Award-winning wildlife photographer, Elijah Ellis, has come back home due to the tragic accident that killed members of both his and his best friend Tabitha Brodie’s family. Despite their grief, Eli hopes that he and Tabby can pick up their familiar friendship. He’s never forgotten the way Tabby makes him feel—full of hope and a sense of home—but she seems determined to keep him at arm’s length.

Tabby has always loved Eli. He’s everything she wants in a man. But he left Gatlinburg to make a name for himself outside of his famous family. Even though there’s no one better to help her through this time, she refuses to be an anchor to a life he never wanted. Not to mention Tabby’s hiding a secret that will change all of their lives.

As Eli and Tabby spend more time together, he’s determined to show her they could be perfect together. Too bad she’s spent years building her walls against him.

Titles in the Ellis Family Saga series include – His Reason to Stay

Title:  His Reason to Stay
Series:  The Ellis Family Saga #1
Author:  Jennifer Hoopes
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  December 9, 2019
Publisher:  Entangled Publishing – Bliss
My Rating:  4 stars

HIS REASON TO STAY begins The Ellis Family Saga with a story that captured my attention from the beginning.  A family tragedy will bring one son back home to his family and the girl he left behind, who is no longer that young woman with a crush on him.  Tabby is not only reeling from the death of her sister, her father, her brother-in-law, and Eli’s father (a close family friend) but with a secret.  One she’s holding close to her heart, one that will change not only her own life but that of two families as well.

Eli hadn’t wanted to go into the family business, his passion was in wildlife photography and he had followed that dream to great success.  Now returning home has him rethinking his decisions of the past, dealing with siblings who have very strong opinions on his absence and whether he should stay or go.  And rediscovering Tabby, his friend who has become so much more.  She could be the biggest reason to stay but she’s holding him at arm’s length in order to protect her own heart and there is that secret she’s told no one about… yet.

I liked Eli and Tabby.  They are both dealing with heartbreaking events.  And they are both stubborn in their own ways.  Eli has a lot to prove to his family and the woman he’d make a future with.  No one has forgotten that he made the choice to leave, now he has to convince them that he truly intends to stay whether they’ll believe him – well, perhaps eventually, if he does indeed stick close to home.  There is definitely angst here, but there are also good reasons why people are acting as they are.  HIS REASON TO STAY lays a firm foundation for the rest of the series, and I’ll definitely be following this family as we learn more about siblings and Tabby’s secret.  (you didn’t think I’d actually tell you what that is, right?)  I enjoyed myself in this world and would not hesitate to recommend Tabby’s and Eli’s story to any Romance reader who enjoys a good story, likable characters, interesting developments and the start of a new series.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story.  It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available for the Kindle