left, he looked down at me. "I love you, Miss Ellie."
How could he? I just stared up at him blankly
"Don’t worry, Ellie, you don’t have to say it back. I love us enough for the both of us."
As someone who has lived in Alabama her entire life, I can confirm that the Alabama / Auburn rivalry is serious business. While I don't know of anyone who takes it quite as seriously as the Jacksons and Eatons, it is basically a requirement that if you live in Alabama, you must choose between the two teams.
House Divided is a sweet romance about Ellie and Brady, who were separated in high school due to the rivalry between their families, but are then reunited after Ellie's aunt is rushed to the hospital. Ellie never stopped loving Brady, but she knew there was no way they could ever be together. His family despised her, and her aunt, whom Ellie considers her mother, isn't happy with Brady's family, either. Ellie doesn't understand why, but knows that one of her aunt's rules is that Eatons must never become involved with a Jackson.
After her heart was broken by Brady (and his family), Ellie tries to move on, even moving to Atlanta after college. When she gets the call about her aunt, she returns to Alabama, and all of the old feelings return. She runs into Brady, and try as she might, she just can't stay away from him. Brady is determined to reconcile and resume their relationship, but Ellie doesn't know if they will ever be able to overcome the prejudice and hatred between their families.
This was one of those books that I didn't want to put down, simply because I wanted to know if things would truly work out for Ellie and Brady. I was also really interested to learn why there was such dislike between the two families. While their favorite football teams aren't really the reason for the animosity, I thought it was a clever way to mask the true reason, as the Alabama / Auburn rivalry is such a big deal amongst most Alabamians.
House Divided was a quick, sweet, and clean romance. I would recommend to fans of clean, contemporary romances, especially to those who are fans of Alabama or Auburn.
About the Author:
Author Jennifer Peel
I'm a Colorado native who currently calls Alabama home. I'm the mother of three amazing children who have grown up way too fast. I enjoy the mountains, vacations at the beach, date night with my husband, late night talks with my kiddos, touring model homes, and pink bubblegum ice cream.
I grew up on the Western Slope in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I learned to love the beauty of the outdoors, but not camping--unless staying overnight at the Marriott counts. I met my husband while living in Denver and then several years later we traded the beauty and majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains for the art and culture of Chicago, Illinois. My family and I enjoyed living near this world class city, despite the crazy cold winters, but new adventures awaited in Northern Alabama--just six hours away from Orange Beach, Alabama. These three magical places (the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Chicago, and Orange Beach) are the inspired locations used in several of my books.
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