The Hero (Thunder Point #3)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Devon McAllister is a woman on the run with her 3yo daughter Mercy. She took an opportunity and ran with it, escaping a situation that had become intolerable. She ends up in Thunder Point, a tiny town on the Oregon coast, relying on the kindness of Rawley, who not only picked up her and Mercy and gave them a lift but also offered them a place to stay.
The people of Thunder Point welcome Devon and her daughter and they don’t ask too many questions, something that makes Devon happy. Although she’s told a few people a little of her situation, enough for them to figure out the rest, she doesn’t want everyone knowing her business. And she’s got to stay quiet and keep a low profile because she doesn’t want to be found either. She sets about getting herself a job in the small town as a receptionist in the newly-opened doctor’s surgery and finds a place for Mercy and herself. Here she begins to see, is a place where she can begin to build a new life for herself and her daughter, a more normal life.
Spencer Lawson has also recently moved to Thunder Point, all the way from Texas. The father of a young boy, the widower has moved north to be closer to Austin’s biological father Hank Cooper, aka Coop, the owner of the bar and grill on the beach. He wants them both to have a hand in raising Austin and so he’s taken the position of coach of the local high school football team. They’re a talented bunch and Spencer knows that he can do a lot with this team. They’re boys relying on good performances for scholarships and Spencer has the time and the know how to get them what they want.
What he didn’t count on was Devon McAllister. Having recently lost his wife to cancer some months back after a very long battle, Spencer wasn’t looking for a relationship. But there’s something about Devon that draws him in and he’s also just what Devon needs too – someone who listens, who is gentle and thoughtful and doesn’t attempt to dominate her thoughts or her actions. But both of them have baggage -and one last terrifying moment connected to Devon’s past- to overcome before they might be able to reach out and grab the happiness that awaits them.
After the perplexity of the second book in this series, The Newcomer, I was a bit apprehensive about reading this one. Fortunately it seems to make a return to the format Robyn Carr is known for – devoting each book to a new couple but giving plenty of the previous couples, all of whom live and work in the small town she has chosen for her location. Although I am enjoying the setting of Thunder Point just as much as I did Virgin River, I have to say that the stories aren’t quite grabbing me as much as they did in her previous series. I also can’t put my finger on why that is – perhaps it’s just that Coop doesn’t carry the responsibility as well as Jack did or maybe it’s just that I find the two different series’ too similar to be able to appreciate Thunder Point on its own merit. I’m not sure what it is really.
This book is a definite improvement on the last book, however. Devon McAllister is running from a situation that she no longer wanted to stay in. Frightened and determined to find a corner of the world where she can’t be found, she ends up being embraced by the community in Thunder Point, most notably Rawley who works at Coop’s bar, Coop, Spencer and Coop’s fiancee Sarah. In them Devon gets support and assistance and most importantly, friendship. She’s lived a somewhat lonely and isolated life – which made her ripe pickings to end up in the situation she then had to flee. What’s interesting is watching Devon change from a woman who jumps at shadows and fears most things to a woman who becomes confident in her own abilities to work and take care of herself and to carve a niche for herself in her new town. There are quite a lot of things that fall into her lap – for instance she is introduced to the new doctor who just happens to require a receptionist and this just happens to be the field Devon worked in before she ended up in ‘the situation’. Also the young doctor is a widower with two small children similar in age to Mercy and it’s easy for his babysitter to just add Mercy to her crew – just like that! As the mother of two small children I can say that it is not ‘just like that’ to add another child to the mix, particularly an unknown one. That is glossed over rather a lot and I do feel for 19yo Gabriella who now finds herself minding 3 children most of the week! Also is the doctor rich? Because in lieu of paying Gabriella for her nannying services, he pays her college tuition instead. That sounds frighteningly expensive – someone is getting the raw end of the deal here but I’m not entirely sure who it is!
The romance between Spencer and Devon is rather sweet – I did wonder when I first heard that this book was about Spencer, if it would seem ‘too soon’ for him. He did just lose his wife four months ago to cancer. But her illness was a long battle (about 4 years I think) and he had plenty of time to prepare himself and to say goodbye to her and the life they shared together. And no one really wants to be alone – if he passed on an opportunity to be happy with Devon because he hadn’t grieved long enough, who knows when another situation where he could find happiness might come along? So in the end that didn’t bother me quite as much as I thought it would. However once again, the title is an odd choice for this book.
The next book sounds like a very interesting pairing – I’m looking forward to that one.
Book #223 of 2013