Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review: Always on My Mind, by Susan May Warren

About the book:
After a failed dig in Honduras, aspiring archaeologist Casper Christiansen heads home to Minnesota to face his unresolved feelings for Raina Beaumont, the woman of his dreams. But when he arrives unannounced on her doorstep, he receives the shock of a lifetime: Raina is pregnant with someone else's baby.

Heartbroken, especially when he discovers the identity of the baby's father, Casper tables his dreams and determines to be dependable for once, helping his older brother, Darek, prepare the family resort for its grand reopening. Casper longs to be the hero of at least one family story, but a never-ending Deep Haven winter and costly repairs threaten their efforts -- and the future of the resort.

Worse, one of Casper's new jobs constantly brings him into contact with Raina, whom he can't seem to forget. A tentative friendship begins to heal fresh wounds, but can they possibly overcome past mistakes and current choices to discover a future together?

My thoughts:
I have read several books in the Christiansen Family series of novels, so I was really excited to read about more of the family members. This story is really about unrealized dreams. Casper is disappointed that he didn't find the treasure he sought, while Darek feels unequal to the task of saving the family resort, parenting his child, and being a good husband to his pregnant wife. Of course, both men have a lot to learn about what's important in life. It's also a story about pride. Casper isn't sure he can forgive Raina for her betrayal, while Darek feels less than a man due to his perceived failings as the head of his family. It takes a lot of missteps before they come to find that their definition of success was faulty. I loved seeing how all of the characters in this novel grew emotionally. Raina, especially, had a lot of wounds to heal thanks to a very difficult childhood, during which she blamed herself for the early deaths of her mother and brother. Then she messed up her life again when she became pregnant as the result of a one-night stand and sought stability with a man who attempted to control her. Obviously, the Christiansens are realistic, with the faults and mistakes that all of us carry through life. Ultimately, Always on My Mind is a story of hope, showing us that we can rebound from a difficult past and poor choices to become the person that God intended us to be.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

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