because bibliophiles require refreshment

Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr

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Robyn Carr is an author known for gentle romances set in small towns where people who were broken find wholeness. Wildest Dreams, the latest in her series set in Thunder Point, is no exception. Blake and Lin Su are our couple in this one – but other familiar characters play featured roles as well.

Carr is an author who really creates an entire world. The characters you get to know in past books aren’t just mentioned, they’re key to stories. She seems to create mini-tribes – so this book is tied to about five of the previous books in Thunder Point. I’ve read the whole series, so I recognized everyone and the back stories and the complications. It’s like a chapter in an anthology – another peek at the lives of people I’ve already gotten to know. If this is your first foray into Thunder Point, I’m not sure how welcomed you’ll feel but I think everything will be understandable.

A lot of Carr’s characters come to Thunder Point, or even just to their narrative within this anthology, with loads of baggage. Some come from abusive marriages, some from awful families and one even escaped from a cult! This book is no different. Blake’s past is less than savory, but he’s parlayed it into being a world class Ironman competitor. He’s channeled his broken and and chaotic childhood into focus, discipline and drive. What he’s not sorted is intimacy.

Lin Su and her son Charlie were cast out by her adopted family when Charlie was born. Since then she’s pursued a career in home health care and has excelled at it. This story finds her taking care of Winnie – who readers may remember as Grace’s mother from One Wish – as her ALS progresses. When Blake moves in next to Winnie, he becomes a quasi-mentor to 14-year-old Charlie and his and Lin Su’s relationship blossoms from there.

Here’s what I don’t know – if Carr’s portrayal of Lin Su is accurate or offensive or a combination of both. She often reads like a stereotype of an Amerasian mother (Tiger Mom anyone?) but I’m not conversant enough in South Asian cultures – Lin Su is part Vietnamese – to know if the balance tips correctly here. I’m sure that if it’s not great, it’s out of ignorance on Carr’s part and not malice. I found myself getting so freaking angry at her but I could tell that many of the decisions she was making to close herself off and to not trust were out of Carr’s construction of Lin Su’s cultural self. I am simply not equipped to have this conversation and would be greatly interested in hearing from other bloggers about this matter.

Overall, Carr is a consistent author and this is a lovely, gentle book with a sweet happily ever after that doesn’t tip into saccharine. Enjoy it with tea – iced or hot.

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Further Reading:

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I received a copy of this book from the author’s publicist via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Thanks, Katie!

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