The Mighty Quinn
Romance readers often refer to certain books as “comfort reads.” A comfort read is not the same as a Desert Island Keeper. It need not be an exceptionally well-written book. But a comfort read resonates with the reader, it makes her feel good and she finds herself bringing the book out to read, enjoy and take comfort from when she is down and blue or in a reading slump. Recently, I found The Mighty Quinn on the marked-down table at my local used book store. I have found my comfort read.
The Mighty Quinn takes place on a small Pacific island called Paradise. Hana Jamieson is the local (and only) doctor. She was born and grew up on Paradise and loves the place. She is not too thrilled about the tourist hotel going up although she realizes that the island needs jobs and that the developers are not slash and burn types.
One day Hana is called to the local bar to treat a man who has been hurt in a fight. The man is Mike Quinn, a drifter. Mike is a striking-looking man – tall and blond and so handsome he stands out in any crowd, but he is flippant and flirtacious and rubs Hana the wrong way. When he passes out from his injuries, she takes him to her home/clinic to recover and finds out there is more to Mike than the aimless drifter he seemed at first to be.
Mike talks in delirium and Hana finds out that underneath his self-destructive playboy exterior is a man who has suffered a major trauma. They grow closer as he recovers and finally Mike tells Hana that he was a fireman who specialized in heavy rescue operations. He was unable to save a little girl trapped in a building after an earthquake. The little girl died and Mike suffered massive injuries to his leg. He has been left with a paralyzing fear of closed places – he is unable to work at the job he loved. His wandering, fighting, drinking, and promiscous ways are sub-consciously a means to punish himself for his failure to save the little girl.
Mike is powerfully attracted to Hana. She is lovely, kind, and has the nuturing, rescuing personality that he senses may be his salvation. Their love scenes are red-hot passionate and filled with self-discovery as well. They talk to each other and they listen to each other. We often have an author tell us that two characters are soul-mates, but with Hana and Mike, I believed they truly were. They complemented each other wonderfully well. Her strength compensated for his weakness as his did for hers – they made a strong and loving couple.
The external plot of this book (Mike must face down his deepest fears) is nothing special, but it is competently written although somewhat melodramatic. It is the developing relationship between the characters that touched me and turned The Mighty Quinn into something special. When I closed the book, I wanted to keep it near so I could read it again if I was tired or blue and needed to feel good. There is something about a man who is saved by the love of a good woman that gets to me. Add to this, that Mike is wounded, but not a cruel jerk, and Hana is kind and compassionate but not a doormat, and you have my perfect formula for a comfort read.