Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Catherine Bybee - My Way to You

When a wildfire nearly destroys Parker Sinclair’s family home, it’s just one more disaster to add to her

mountain of stress. For the past two years, she has shouldered the responsibility of raising her younger brother and sister after their parents’ untimely deaths. Forced to leave college for a crappy job that barely pays the bills, Parker manages her family property, which consumes every aspect of her life. Now winter is coming and the forecast isn’t spreading sunshine on the dark cloud over her head. The last thing Parker needs is a mudslide destroying everything she has worked so hard to maintain. Colin Hudson’s job as a public works supervisor is to protect Parker’s property and neighborhood from further damage. But it’s a little hard when the owner of the land is a control freak who tries to do everything herself. The hardworking, attractive young woman is far from the “hot mess” she claims to be. In fact, her tight grip of control is one of the things that attract him the most. It’s also the hardest to crack. Now Colin’s working overtime to help Parker open up her heart, trust him, and let him in. As Parker and Colin work together to keep her home and neighborhood safe, they may be in for another disaster. Or they may just realize that sometimes it takes destruction to create something new.

Comment: I had my eye on this book for some months now. I finally picked and what had made me interested was the fact this would feature a young woman ho had to raise her siblings. I imagined her a little down on her luck but with courage she would manage. I wanted something realist but uplifting. It ended up being a little more than that but I actually liked the book.

In this story we meet Parker Sinclair,, a young woman who is enjoying her life in college, still unsure about which road to take in terms of where she sees her life going when an accident kills her parents. She then leaves college and returns home full time to help take care of her young siblings, still minors. She knows her life won't go as she would want but her need to honor her parents and raise her brother and sister make her see things differently. Their house, though, means a lot of expenses but Parker is trying her best to maintain the home her family has always had. However, fires threaten all she loves and when that is behind them, there's the danger of mudslides after it starts to rain. Thankfully, the public worker supervisor of the job which will be done partially in her property to avoid a future tragedy is there to help her and to show her life can be more than worries...

I had read other books by this author before, all from the same series, and while one was quite good, the others weren't as interesting so I stopped there. This time, I've decided to try this different series because the blurb seemed to be something I could appreciate more and I was hoping I could have a good time reading this novel.

The writing style isn't too different although I admit I barely remember stuff from those other books apart from the theme. However, what I can say is that this book felt like it was written by a more mature person, perhaps not in age, but in writing experience and both the theme and the development felt a lot more thoughtful than the other books I've read. A story about a woman doing what she can while dealing with worries about her house does seem more mature than the challenges of marrying billionaires.

Parker is a young woman but she grew up quite fast when tragedy happened. I still got the sense, throughout the book, that she was unhappy with her fate but at the same time, she stepped in to become a grown up. I think the dichotomy was well done, and all the tension and almost annoyance Parker showed about what she had to do was quite realistic. I did wish she weren't as unsure about what to do in her future, profession-wise, but that was just another factor to add complexity to her. I think she was a little too stressed out and focused on problems, but who wouldn't, in her shoes?

Her love interest, Colin, is a few years older, already established professionally, and I think the balance between them was believable, especially because he had a good family behind and that compensated for the  - in my opinion - lack of chemistry between them romantically. I'll explain: they come from different experiences in life and although to me Parker was still a little naive when it came to what it means to commit to a relationship, Colin's family helped and I could see them work as a couple after the biggest stress in her life (worry about the house) was behind them.

I did wish they could have had a more...I don't know, stage by stage development of their relationship. It wasn't filled with sexual or emotional tension. They acknowledged their interest, it was sweet, there some cute moments, but to me there was no spark, no evidence of what they felt in a way that I'd feel I had to see what happened. The biggest conflict between them came from the fact Parker acted too independently (for believable reasons) and Colin felt she didn't lean on him enough.

I do think the subject was quite well researched by the author. She does include information in the end about the consequences of fires and following rain on the ground in areas like the California setting chosen for this book. The progress of the story is very realistic and with a lot of technical information which can be interesting on one hand, but a little too much on the other. Still, I felt it added maturity and competence to the overall plot.

It might seem I wasn't so keen on the book but I did like it and I was happy with the ways things happened. There are hints about future books (featuring Colin's siblings) and I'll definitely read them in some future month.

Grade: 8/10

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