Published by Harlequin MIRA on March 31st 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher through NetGalley
Also by this author: My Kind of Christmas, The Wanderer, The Newcomer, The Hero, The Chance, The Promise, The Homecoming, 'Tis the Season, One Wish, A New Hope, Wildest Dreams, What We Find, The Life She Wants
#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr examines the lives of three sisters as they step beyond the roles of wife, mother, daughter and discover the importance of being a woman first
Clare Wilson is starting over. She's had it with her marriage to a charming serial cheater. Even her own son thinks she's given his father too many chances. With the support of her sisters, Maggie and Sarah, she's ready to move on. Facing her fortieth birthday, Clare is finally feeling the rush of unadulterated freedom.
But when a near-fatal car accident lands Clare in the hospital, her life takes another detour. While recovering, Clare realizes she has the power to choose her life's path. The wonderful younger police officer who witnessed her crash is over the moon for her. A man from her past stirs up long-buried feelings. Even her ex is pining for her. With enthusiasm and a little envy, her sisters watch her bloom.
Together, the sisters encourage each other to seek what they need to be happy. Along the way they all learn that it's never too late to begin again.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
I love Robyn Carr’s contemporary romances, but my relationship with her general-fiction books is a little touchier; some I’ve loved, and a few just didn’t speak to me. Never Too Late falls somewhere in the middle. It’s not strictly a romance for several reasons, but it certainly revolves around romance. I enjoyed it, but I had a few reservations, too.
Well-drawn characters are always one of Carr’s strengths, and Clare is certainly one of those. Married to a serial cheater, she has finally had enough. Her car accident and decision to leave him are linked, but not necessarily in the order you’d think. Clare is a strong, caring person and a good mother – easy to relate to – but she is also carrying a load of guilt and grief for something that happened in her past. I liked her a lot, and cheered for her as she began to carve out a new life for herself.
On the other hand, Sam, the young policeman, is decidedly too good to be true: unspeakably handsome, sensitive, strong, and ready for a long-term relationship. He’s not at all put off that she’s a decade or so older, and he pursues her with a friendly, unthreatening persistence that would make any woman feel appreciated. The problem is, he has no flaws; I’ve never run into a Carr hero this unrealistic before.
Roger, the soon-to-be-ex-husband, is more complex. He’s a serial cheater, and Clare’s done with that. He’s also charming and can be very thoughtful, and he clearly doesn’t want to lose Clare. I didn’t exactly like him, but I can see why Clare married him, and why she stayed as long as she did (which has to do as much with her as with Roger.) I also really appreciated how Clare deals with Roger’s relationship with their teenage son.
As the blurb mentions, there’s also a friend from Clare’s past – the brother of her first love. I wish he had more page time; he really doesn’t show up much until well into the first half of the book. Once he does put in an appearance, we get to know him a bit, and he too is more complex than Sam, though every bit as likable.
A pair of side plots involving oldest sister Maggie, her husband Bob and her girls helped round out that family, Although Clare’s son Jason doesn’t have a lot of page time either, he’s a completely believable teenager and definitely not a stereotype.
The third sister, Sarah, really only comes to the fore toward the last half or third of the book. She has a core of strength that her sisters don’t quite see, but I thought her transformation was a bit sudden. The book changes focus from almost entirely Clare to both sisters to mostly Sarah in a way that made the it feel oddly out of balance. I felt as though it were really two books, Clare’s story and Sarah’s story, and because they intersect so much, they got smooshed together. Books with a multi-character focus seem to work better when interesting things are happening to all or both characters at once, rather than more-or-less sequentially. There’s another rather abrupt change which I can’t discuss without spoilers; you can kind of see it coming but it still felt a little awkward.
Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoyed the book! Carr is good at this sort of thing, and my interest and investment in the characters carried me through the uneven pacing. If you’re familiar with Carr’s work, you’ll find plenty to like in Never Too Late.