Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥♥ 

What would it look like if two really sensible people met and fell in love? Also, what if they communicated all there feelings and hopes properly and made sure they avoided gross misunderstanding at every turn in their relationship? 

Well, what would happen is what did happen in Redwood Bend. A nice, sweet romance between two people who fall in love despite not having it All Figured Out in their own lives and who still find a way to make it work. Winner.

He: Ex-movie star, current owner and operator of a small struggling airport

She: A widowed single mother of twin boys who, after suffering through a few tough situations in the last few years, just wants a nice, stable life for her sons.

Conflict: His life is the very definition of unstable, his business is on the brink, he's from a horribly unstable family and was kind of a wild-child super star in his youth - not exactly the best resume for someone she might pick to be with. Also, he doesn't even live in the same state as she does. He even admits (actually, he insists) that he's a terrible bet and that they definitely shouldn't take their fling any further.

What I liked:
1) Both characters were rational, "with-it" folks. I don't have another good word to describe what I mean. I don't mean that they were tweedy and boring. More that they just communicated properly, both were mature and genuinely nice people whose only real trouble was that they seemed all wrong for one another at first glance. 

2) I am a big fan of characters having to overcome a big source of tension before giving in to their Big Love. Often authors will create this weird, contrived source of tension (evil villain, stalkers, crazy exes, Big Misunderstanding) as if readers won't be able to feel any urgency unless there's a crazysauce baddie to overcome. Here though, there is a great deal of tension and all of it feels totally relatable and REAL. It comes from the fact that both H & h need to decide how they want to create their lives and how they can fit the other person into it. Both end up giving something and getting something (wow! like Real Life, mom!) and it's all really nicely done.

What I thought was meh:
1) *Spoiler!* So it was all nipping along nicely, I was feeling some heart strings being played like a fiddle, everything was nice and realistic and then...dum dum dum daaaaaah! The Ruh-roh Baby Plot emerged. How, in this day and age of birth control technology, are there so many ineffective prophylactics out there!!!?? And I thought we left the Ruh-roh Baby Plot behind in the 90s!! I thought it was actually a totally unnecessary lever to pull to create urgency and tension between the characters - there was enough already without this little excursion down 90s Plot Nostalgia Avenue! Anyway, I thought it was dumb, but the book went on fine and in the end we got our little HEA Epilogue with the bouncing mini-me and Happy Family scenario. *End of Spoiler* 

Skeptic's last word: I really liked Robyn Carr's style. It felt natural and easy to read. The plot wasn't really new or anything but sometimes you just want some easy-readin'.

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