Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep his town safe and his daughter happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves - suddenly they can't get enough of each other. And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. Mac and Gina know they're meant to be together, but can their newfound love withstand the pressure?
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I liked this audiobook, however the book description was a little misleading. I expected more of a love story between Mac and Gina, along with how they worked their families into a whole. This was not the case. This story is a continuation of Cooper and Sarah's romance and their issues, which might i say was great and excellent to listen to. I felt a lot more invested in them in this story. Having listened to the first in the series I now understand that it is going to be about the community of Thunder Point more than the romance of individual characters. Carr also brought teen love and heartache into this story. I actually cried for Ashley!!! I have children so for this to happen to one would be devastating. I really think Carr nailed it, the emotions, the out of control feelings of an adolescent. I have to add that if you are new to the Thunder Point series?, listen to The Wanderer (book 1) first as you will have a better understanding of the community and what Robyn Carr is trying to achieve in her novels. Lastly, and I know I always say this, but Therese Plummer is my favourite narrator, she is fantastic for this series and anything of hers I have listened to I have thought a better book due to her.
I’ll start and end with a disclaimer. I’m a guy without any significant background reading romance genre books. Related books I read tend to be a bit more “women’s literature:” Sandra Dallas, Jane Smiley, Molly Harper and Willa Cather. (Plus several of Ms. Carr’s, such as Four Friends.) I’ve recently read a new paranormal romance writer, Ava Louise ("Intergalactic Matchmaking Service"), and an established one: Patricia Briggs. Among the men whose romances I read are Charles Martin and Nicholas Sparks. I have no history of reading “bodice rippers” although I’ve read enough bad / poorly written books over the years to know quickly what I won’t like. So, please understand I have a definite, but limited, basis for comparison.
The Newcomer is probably my fifth or sixth Robyn Carr book, more than I’ve listened to by any other Audible author except Molly Harper and Charles Martin. Why do I like her books so much? There is grit and complexity. In The Newcomer several themes – issues – are developed. How to raise children as a single parent (and then find love) is one, a common theme in these genres except … not all of the single parents are women and there are several examples illustrated (not just one) with different skills or lack thereof.
Another, smaller theme, is what happens when a person in a relationship withholds important relationship changing information because (s/he) thinks the other can’t or won’t cope. Again, multiple examples.
Finally, the biggest issue I saw in The Newcomer concerns what happens when one parent (not necessarily married) parts ways with the other because of a child or children … and then what happens when there is contact between that parent and the child(ren) many years later. Once more, we are treated to several examples of ways this might happen, ways the parent with custody of the child(ren) might respond when the missing parent re-emerges, and how children might respond. And ... how does the custodial parent facilitate the reintroduction, or not? Within limits Ms. Carr lets me decide how best such situations might best be handled … realizing there is no one right way that fits all. Again, men are not always the dopes. Although in real life we too often are, I accept.
Sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? Well, I care about characters Ms. Carr creates (a sign of good writing) and enjoy the worlds they live in, worlds that do not require "willing suspension of disbelief" because the little details are off. (Ditto.) Ms. Carr keeps me reading and wanting more. In fact, my biggest problem is limiting the number of her books I buy to less than the number of credits I have available.
What about sex? Well, all these romance words make an appearance: Needy, claimed, hungry and length. And more. I’m not about to tell any woman if there are enough of these for your nighttime reading. I personally skip a few of these scenes (they just aren't quite sufficiently erotic from my male perspective), so perhaps you will find a sufficiency for your taste.
My ending disclaimer: I’m not in the writing or publishing business; I’m a reader. I don’t know Ms. Carr personally. No one asked me to review the book and I did not receive a free copy. In other words, this is just me and my thoughts.