Her Hopes and Dreams
Terri Osburn’s Ardent Springs series has covered some difficult subjects in a light contemporary format; however she goes just a little bit darker in the latest release, Her Hopes and Dreams. Spousal abuse, PTSD and even the challenges of single-parenting push the storyline into some less romantic places; but even so this love story of second chances is full of charm.
The book begins with an awkward reunion between new neighbors Carrie Farmer and Noah Winchester. Noah remembers Carrie as a scheming flirt who cheated on her first husband and manipulated his good friend Patch Farmer into an unwanted second marriage. Carrie knows she’s not without sin but she’s more than paid for her mistakes, having had to live with Patch’s abuse right up until his death. It’s Noah’s curiosity about Carrie’s daughter that bridges the divide between them and the pair soon begin bonding over how they’ve both survived traumas to come out on the other side.
There is an overall feeling of realism to the novel, even though it follows a very fast pace towards both characters healing and falling in love. Noah and Carrie are allowed to be flawed, to be angry and to make understandable mistakes over the course of their relationship. People who have lived through traumatic events will sometimes try to justify why they were ever a part of that suffering and both characters perhaps hang onto those feelings a bit too long; however it doesn’t prevent them from trying to hold onto the happiness they find in each other’s arms.
I don’t usually pick up small town romances but I’ve enjoyed each of the Ardent Springs books enough to keep coming back to this plucky little town for all the community and love the characters share.