A New Hope

A New HopeA New Hope by Robyn Carr
Series: Thunder Point #8
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Mira on June 30, 2015
Pages: 336
Also in this series: Wildest Dreams
Also by this author: Four Friends, Never Too Late, Wildest Dreams, What We Find, Any Day Now

 

Ginger Dysart came to Thunder Point unwillingly, compelled by her mourning and grief-stricken parents to try to make a fresh start in a new location. Her aunt welcomed her with open arms, helping her to find her feet again after a bitter divorce and the unexpected loss of her only child. While she might have found a job she enjoys and made new friends, Ginger is not looking for love again—ever. So when Matt Lacoumette drunkenly hits on her at a friend’s wedding, it’s understandable that Ginger takes offence and knocks him to the floor. It’s also understandable that she’s unimpressed when Matt visits Thunder Point to apologise for his actions. Pushed by her aunt to take Matt up on his offer of dinner, Ginger is suspired to find that Matt isn’t as bad as she initially thought.

Matt has done some embarrassing things since his marriage failed, but attempting to grope a guest at his sister’s wedding is possibly the worst. He barely remembers Ginger, but he’s determined to make amends for his behaviour. His explanation—that the wedding reminded him too much of his own, causing him to drown his sorrows in alcohol—strikes a chord with Ginger, who admits that she’s also recently divorced. Although neither of them wants to dwell on past mistakes, he’s comforted to know that they actually have something in common. Ginger feels like a kindred spirit, and Matt finds himself coming up with reasons to visit his sister in Thunder Point—in spite of her urgings to stay away from Ginger. Ginger, too, is vehement that she isn’t looking for a new relationship. But should they let their failed first marriages get in the way of a new beginning?

While I wasn’t completely hooked on the Thunder Point series to begin with, the last three books have been absolutely outstanding.

 

Ginger was introduced in the last book, One Wish, and I was pleased to discover that I wouldn’t have to wait long for her story to be told. Both her and Matt have very emotional back stories, and although I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading this book, I will warn that it does deal with the issue of child loss through SIDS. If this is an issue that’s close to your heart, this book may be difficult to read. Although I don’t have any personal experience of this subject, I did feel that it was approached very well. As always with Robyn Carr, she gets to the heart of her issues and makes you truly understand the pain her characters have experienced.

On the surface, Ginger’s issues are pretty typical—she married someone she was utterly besotted with, but who wasn’t truly committed to their relationship, and they ended up getting divorced when he refused to be a responsible husband and father. She returned to her parents’ home to raise her child. Ginger’s story gets a lot more complicated when her baby dies unexpectedly in his sleep. At the point at which she arrives in Thunder Point, Ginger has been in mourning for eight months and unable to feel motivated to do anything with her life. At the beginning of A New Hope, she’s found a job she enjoys and made some new friends, but she’s still extremely cautious. She might be comfortable where she is, but that doesn’t mean that she’s ready to risk getting emotionally involved with someone again. And, more importantly, she can’t imagine ever having another child in case she’s forced to go through the pain of losing another baby. Honestly, I don’t think I’d feel any differently if I were in Ginger’s position. She’s a brave woman, and I could understand the barriers she put around herself.

While Ginger’s backstory was introduced in the last book, Matt’s took a while to emerge. We quickly learn that he and his wife got divorced within a year of their marriage, and the explanation that’s given is that their lifestyles couldn’t mesh together—he is a farmer who works farmer’s hours, she’s an aspiring model who wants to party every night. It’s hinted that there’s another reason behind the divorce, but it took a long time to be revealed. I liked Matt, I won’t lie about that. At times I felt like he pursued Ginger a little too hard, especially considering her background and her insistence that she didn’t want to date anyone. I got frustrated with him towards the end of the book, but when his “secret” was finally revealed, it made him a whole lot more sympathetic. I won’t spoil this secret for potential readers, but I appreciated that we got to see how truly broken Matt was by his wife’s deception, and the way in which he worked through it. Unlike Ginger who let her grief take over her life, Matt had bottled his up and turned it into rage.

It was interesting to see the two sides of grief portrayed, and as someone who isn’t a big fan of the macho alpha hero, I definitely enjoyed seeing a guy getting in touch with his emotions.

As individual characters, Ginger and Matt are fantastic. They have dozens of flaws, screwed up backgrounds—ultimately, they’re real people. Although I did feel like Matt was a bit pushy at times, the beginning of their relationship was pretty innocent. As boring as it might seem, they spent a lot of time just talking on the phone, or hanging out on Matt’s family farm. Some of Robyn Carr’s characters leap into bed pretty quickly, so it was a nice change to have such an innocent beginning to their relationship. I do feel a bit torn about how quickly things moved from talking on the phone to being in a relationship. Given how much Ginger insisted she wasn’t ready to date, she changed her mind very quickly. They go from insisting they don’t want to date, to planning their future together in a matter of a couple of months. For other couples in this series, the speed at which the relationship developed might make sense, but I felt that given their background, it was all a bit quick. A bit more hesitancy, or perhaps not having everything tied up neatly in a bow at the end of the book, might have made more sense. (Hint to writers: you don’t need to have your characters planning a wedding by the end of the final chapter, especially if your book is in a series. It’s cool—we’ll still be happy for the hero and heroine).

Maybe it’s just because I loved the last three books so much, but A New Hope didn’t completely wow me.

I did really enjoy it, and I felt that Robyn Carr expertly dealt with some really tough issues, but the romance isn’t one of my favourites in the Thunder Point series. As always, I loved catching up with characters from previous books, and I’m looking forward to Lin Su’s story in Wildest Dreams. Even if I don’t fall in love with every book, I know that Robyn Carr’s stories make fantastic comfort reads, especially on warm summer days.

Disclaimer: This is a mainstream novel and contains scenes of a sexual nature and some profane language.

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