Saturday, March 28, 2015

Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren

Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren


I’ve been long awaiting for his story. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Let’s begin with the summary:

After a failed dig in Honduras, aspiring archaeologist Casper Christiansen heads home to Minnesota to face his unresolved feelings for Raina Beaumont, the woman of his dreams. But when he arrives unannounced on her doorstep, he receives the shock of a lifetime: Raina is pregnant with someone else’s baby.

Heartbroken, especially when he discovers the identity of the baby’s father, Casper tables his dreams and determines to be dependable for once, helping his older brother, Darek, prepare the family resort for its grand reopening. Casper longs to be the hero of at least one family story, but a never-ending Deep Haven winter and costly repairs threaten their efforts—and the future of the resort.

Worse, one of Casper’s new jobs constantly brings him into contact with Raina, whom he can’t seem to forget. A tentative friendship begins to heal fresh wounds, but can they possibly overcome past mistakes and current choices to discover a future together?

And now, my review:

Casper is a middle child. The characterization was so well written, I wondered if Susan was a middle child. I saw that she mentioned in the acknowledgements about her own middle child. Casper feels overlooked and aspires to an unusual job with a potentially high payoff—both in terms of what he might discover, but also in terms of profile. He’s a treasure hunter. Susan uses this as clever symbolism since he finds treasure in our heroine.

Raina doesn’t believe she’s worth much, and she makes poor choices to keep confirming that self-assumption. So relatable! I think every reader can relate because we’ve either done that (fulfilled our own self-estimation) or seen others do it, and sometimes to our detriment.This was a wise story element that the author didn't push or preach about. She let us draw our own conclusions and consider our own solutions.

Casper is a sensitive soul. He’s been wounded. His self-perception is that he can’t overcome. So at times in his history, he has run away from the struggles he faces. But for Raina, this time, he’ll stay and pray for her, supporting her at whatever level she'll let him.

These Christiansen novels remind me of Karen Kingsbury’s Baxter family series. The difference, I’ve found, is the layered characterization. Susan’s characters are complex and diverse. She sets a standard of great characterization, which is her trademark.

We care about these fictional people and get to revisit them in each story, without losing touch with the central characters. I also enjoy guessing the subject of the next book. Looking forward to it! We have some story threads to continue...