Reviewed by Helyce
As a fan of Robyn Carr’s writing, I have a hard time turning down anything she’s written. I haven’t read many of her singles, but what I have read I have really enjoyed. While I love her long running series, I have to say that she is also quite brilliant in giving a complete and totally well rounded story in a stand-alone book as well.
In Never Too Late, the focus is on Claire Wilson following her life-altering accident; but we also get two bonus side stories involving her older sister Maggie and her younger sister Sarah. In here, Ms. Carr weaves a beautiful story of sisters who are all at a stage where they realize something is missing and they need to take drastic action. Claire’s accident is not only a catalyst for some major life decisions that she makes; it also has a domino effect of nudging her sisters into making changes as well.
I enjoyed Claire. Having finally decided to leave her husband for good, the horrific accident she has kind of stops the forward momentum she’s been in with all her decisions. Forced to stop in order to heal, she has a lot of time on her hands to think and plan and she is very clear on what she wants but more importantly, what she does not want. We watch Claire fight through physical therapy in the weeks following her accident and emerge much stronger in both body and mind. Claire is surprised to find that the officer who had been at her accident is interested in her, romantically. Younger by several years, Claire is flattered if a little disbelieving at his attention. Unfortunately, Sam doesn’t really do it for Claire and she has to break his heart a little bit and let him go. But Claire is not alone for long. When she finds a job at the local high school she’s put back into contact with a man who was once a very dear friend to her, Pete Rayburn. Claire had dated and been engaged to Pete’s older brother Mike. Pete and Claire had always been close, but an incident while they were in college had them drifting apart. When Mike died in a plane crash just before their wedding, Pete and Claire fell out of touch. Claire realizes that she has the opportunity now to mend their friendship. What she finds when she reunites with Pete is so much more than she could have imagined.
Maggie, the oldest of the three sisters is married to a wonderful man and has two beautiful teenaged daughters. Maggie is a lawyer and her take charge attitude goes a long way to help Claire after her accident. But as Claire heals and begins to find love again, Maggie realizes that something is not quite right in her own marriage. She loves her husband, and he loves her–but their intimacy level is at an all time low; actually it’s non-existent. They’ve fallen into such a routine of work and children they’ve lost that spark. I loved how Carr explored this storyline with Maggie and Bob because it felt so realistic and was something that I’d guess many women can relate to. Women always think it’s them, or something to do with them. They must be doing something wrong, or they are not attractive anymore. Experiencing Maggie and Bob’s journey to finding that spark again was a highlight in this story for me.
Lastly, we have Sarah, the youngest sister. Sarah is an artist. When Sarah lost her mother in high school, she spiraled down into depression and the outgoing and full-of-life teenager disappeared. It was in therapy that she found her artistic side and used it to bring herself back into the light. She does everything from painting and sculpting, to weaving and she’s very good at it. She owns an art store downtown and has a studio in the back where she can work. She often immerses herself in her art–so much so that she loses track of time. But that beautiful bright girl never really came back. Sarah hides herself behind her glasses and unattractive, baggy clothing. She claims that it doesn’t matter what she wears when she’s working, but it’s just an excuse. When Sarah meets Sam Jankowski, however, something changes. At first, she keeps her thoughts to herself, after all, her sister Claire is dating him. But she can’t fight her attraction to him and little by little, we see not only physical but emotional changes in Sarah. I think Sarah was probably the least developed character of the three sisters. I would have liked getting into her head a little more to understand the “why” of the reasons that she kind of went into herself and stayed there. Clearly the death of a parent had a lot to do with it, but to stay in that state for so many years was not explained well. It was fun to see Sarah come out of her shell, but I would have liked to see her wanting to make these changes for herself first–not because she was trying to snag a man.
Ms. Carr gives us a beautiful story of sisterhood and showcases how these three women find love at a time when it’s least expected. For Claire, her story is a second chance with Pete. Someone who at one time meant a lot to her; but who she lost after a mistake and the decision to ignore what could have been. For Maggie, we are treated to a beautiful love story re-born. A couple who love each other but needed to fall in love once again. And for Sarah, who finds love for the first time and in doing so, finally becomes the woman she was always meant to me.
I always feel good after reading a story by Robyn Carr. There’s always something within the storyline I can relate to and it makes the reading experience even more satisfying because of it.