Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sandy James - Saving Grace

Grace Riley is on the run—from her past and from her fears. The victim of a violent rape at the hands
of a rich politician’s son, she must “disappear” to escape his constant attempts to recapture her. Moving from cattle drive to cattle drive as a cook, she avoids her tormentor for nearly twenty years. When she discovers that the brother she gave up for adoption after their mother died in childbirth was orphaned at an early age, she is frantic to verify that he’s safe. She tracks him to a cattle ranch in Montana.
Widower Adam Morgan owns the Twin Springs ranch, but finds himself falling into a life of loneliness. Although he enjoys spending time with his grown daughter and the two men he rescued when they were living on the streets, he longs to meet a woman he can love. Living in the Montana territory where men greatly outnumber women makes finding a new wife difficult. Weary of working cattle, he is ready to make some changes in his life.
Grace falls ill on her journey, but she manages to make it to the Twin Springs ranch where her brother is supposed to be living. Adam takes her in, concerned for her health and the reason she’s searching for one of his adopted sons. Their chemistry is immediate and intense, but can Grace heal from her past of pain and fear? When her secrets are finally revealed, can Adam forgive her deceptions and learn to love again? 

Comment: This is the first book by this author that I tried and it's the first in the Safe Havens trilogy. It has been in my TBR list for a while, I got it sometime ago and this month I added it to my reading list. Reviews are mixed so I tried not to read anything and make my own mind about it. It was an interesting read alright but it had some details I think didn't help the book, which could have helped it to be much better than what it is.

In this book we meet Grace Riley, a woman of 34, sort of, that has been running from a man that ruined her life but still needed his help to find the son she gave up many years ago. She only wants to know how he is and finally meet him so somehow she tracks him down to the Twin Springs ranch, where he used to work. There she meets Adam, the owner, and his daughter Victoria and they help her recover from illness and fatigue.
However, Grace isn't alone, her brother Matthew arrives after her, he's been the one who has always helped to protect her. Together they try to run from the man that caused all their troubles but now they found a place where both can find some happiness. Can they do it?

This story has a lot of elements for us to think about. In a way, it can get confusing because too many things happen for us to pay attention to and, that is also distracting and makes us loose focus on what matters...which, for me, would be Grace and Adam's relationship. 
How interesting to see an historical where the main couple is over 34... I was very interested in seeing the relationship develop but it wasn't as magical as I hoped.

First, they meet when she's obviously in a delicate position, she's sick. I thought this would be the way for them to slowly get to know each other, for Grace to start trusting Adam and while this happened, it was much faster than what I anticipated.
Secondly, Grace doesn't trust men and according to the book, she hasn't been with anyone since the man she's running from raped her and made her need to run in the first place. But then she meets Adam ans suddenly she can't help but liking and wanting to be with him, even if it took some time for that to happen. I can understand love at first sight, but full trust and acceptance?
So, basically they were attracted, took some time before admitting a relationship but it certainly wasn't the emotional and romantic journey I expected.

There's a second romance in here, Adam's daughter Victoria and Grace's brother Matthew have feelings for each other, but they take their time admitting and working on them. But when they do it's so cliché and with moving forward and getting back again repetitively that I think part of this strategy only makes us lose interest.

The villain isn't anything special, he's mostly mean and vain and I still can't understand why he felt he had to go through so much effort to be with Grace...sure he thought, in his twisted mind, that she was like "propriety" for him but when we learn the beginning of their story and why Grace is running, it's actually pretty basic and not up to the sort of behavior he has.
I got the feeling he was just a handy excuse for Grace to have met Adam.

Throughout the story I also got the feeling we should rush and move ahead for what is suppose to happen next. I got the feeling the narrative/writing wasn't focused on the things we were reading but in what we were supposed to look for.
But the reality is the writing isn't very exciting and many scenes seem fake or repetition of things we've seen before because they don't really help us knowing the characters better. I just think the narrative wasn't very appealing. Somehow things are too ordinary for me to consider them special and the characters weren't acting like their personalities' description makes us believe.
I think the book has qualities, it's readable and I finished it well enough but it isn't amazing nor vibrant as I hoped for such an interesting theme and possibilities.

In the end, all ends well for both couples and their friends, their lives move forward quite well... there's a sequel which I plan to read one day but right now it isn't a priority.
The writing just didn't win me over.
Grade: 6/10

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