Gabe Bonner wants to be left alone, especially by the beautiful outcast who's invaded his property. She has a ton of attitude, a talent for trouble, and a child who brings back bad memories. Yet Rachel's feisty spirit might just be heaven-sent to save a tough, stubborn man.
Welcome to Salvation, North Carolina—where a man who's forgotten what tenderness means meets a woman with nothing to lose. here two endearing lovers will set off on a funny, touching journey of the heart... to a place where dreams just might come true.
Comment: In keeping up with my read a long of this Chicago Stars series, this month it was time for this book. I've read some opinions about it here and there and I admit it I was curious to know what all the talk was about.
This is Rachel's story and how she returns to a town that hates her and what she represents. But she needs to be back and she's desperate for a job and a way to provide for her five year old son. She's going to do anything, even getting as low as can.
Gabe Bonner is a man afraid of his feelings since his wife and small boy died in a car accident. He's been mourning since then and is now opening a Drive In just to be busy but his heart isn't in it. At first he wants to send Rachel away, he doesn't want her around but circumstances and Rachel make it impossible to put her aside. Can they heal each other together?
The thing I loved the most about this book was Rachel's character. I was just blown away by her necessity of providing for her son, by her honor and despair in a time where she couldn't be choosy, by her strength and even confidence in a moment where I'd stick with humiliation and shame. Those who read must know which scene I'm talking about. I was sold on her right then and there.
The book explores the relationship of Rachel and Gabe, both have had some challenging experiences in their pasts but Rachel shone because the author managed to give her a certain sense of humanity many characters in the same situations in countless books I've read didn't seem to have, which can only be attributed to author's talent and detail in creating Rachel like this. She went through so much but she never lost her ways and th things we could fault her for were based on a believable element. I liked her from beginning to end.
Gabriel has had a lot to deal with and he doesn't behave as well as I expected, mourning included, especially towards Rachel at the beginning. But he had to come to terms to his new reality and Rachel never pushed too much, things between them went a certain path I think was necessary for bot of them to go to a new place in their lives.
Gabriel's sadness was hard to get over and I think the author also did a good job in shaping up his emotions and the grief stages anyone must go though when leaving the mourning period to reach a bit happiness again.
The romance was center stage and I think it was well done.
There's also a secondary romance which I'd have appreciated more if the couple could have had their own time and story. Not that it was bad, but it seemed badly explained and constructed.
The plot is simple but full of complex emotions involved and if one stops to think about the characters as possible real people then who knows how much more emotional it could be?
The final scenes of the plot - not the epilogue - were done well enough, and I think some of th issues about the plot's development were well taken care of. The epilogue is sweet and shows camaraderie and happiness and a wonderful HEA for everyone we cared for in the book.
I really appreciated that the characters leaned lessons, stopped being judgmental and tried to understand what it meant for the others to go through their problems and difficulties. There were some parts where I wasn't as motivated to read, but overall, the book captivated me from beginning to end.
Like I said, Rachel is a winning character and I wish more heroines like her, in terms of personality and behavior, would show up in contemporary romances.