Wildest Dreams (Robyn Carr)

July 27, 2015 Book Reviews 8 ★★★½

Wildest Dreams (Robyn Carr)Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr
Series: Thunder Point #9
Published by Harlequin MIRA on August 25th 2015
Genres: Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also in this series: The Wanderer, The Newcomer, The Hero, The Chance, The Promise, The Homecoming, One Wish, A New Hope
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, Never Too Late, A New Hope, What We Find, The Life She Wants, Any Day Now

With Thunder Point, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr has created a town where hard work and determination are all it takes to make dreams come true

Blake Smiley searched the country for just the right place to call home. The professional triathlete has traveled the world, but Thunder Point has what he needs to put down the roots he's never had. In the quiet coastal town, he can focus on his training without distractions. Until he meets his new neighbors and everything changes.

Lin Su Simmons and her teenage son, Charlie, are fixtures at Winnie Banks's house as Lin Su nurses Winnie through the realities of ALS. A single mother, Lin Su is proud of taking charge and never showing weakness. But she has her hands full coping with a job, debt and Charlie's health issues. And Charlie is asking questions about his family history—questions she doesn't want to answer.

When Charlie enlists Blake's help to escape his overprotective mother, Lin Su resents the interference in her life. But Blake is certain he can break through her barriers and be the man she and Charlie need. When faced with a terrible situation, Blake comes to the rescue, and Lin Su realizes he just might be the man of her dreams. Together, they recognize that family is who you choose it to be.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Review

I have mixed feelings about Wildest Dreams, the latest book in Robyn Carr’s popular Thunder Point series. In many ways, I enjoyed the book as much as I have the others in the series. But I was uncomfortable with one aspect of the heroine’s character, and that took away a little of the enjoyment – not a lot, but it dimmed it a bit.

I really like Blake, the hero of this novel. He’s a professional triathlete who has overcome childhood poverty and hardship to make it to the elite level of the sport. Along the way, he’s learned a lot people and what motivates them. He’s observant, honorable, self-disciplined, ambitious in his sport but also dedicated to helping kids in need – any kind of need. He’s almost too good to be true, but he has enough small flaws to make him believable.

Lin Su, the heroine, also has poverty and hardship in her past – but also the opposite. What she didn’t have much of as a child was affection, and it shows. She’s a very loving, caring person; you can see it in her fierce, protective love for Charlie and in the way she takes care of Winnie. But at the same time, she’s stubbornly proud and independent as well as very reticent: she is keeping secrets about her past and her family even from Charlie, and about their present situation from everyone else, and she is determined not to ask for or even accept help.

She’s also. . . I don’t want to say she’s too protective of Charlie, because I understand that she had to be when he was younger, given the severity of his asthma. But now that he’s older and not quite as vulnerable, she’s having a hard time lightening up on the protectiveness. I get that, too; I’ve struggled with the same thing, and my daughter didn’t have a chronic illness. She did go through a severe, almost life-threatening one as a child, though. As a parent, it takes a long time to get over that kind of fear – but I think we can all relate to the desire to protect our child from any harm. What bothered me about Lin Su is that she has some serious control issues, in one part of the book in particular. Don’t get me wrong – she’s not abusive in any way, but she can’t stand to have her authority over Charlie flouted by anyone, and that bothered me. He’s fourteen, for heaven’s sake – he’s well on the way to becoming an adult, and he’s not being disrespectful, just holding to his own opinions and friends. I kept thinking that Lin Su needs to be in counseling to deal with her fears and find a healthier way of coming to terms with her past.

It’s interesting that Blake and Lin Su have such different and yet such similar experiences – poverty and abandonment, mainly. It certainly makes Blake more able to understand Lin Su than he might otherwise have been – probably a good thing.

Charlie, Lin Su’s son, is a delight. He’s not perfect; like any teenage boy, he wants to push his boundaries a bit, but on the whole he’s a wonderful, intelligent, and observant young man. I loved watching him blossom and become more confident throughout the book, and even the way he stood up to his mother when something really mattered to him. I also loved the developing friendships in the novel: between new neighbor Blake and Lin Su, the heroine; between Charlie and Blake; between Charlie and Lin Su’s employer and patient, Winnie; and between Winnie and Lin Su. And I adore the relationship between Winnie and Mikhail, her daughter’s former skating coach. Whether it’s romantic or platonic, there’s a very deep love there, and the give-and-take and banter of an old established pair who are very different but still like and respect each other.

I always like finding out what the other residents of Thunder Point are up to – and three couples are up to quite a bit, since they’re all expecting their first child. We see Grace (Winnie’s daughter) and her husband Troy a fair bit, since they live in an apartment in Winnie’s house (One Wish), and we see a little of Peyton Grant and her husband, Scott (The Promise). Given Winnie’s ALS and Charlie’s asthma, we see a fair bit of Scott in his doctor role, as well. Iris and Seth Sileski are the third expectant couple (The Homecoming), and their situation – or at least Iris’s – is complicated by discord between Seth’s parents.

The final resolution of the conflict between Lin Su and Blake (hey, it’s a romance – you knew there would be a confict; that’s not a spoiler!) was heartwarming but also felt too sudden and too easy. But I loved the epilogue; it even made me tear up a little.

There’s no indication on Robyn Carr’s blog of what’s next – will she continue the Thunder Point series or start something new? Either way, I’m there. Carr is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors; her books are autobuys for me. Even when I don’t love every aspect of a story or character, as in this case, I still enjoy her books!

ETA: Carr is starting a new series, Sullivan’s Crossing. The first book comes out in April 2016.

 

Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt #37 – a book with water or the ocean on the cover

three-half-stars

About Robyn Carr

Robyn Carr is the RITA award-winning author of over 40 books. Set in small towns, her Virgin River, Grace Valley and Thunder Point series blend romance and women’s fiction, and often deal sensitively with issues including war-related injuries, PTSD, alcoholism, bullying, rape, and single parenthood. In 2010, she won RT’s Career Achievement Best Author Award for Contemporary Romance.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER Scavenger Hunt - Summer 2015

8 Responses to “Wildest Dreams (Robyn Carr)”

  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    It sounds like I’ll enjoy this one though I suspect I won’t like Lin Su terribly much. It is difficult to allow more freedom as kids grow and I didn’t have any illnesses to deal with with any of mine but control freaks don’t always make the most likable and sometimes in romances likability is more important than truly realistic. I have the first one in this series coming up soon and I’m really excited about it!
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Mini Reviews: London from my Windows and Mandy’s FatherMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I don’t know a lot about asthma, but it looked to me like she had done her research. But I think you, like me, have a TBR list a mile long, so it’s sometimes good to have a reason to let a particular book pass you by!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I like Macomber’s Blossom Street and Inn at Rose Hill series, but I haven’t tried the Cedar Cove books yet. Thanks for the recommendation!