Lin Su Simmons has raised her fourteen-year-old son alone, without the input of a partner or family, and she’s content to keep it that way. She’s weathered Charlie’s health problems and struggles in finding work and accommodation, but they’re finally in a place that feels stable. Lin Su has acquired a position as a private nurse for an elderly woman who has ALS, and to her surprise, Winnie’s family is eager to spend extra time with Lin Su and Charlie. Given that their home isn’t in the nicest location, she’s happy for Charlie to spend his days hanging out on the beach in Thunder Point, and he seems to be getting on well with the locals. Maybe a little too well with some of them…
Blake Smiley has finally decided to put down roots, and has purchased a home in Thunder Point. A professional triathlete, the location seems perfect for training, as well as resting between competitions. The neighbours are all incredibly welcoming, including a lanky teenage boy who appears to have learned everything there is to know about Blake and his competition history. Seeing that Charlie is still suffering from the effects of his childhood illness, Blake is keen to help him with some light workouts, but Charlie’s mother is adamant that neither of them needs his help. The more Blake gets to know the Simmons family, the more apparent it becomes that Charlie is struggling under his mother’s rules, and determined to break out of her grip and live life his own way. Can Blake get involved without upsetting their relationship, and somehow gain Lin Su’s trust?
It took a while for Thunder Point to feel like a real town, the kind that I would happily move into and enjoy hanging out with the locals, but it’s finally starting to be just as appealing as Virgin River.
I just didn’t connect very well with some of the first characters that were introduced in this series (Sarah and Cooper in particular) but Grace and Troy are possibly my favourite couple so far, which is probably why I enjoyed this book, in spite of its flaws. It was fun to revisit Grace and her mother, Winnie, through the eyes of Lin Su and Charlie.
I felt like this book properly encapsulated the modern family—it doesn’t have to be full of people related by blood, or even those who have known each other for decades. This family included a recently married couple with a baby on the way, a previously estranged mother, an old Russian ice-skating coach, and a nurse and her teenage son. Throw Blake Smiley into the mix, and this makes it a family I’d definitely like to spend time with. None of them are perfect or without flaws, but together they provide a wonderful support network that can weather any storm. This is the feeling I had about the crowd at Jack’s Bar in Virgin River, and while Robyn Carr tried to replicate this atmosphere at Cooper’s in Thunder Point, she’s captured it way more accurately through the people who hang out at Grace’s house. Robyn Carr, if you’re reading this, we want to see more of Grace’s family in future books!
Charlie is by far my favourite character in this book. I adored his friendship with Winnie, and it didn’t feel at all weird that he befriended an elderly woman.
Having spent most of his life sick and unable to participate in typical fun childhood activities, he understands Winnie’s failing health and finds activities for her to engage in. It was cute that they were constantly researching things on the internet together and learning about new subjects. People are always complaining about how technology is ruining out lives, but technology ends up connecting Winnie and Charlie and furthering their education. I don’t see anything wrong with that! While I didn’t really connect with Charlie’s desire to train with Blake (not exactly an athlete over here, although I do a lot of walking while babywearing, which definitely counts as a workout!) I enjoyed the sections about his search for his mother’s family, and his struggle to understand why she’d hidden so much of their family history for him. Since a lot of the characters in Robyn Carr’s novels have massive extended families living close by, I appreciated that she featured someone from the opposite end of the spectrum.
I haven’t said anything about the romance yet, and mostly that’s because the romance takes a long time to develop. Personally, I didn’t mind that—I enjoyed reading about Charlie and catching up with Grace’s family. I don’t just read Robyn Carr’s novels for the romance, and I always appreciate the sub-plots, especially when they involve teenagers or my favourite recurring characters.
While I appreciated Lin Su’s trust issues and her battle to overcome them, her relationship with Blake just wasn’t all that interesting.
He doesn’t really have any hurdles to overcome, and mostly just waits for Lin Su to come to him. Maybe if Blake had had more struggles I would have appreciated their story more, but as it is, their relationship develops very slowly (not always a bad thing) and then blows up in the last few chapters, only to have everything resolved ridiculously fast right at the end. And I mean everything—not just the romance between Blake and Lin Su, but also Lin Su’s past family troubles. Seriously, I love a Happily Ever After like every romance reader, but this was a bit much, especially given how hesitant Lin Su had been about Blake. Personally, I would rather have seen some of those scenes crop up in a future book.
Wildest Dreams isn’t the strongest novel in the Thunder Point series, but it has some fantastic moments, and Charlie is definitely one of my favourite characters. After a rough start I’m thoroughly enjoying this series, and eagerly anticipating where Robyn Carr takes these characters next.
Disclaimer: This is a general market novel and contains scenes of a sexual nature and occasional swearing.