Series: Thunder Point #1
Published by Harlequin MIRA on March 26, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Also in this series: The Newcomer, The Hero, The Chance, The Promise, The Homecoming, One Wish, A New Hope, Wildest Dreams
Also by this author: My Kind of Christmas, The Newcomer, The Hero, The Chance, The Promise, The Homecoming, 'Tis the Season, One Wish, Never Too Late, A New Hope, Wildest Dreams, What We Find, The Life She Wants
Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands.
Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.
With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.
Robyn Carr’s new series is off to a strong start with The Wanderer. I really like the setting, a small town called Thunder Point, situated on the Oregon Coast. It’s somewhat larger than Virgin River, but shares some similarities – it’s a working town, with a strong sense of community and a smattering of small businesses anchoring the main street. Actually, it reminds me more of JoAnn Ross’s Shelter Bay than of Virgin River, including the small restaurants, commercial fishermen, and the importance of the high school football team. There is plenty of scope for future stories set in Thunder Bay, though we only meet a few of the town’s residents in the first book.
Hank Cooper is a typical Carr hero: a veteran with a streak of honor a mile wide, a sense of “what’s right” to match, and a chiseled physique. “Typical” doesn’t mean cookie-cutter identical; Cooper is different enough from other Carr heroes to be his own person. I liked Cooper’s willingness to step in to protect and mentor young Landon, the new kid in town, who is being bullied, and also his need to figure out what his friend Ben wanted Cooper to do with the inheritance Ben left him.
I really liked Sarah as well. She’s a delightful blend of strength and vulnerability, strength and fear. Her protectiveness toward her brother and the strong bond of affection between them are evident. So is the chemistry between Sarah and Cooper, once they actually meet. I was a little surprised that Carr didn’t make more of the fact that both Cooper and Sarah are helicopter pilots, though. I kept waiting something to happen that would need Cooper’s experience or require them to work together, but it never did.
Some reviewers have commented that the romance takes a long time to get off the ground, and they’re right. Cooper and Sarah don’t even meet until well into the book, which meant there wasn’t as much time spent on their developing relationship as you usually get in a romance novel. That didn’t bother me as much as it could have, since what was going on during those pages was interesting and served to set up the series. It may be best to think of The Wandereras fiction-with-a-romance, rather than a romance novel per se. In fact, it’s really fiction-with-two-romances, or even four: in addition to Cooper and Sarah, there are Mac, the deputy sheriff, and his best friend and fellow single parent Gina; Mac’s Aunt Lou and her secret beau; and a charming romance between Landon and Mac’s 16-year-old daughter Eve. This, again, is typical of Carr’s small-town series fiction, though often the secondary or additional romantic couples starred in their own books earlier.
Romance isn’t all that goes on in The Wanderer; in addition to the bullying subplot, there is a mystery surrounding Ben’s death. I was a little disappointed that the mystery was not that well developed before it was solved; I felt that if Carr was going to include it at all, it ought to have more weight in the overall storyline. But that may just be because I love mysteries.
Regardless of that small complaint, I’m definitely looking forward to the next books in this series! Nothing can replace Virgin River in my heart, but Thunder Point could become another small town I love to visit.
* * *
The Thunder Point series in order:
- The Wanderer (review)
- The Newcomer (review)
- The Hero (review)
- The Chance (review)
- The Promise (review)
- The Homecoming (review)
- One Wish (review)
- A New Hope (forthcoming)
- Wildest Dreams (forthcoming)