You know the best thing about this book? It brought me back to 14 years of age, reading a teen novel about a figure skater… On Thin Ice, or Champion On Ice… I can’t remember the title, but I can remember the pink paperback cover, the worn spine, the old Volvo that almost didn’t get the skater to the rink one morning. I wish I still had that book. In the blink of an eye I would step into that teenage world for 150 pages and love every 1980s minute of it.
I can’t get a hold of that book, but I CAN get the same nostalgic feeling, vicariously through the main character of One Wish. Grace used to be a champion figure skater. She left the drama and the pressure to open up a flower shop in Thunder Point. Where she meets Troy. The teacher who likes to have fun during his time off. Outdoor fun. Athletic fun. Fun with women. Fun with Grace!
One Wish tells more than just the romance between Grace and Troy, though. We see Grace’s struggle with the past, her talent for the florist business, her ambivalence toward her mother, and her friendship with Iris.
I enjoyed the wedding planning, the return of old characters, the Ray-Anne subplot, and the sense of community coming together to support one of their own. Carr put heart into One Wish… And although Troy was occasionally a bit smarmy, most of the novel rang authentic. I shed some messy tears, both happy and sad.
Carr fans, you must read this book. I was SO EXCITED to read a Thunder Point novel that measured up to the Virgin River series – a high standard, indeed.
P.S. I just KNOW that Ray-Anne’s Gingersnap will be a central character in an upcoming Thunder Point novel. I CAN’T WAIT!!!
Well, I thought this was going to be an ordinary light romance, but it was EXTRAORDINARY! Ana is an undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic, but only because her visa ran out when she was a child and her mother passed away. Ethan is a well-loved local doctor (and widower) who needs a Spanish tutor for his teenage son. You can connect the dots that form the romance.
But Serena Bell gives the reader even more of a story… the story of Ana’s family, their efforts, their fears, their love for one another. I cried my eyes out at Ana’s plight: trying to achieve and succeed while flying under the radar in a country that didn’t know she existed. Ana’s brother and sister were her whole world, and they sometimes had to give up personal wants and values for the good of the whole family.
The other moms in the community were surprising but necessary characters. They tried to befriend Ana, help her, and make her feel better. But no rich white woman had been in her shoes. They didn’t feel the fear of getting caught that Ana lived with daily. They were awkward and ignorant, even if they meant well.
I absolutely enjoyed the love story in Yours to Keep. Ana and Ethan overcame personal challenges and came to a meeting of the hearts and minds. What really pulled at my heart strings though was Ana’s illegal immigrant status and her determination to succeed despite it. The adorable-but-typical teenager was a heart-tugger, too. And watching his talented dad (He cooks! He cleans! He saves lives!) fall in love was very romantic.