Tyler is most intrigued by Carrie Wiggins. Mute, sensitive, lovely, and troubled, Carrie lives with her abusive alcoholic stepfather, Artemis, in the mountains just outside of town. Her gentle nature and the loving care she bestows on injured animals in the woods quickly endear her to Tyler, though they belie the darkness in her life. Can she overcome her tortured past to give voice to her heart?
Comment: This is a book I had almost forgotten in the "ebooks pile" but recently I was having a look at some folders and trying to organize them so this book caught my attention. I added it to this months readings and I was quite motivated, since I've come to enjoy most of the books by the author I've tried so far.
This sweet story focuses on Carrie Wiggins, a mute 18 year old living with her stepfather at Wayne's Crossing, a small city in Pennsylvania. The plot begins when the new doctor, dr Wilkins is asked to help Carrie's dog, Shadow, after the dog had an accident. Despite telling her he is not a doctor of animals, he still cares for the dog until she dies. From this point on, the two of them start to hang in more often together although Carrie can't speak and uses a notebook to express herself.
Tyler Wilkins comes from a good and rich family, his mother has plans for him but Tyler knows medicine and investigation are his dreams, especially after being very sick and surviving. He wants to help the population of Wayne's Crossing but he is particularly interested in Carrie, someone he gets to know and realize how amazing she is in all senses, but she has a secret...
I found this story to be interesting and romantic but yes, it does seem dated in certain moments. Although the setting is historical, the writing style reflects the time when it was written, something other books by the author don't seem to have as evidently. I'm specifically thinking about the misunderstandings which could have been easily solved with a truthful conversation but were spread out as much as possible to enhance the angst side when it wasn't necessary. I know this is to be expected in the older books by the author but (perhaps it's me) here it seemed more obvious.
The plot is very simple, it has some twists, one of them I was not expecting so soon but it promoted interesting situations. When I think in general terms, the story feels simple but of course the author uses more complex human behaviors and responses to make everything look a bit more serious. I also think one or two details towards the end were not very well tided, in particular when it came to the fate of some characters. Maybe the idea was to leave it in the air, maybe those details were not as important but if they were part of the story in key moments, then maybe a more defined end would have been suitable.
Since this is a romance, the relationship between Tyler and Carrie is central stage here. They start as only friends, she looks up to him because he is nice and helpful and to him she looks humble and true, unlike so many other young women who only care about fashion and social gatherings. I liked how they slowly started to look at one another differently but from an innocent kiss to serious conversations it seemed things went a little bit too fast. The fact they fall in love but Tyler has clear goals in his immediate future makes things complicated for both and even more so after a terrible situation happens too. Adding other plot twists to make the situation feel even more dire, things started to look unnecessarily complex in my opinion.
As characters, both protagonists were interesting and I can say I liked them individually. I think some behavior in certain moments was not par to their personalities until that moment but as a rule, I can also say their relationship seemed romantic enough to hide some of the less stellar parts. Towards the end, however, things seemed to be dragging and I would have liked to see a slightly different take on one or two situations I feel were not well done.
The HEA was sweet and hopeful as it should and overall, this was a good romance to be involved with for several hours.