Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

The Wanderer
By Robyn Carr
Book #1 in the Thunder Point series

Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands.

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful. With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

I’m a huge fan of Carr’s Virgin River series and was disappointed to learn it’s on hiatus for now. But, this new series is off to a very good start with The Wanderer.

Hank Cooper (he goes by Cooper in this story) received a strange call that an old Army buddy of his had died and he needed to come to Thunder Point. Cooper is very much a wanderer, not really having settled anywhere for years. He travels with everything he needs, which includes a toy hauler and a Rhino. It was his intention to find out what happened to his friend and continue moving on. Well, that was the plan until he learns he’s the beneficiary of his friend’s sizeable property located right on the ocean.

I really enjoyed this story with its assembly of interesting people in a fairly small community. While Cooper is at the center of the story, there were many others, including two more romances that were major aspects of the book. They are complicated people, some single parents, dealing with ordinary issues associated with parenting, earning a living and finding someone with whom to share their lives. There’s Mac McCain, the town’s deputy sheriff, who became a father at 19 and ended up having to raise his three children on his own, with the help of his aunt, when his wife left him. Then there’s Gina James, Mac’s best friend and a single parent of a beautiful teenaged daughter. She would like more from the relationship with the clueless Mac. Also, Sarah Dupre’s brother Landon (she’s his guardian) is having major bullying issues at school but he doesn’t want her to know or get involved. Sarah’s recovering from a failed marriage and trying to manage a challenging career.

What was curious about the book, though, was that Coop didn’t even really meet Sarah until almost at the mid-way point of the story. Until that time, Mac and Gina, and Coop’s relationship with Landon, dominated the story. I think we’re going to have to approach these books somewhat differently. There’s an intended romantic focus for one couple but the stories will encompass all of their relationships. It worked here, at least for me. There was also a bit of a mystery included in the story, which spiced things up a bit.

There’s a strong sense of community in this town and the residents are good but imperfect people, parents, lovers and friends. It’s got a similar vibe to Virgin River, the one that matters, but it also has a unique identity that captured me immediately. The stories don’t end when the book comes to a close. It’s more like this chapter of the main characters’ lives have reached an end point but the next phase continues. While I’m still pining for Virgin River, I’m also eager to read the next book in this series. I want to know how things turn out for…well, you get the picture. I’m all in with Thunder Point.

(I received an ARC from NetGalley)


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