Reviewed by Helyce
As a fan of Robyn Carr, I find it impossible to say no when offered an arc for a new book. Though this particular series has been hit and miss for me, at this stage with book 9 being released, I’m invested and have formed attachments to the characters and their stories. So I really try to approach each installment with an open mind. Unfortunately, while this story started off well enough, the heroine quickly got on my last nerve and while I understood her circumstances and reasons for some of her actions, when her son suffers a severe asthma attack running away from drug dealers in their neighborhood and she refuses to accept the help offered, I lost a little bit of respect for her.
We met Lin Su and her son Charlie in a previous book when Lin Su is hired on to help Winnie who is suffering from ALS. She starts her job during the summer and when Winnie learns that she has a teenaged son who is stuck home all day, she encourages Lin Su to bring him to town when she comes to work. There are other teenagers that hang on the beach and Charlie can make friends. Charlie is a very bright young man who is never far from his laptop because he loves to research anything and everything. Winnie takes an immediate shine to him, as do members of her family and Charlie is in heaven, meeting people, making new friends.
Charlie has suffered from asthma related illnesses since he was a baby. Lin Su, a single mother, moved to the Oregon area because of the climate and has made a home for her and her son. Money is tight, but Charlie is the most important thing to Lin Su and this new job, taking care of Winnie, is a godsend as she now has health insurance coverage. Lin Su is very protective of her son. She has reason to be; he’s had some big health scares in his life–but under the watchful eye of the local doctor, Charlie seems to be doing just fine. He is mindful of his activity, always has his epipen and inhaler on hand and is now old enough to manage himself.
Blake Smiley is new to Thunder Point and moves into the beach front home right next to Winnie. A professional triathlete, he moves to Thunder Point because he felt the area and climate was best suited to his training needs. He and his new neighbors hit it off right away, especially Charlie who is super impressed with Blake’s accomplishments. He befriends Blake and his interest in being more active takes hold. Understandably, Lin Sue is concerned. She doesn’t want Charlie to over do it and bring on an attack. When Blake tells her that there are many athletes who suffer from asthma but still manage to do all manner of sports, she doesn’t want to hear it. She alone knows what is best for Charlie and no one will dissuade her opinion.
The author gives subtle hints right away that there is an attraction between Lin Su and Blake. But Lin Su has no plans to allow herself to fall for Blake. Her animosity toward him keeps Blake at arm’s length even as Blake gets closer to Charlie and the people of the town. I found Lin Su to be cold and as I continued reading I just didn’t like her. Stubborn and unwilling to hear anyone besides the voice inside her head, I couldn’t get past her “know it all” attitude. I felt her 100% responsible for what happened to Charlie early in the book. While she couldn’t have known what would happen, it would have been avoided if she wasn’t trying so hard to keep Charlie and Blake apart. Even after this scare, she continued to do anything and everything she could to keep Charlie in his safe little bubble.
I can understand a mother being overprotective of a child, especially one who has health issues. But when his own doctor encourages you to seek advice on an exercise routine that would be beneficial to your child, you trust the doctor and do it because in the end your child will benefit. In this instance, my dislike of Lin Su expanded because while she claimed to be thinking of her son, she was making the decision because of how it would affect her.
In spite of all this, Blake and Lin Su belatedly find some common ground and begin a lovely relationship that quickly turns physical. But Lin Su does not have confidence in Blake’s feelings for her and she is constantly waiting for the shit to hit the fan so that everything will fall apart just like she’d expected. And almost as if she’d willed it, something happens to prove her right.
There is a secondary story involving Charlie in the background where he’s researching his roots. He knows his mother was adopted by a wealthy family on the east coast, but Lin Su will not give him any details claiming the less he knows the better. But Charlie continues to research knowing it is against his mother’s wishes. He confides in Blake who encourages Charlie to talk to his mom. I saw where this was going from the get-go and it just aided in my further dislike of Lin Su.
Young Charlie is a hero in this instance as he finds some courage to stand up to his mother in a way that is still respectful. He puts his foot down; and I liked seeing the more confident Charlie who had grown in body and spirit in the short time they’d been in Thunder Point.
Following the very predictable conflict, this story wraps up way too fast in my opinion. Lin Su has a miraculous change of heart where all are concerned and issues are resolved must too easily with very little apology by Lin Su. While I enjoyed the updates with secondary characters who I’ve come to love in previous books, this heroine was not a favorite of mine. I look forward to future book, because Robyn Carr is a very gifted writer and as I mentioned above I am invested in this series. There are weddings to come and babies to be born and I look forward to it all.