Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: "The Wanderer" by Robyn Carr

The Wanderer Robyn Carr
Published: March 26, 2013
ISBN: 9780778314479
Genre: Romance
Source: Library (3M Download)

You might enjoy this book if you like: Novels with a small-town feel, romances with more mature characters, "messy" romances

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.

My Thoughts:
I guess I should say that this was my first experience with Robyn Carr.  She came highly recommended, and this series is set in my home state, so I figured it would be a fun read.  While I did enjoy the experience of reading this book, it wasn't quite what I expected.

First of all, it didn't really feel like a romance to me.  This isn't a bad thing, per se.  I just went into this book with a certain expectation--that it would be a formulaic romance--and that just wasn't what it was.  The two main characters, Cooper and Sarah, share the spotlight with others in the town and don't actually meet each other until halfway through the book.  There are actually 3 love stories going on here--Cooper and Sarah, Cooper's friend Mac and Gina, and Sarah's brother and Mac's daughter.  Frankly, it was Mac and Gina's love story, not Cooper and Sarah's, that really held my attention.

The book also started out with a murder, that didn't get quite the attention that I expected as the story progressed.  It was a catalyst for the story, but I felt like it got lost in everything else, only to emerge at the end and conveniently tie things up.

But, one thing I did understand about this book is that this one, the first in a series, is really about world building.  Carr is creating the community of Thunder Point in order to supply several more books.  Because of this, I feel like giving this book a pass on things that would normally turn me off--especially since I did ultimately enjoy reading this and will read further books in the series.

Now, here is the thing that bugged me.  This book is set in Oregon, but I felt like Carr had never actually been here.  A big point of this book is that Cooper inherits a private beach.  Guess what--there are no private beaches in Oregon.  There is a character who goes to "State."  I don't think there is a single person in Oregon who refers to Oregon State University as "State" (it is either Corvallis, OSU, or Oregon State).  The town itself didn't really make any sense.  As the way it is described, it would be a fairly large coastal town--something along the lines of Lincoln City or Newport--but she keeps saying it is a tiny town.  This contradiction kept me from ever really building it in my mind.  Of course, if you've never been to Oregon, you probably would not be bothered by any of these...or if you aren't as nitpicky as I am.

So, this was an interesting start to a series that I think I will like, even though I had some problems with this volume.  I do think I would recommend it to someone looking for a series to start, but I might warn Oregonian readers to suspend their disbelief.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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