All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Newcomer – Robyn Carr

on July 4, 2013

NewcomerThe Newcomer (Thunder Point #2)
Robyn Carr
Harlequin MIRA
2013, 368p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Single parents Gina James and Deputy Sheriff “Mac” MacCain have waited a long time before taking that first step to finding happiness with each other. Both became parents very young and while Gina only has her daughter Ashley, Mac has three children to raise. For years the two of them have maintained the just friends line, not wanting to upset the delicate dynamics of friendship between their two families. But recently there’s no denying that they want to become more. Much, much more.

Finding alone time can be a problem when there are always kids and other relatives kicking around. They’ve been taking it slow but the idea of merging their families is becoming more attractive but before they can get there, Mac’s wife, who hasn’t been seen in 10 years or heard from in over five, sweeps back into town looking to reconnect with her family. Gina is immediately put on the backfoot by the glamorous Cee Jay, who could threaten her fragile new relationship.

Cooper and Sarah are another couple that’ve found happiness together in Thunder Point. Cooper was originally just passing through but now he’s decided to stay and make a go of it with the bar he inherited and has completely redone. They’re taking it slow too but lately Sarah has become distant and preoccupied and Coop’s not sure what is up but he’s wondering if it’s something to do with the ex-husband that made her so reluctant to get involved with him but Cooper is then distracted by a bombshell.

Gina’s teenage daughter Ashley thought that she had the most perfect boyfriend but she’s about to get a nasty shock when the baseball star throws her over for an older girl at his college. At such a young age, Ashley is going to learn how much your first love can break your heart and she’s never needed her mother more than now.

The Newcomer is the second novel in Robyn Carr’s new Thunder Point series and I have to admit, it was different to what I expected. I’m used to the previous novel introducing the new couple and although other people and story lines make an appearance, most books tend to focus on the one core couple and their issues getting together and finding their happy ever after. This book doesn’t do that. Equal amounts of time seem to be devoted to Gina, Mac and their desire to be together in a more permanent way and what that might mean for their families and the fact that Mac’s long lost ex-wife has shown up, Coop and Sarah and their fledgling new relationship and also teenage dramas for Ashley, Gina’s daughter. I’m not entirely sure that this new format worked for me because the book seemed to lack some direction and focus. It wandered aimlessly around Thunder Point, dropping in on people here and there, mostly reiterating stuff we already know from the first novel, The Wanderer.

To be honest, I didn’t really find Mac and Gina’s drama all that big. They are two single parents who are thinking about how their actions might impact on other members in their families before they do something. That’s fair enough and it’s great that they’re talking about it and that they’re considerate. But the solutions are rather obvious and I’m not sure why we have to read the same conversation a couple of times before they take the plunge and agree it can be done and they can see themselves married. They’re lucky in that their two teenage daughters are best friends and get along fabulously and that Mac’s daughter adores Gina and vice versa. Mac’s other two children are also very familiar with Gina and like her a lot, which is a huge amount of drama out of the way when it comes to blending families. Although the arrival of Mac’s ex-wife promises drama, none of it actually eventuates because Mac long ago stopped feeling anything for Cee Jay and her motives were pretty easily discovered to be dubious.

Cooper was a man who had never put down roots before arriving in Thunder Point and he’s shocked to find out that he now has even more of a reason to stay in one place. This story line was rather a surprise to me but it all went so smoothly that it probably could’ve been dealt with in less page space or even possibly incorporated into his own book. I was surprised to find Cooper and Sarah such a strong part in this book still (and it looks like this might continue into the 3rd novel as well). It’s not that I don’t like them, I do, it’s just that I did expect the story to have mostly moved on from them and them to play a more background role. Will have to see what happens as the series progresses.

The teenage drama with Ashley felt like a current issue (cyber-bullying) that Carr wanted to explore in some way and although it was well done, it seemed overly dramatic at the beginning and resolved very easily in the end. I expect that Ashley will return later on in a future novel where her story will be further resolved probably when she’s older and has been to college, etc.

Although I did like this book, it really felt like I was reading The Wanderer Pt2 rather than a new novel. The title also confused me – I’m not sure who it’s referring to and it really did seem to fit with the story inside. I will read the next novel, The Hero which is out in a couple of months but I do hope that it’s a little more focused than I found this one to be.

6/10

Book #167 of 2013

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2 responses to “The Newcomer – Robyn Carr

  1. I’m reluctant to read this series.

    I’ve been hearing quite a bit of buzz about it on the book blogs recently, but I don’t like the idea of the lack of direction and focus these books seem to suffer from. Perhaps I’m simply used to a certain format in my romance novels, and admittedly I’m not the best when it comes to dealing with change (I know what I like, and I like what I know), but I typically like each book in a romance series to focus almost exclusively on a single couple. While I obviously welcome additional side characters and potential romances that will be explored at a later date, the idea of this novel focusing on such a large number of storylines at once is a little off-putting.

    On the plus side, as least this is one less series that I feel compelled to read 😛 My TBR list can always use a little break!

    • Have you read Carr’s Virgin River series? It’s a long series (this one very loosely spun off from it) but most books focus on a particular couple, but previous couples do pop in and out of books because it’s set in a small town. I really enjoyed most of them (a few were misses) so I think that’s why I was surprised when this one felt so different.

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