I have at least three books that I am slogging through, that I would love for my new puppy to chew up so I could tell the powers to be – sorry my puppy ate the book. But does she get those? Of course not, she picks Carolina Home. Luckily for me I read it before she got hold of it because it’s a truly enjoyable book and not one I wanted to lose.
Having a hero take sixteen years to get over a failed marriage is not one of my favorite plot devices but in the right hands even the least liked scenarios can work. And this book definitely worked for me.
Matt Fletcher’s college education was sidelined by his failed marriage and his wife’s abandonment, which left him with an infant son. He left school to return home for his parent’s help and support. Looking to the sea for a living like his grandfather, he now has his own charter company. His son Joshua is almost grown and in the last sixteen years he has had women in and out of his life- he is no saint-but the women he sleeps with know that there are no promises of a future. He also has a ban on dating island women but his son’s new teacher is tempting him to break his own rule.
Breaking away from her Philadelphia society roots and her parents’ expectations of how she should live her life, Allison finds herself with a career in teaching. After spending two years in the Mississippi Delta trying to make a difference in her student’s lives, Allison is looking for a place that feels more like home and she hopes that Dare Island is that place. Even though she is new in the community and the school year is just starting, it is not in her to ignore the signs of students not living up to their potential. Joshua Fletcher is one of those students and after failing to engage him, she turns to his father Matt for help. Their supposed parent-teacher talk ends with both unable to keep their hands off each other. Dating or getting involved with the father of a student is a like entering a booby-trapped minefield of gossip, innuendos and ethical dilemmas, but there is something about Matt that Allison finds irresistible.
The two conflicts keeping the hero and heroine apart – his inability to believe in love and her youth and social standing- are not favorites of mine, and I had a difficult time identifying with Allison’s family. However, Matt’s family captured my interest in a big way since they are so convincingly drawn – from his taciturn father to his super organized mother, war-weary brother and very driven sister. The story is balanced between the developing love affair between Matt and Allison, and incidents that impact the whole Fletcher family, showcasing the importance of familial bonds.
Matt’s quick turnabout from his former beliefs is a little difficult to accept, but the sexual attraction and chemistry are definitely there. And in the end Ms. Kantra convinced me that Matt only needed the right girl to see the light. No slight feat.
I am always pleased when I am able to recommend a book, especially by a talented author like Virginia Kantra. I definitely will be reading the next books in this series.