Blackberry Summer, the first book in RaeAnne Thayne's most recent (and ongoing) series, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stick with it. I just couldn't connect with any of the characters in the book. Thankfully, it was a much different story with Woodrose Mountain, book two in the the Hope's Crossing series. After all, I've loved Thayne's cowboys series, and I so wanted to enjoy her other books.
Synopsis: Evie Blanchard was at the top of her field in the city of angels. But when an emotional year forces her to walk away from her job as a physical therapist, she moves from Los Angeles to Hope's Crossing seeking a quieter life. So the last thing she needs is to get involved with the handsome, arrogant Brodie Thorne and his injured daughter, Taryn.
A self-made man and single dad, Brodie will do anything to get Taryn the rehabilitation she needs
even if it means convincing Evie to move in with them. And despite her vow to keep an emotional distance, Evie can't help but be moved by Taryn's spirit, or Brodie's determination to win her help—and her heart. With laughter, courage and more than a little help from the kindhearted people of Hope's Crossing, Taryn may get the healing she deserves—and Evie and Brodie might just find a love they never knew could exist. — Goodreads
My thoughts: Both books in the Hope's Crossing series have centered around a heartbreaking event, a fatal car accident involving a carful of teenagers. While Blackberry Summer dealt with the initial fall-out from the accident, Woodrose Mountain shows the long-term impact that the tragedy has on the survivors. Perhaps because the second book is somewhat removed from the tragedy, timewise at least, I liked it much more than Blackberry Summer.
RaeAnne Thayne's focus in Woodrose Mountain is clearly the characters, and the book is successful because of that. Everyone in the story is damaged in some way, and the key to their happiness is how they choose to face and cope with their pain. Ultimately, each needs to face his or her demons in order to find a new sense of happiness. The romance between Brodie and Evie was interesting with just the right amount of tension, but the best part of the book was the continuing drama surrounding Charlie Beaumont and Taryn Thorne. Both survived the car accident that killed their friend, and though Charlie was behind the wheel, it's Taryn who must cope with a resulting physical disability. Thayne adds some surprising twists to the story, from the town residents' shunning of Charlie to Taryn's own culpability in the accident.
The town of Hope's Crossing wasn't portrayed in the same cutesy, wholesome way that it was in the first book, and I liked it much better for that. I felt that the residents were portrayed in an unrealistically ideal yet judgmental way in the first book, but Woodrose Mountain didn't have the saccharine quality and was a much better novel for that reason. The book stands alone well, and readers will have no problems deciphering characters or their backstories.
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Length: 352 pages
Other books by RaeAnne Thayne: Blackberry Summer (Hope's Crossing #1), Dancing in the Moonlight
Other reviews of Woodrose Mountain:
The Book Faery Reviews
Reviews by Molly