Monday, February 2, 2015

Always On My Mind by Susan May Warren (Review)

Always On My Mind
by Susan May Warren
Christiansen Family series, Book 4
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available December 2014
Tyndale House
400 pages



About the Book
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?

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My Thoughts
As I've come to expect from Susan May Warren, Always On My Mind is equal parts romantic, poignant, and can't-put-this-down. The Christiansens are one of my favorite families right now in Christian fiction, so I was excited to dive into another story that would allow me to catch up with them again—especially after the cliff-hanger nature of the ending for the sibling stories of When I Fall in Love (the third book in the series).

Casper and Raina were both featured as secondary characters in When I Fall in Love. Casper was so sweet and an all-around good guy. I was really rooting for him and sad at how things seemed to be working out for him with all the conflict between him and his brother. Raina, too, was a girl I instantly liked. Sure, she had a ton of issues and a history of making bad choices, but there was something about her that still made her likeable. To see them get their own story was a treat!

Casper and Raina have both faced challenges since we've seen them. Casper seems to be falling apart a bit, but his return home greets him with one huge, unfortunate surprise as well as support from his family. It was nice to see how he worked so hard to prove himself as trustworthy and not just an adventure-seeker.

Raina is determined to face her new life independently of everyone else, which drove me crazy. So many people wanted to help her and she just wasn't having it. But I sort of understood why she wanted to make it on her own. Her biggest issue was that she didn't believe she deserved anything good. Of course, Casper is determined to show her otherwise!

As far as secondary stories go, Dare is featured in the book. He's starting to fold under the stress of trying to reopen the resort. I think this is one thing that I both like and dislike about this series. It's more realistic to see that characters aren't just left to lead perfect lives once they fall in love, but I hate seeing bad things happen to characters I've come to love! I felt like this story arc added depth and richness to the story, so for all my angst over Dare and Ivy, it was worth it. :)

So many issues are addressed in this book, and I loved the focus on valuing every life. Raina's difficult decision about whether to raise her baby or find an adoptive family is gut-wrenching, but I loved that this was part of the story. I felt like this theme played out with just about every character—our identity and worth is in Christ alone.

Overall, this was a wonderful book. I highly recommend Always On My Mind for readers who enjoy emotional romance stories. Just a suggestion, though, start at the beginning of the series. It will definitely be worth it to catch up! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors. Visit MyBookTherapy.com to learn more. For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at www.susanmaywarren.com

Susan May Warren Online
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2 comments:

  1. Great review, Brooke! As usual, Susan has a great way of telling a story and I'm anticipating Amelia's later this year. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm SO anxious for Amelia's story! The setup at the end of Always On My Mind was perfect. :)

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