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Thunder Point #4
February 25, 2014
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With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she’ll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge.
Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he’s a man with a dark past, he’s determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered. When Laine and Eric meet, their attraction is obvious to everyone. But while the law enforcement agent and the reformed criminal want to make things work, their differences may run too deep…unless they take a chance on each other and find that deep and mysterious bond that belongs to those who choose love over fear.
Now that I’m on my fourth book in Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series, I have come to a couple of conclusions.
Thunder Point is a really terrific small town, one that I might like to live in. Possibly live in more than visit – it seems like it is not unconscionably far from Portland, or even Seattle, but still has the small-town feel that turns newcomers into friends very easily.
Thunder Point also seems to be the place where second chances finally make it all the way to the finish line, no matter how much has gone wrong in between. Sometimes its a second chance at a first love, and sometimes its a second chance in life. Most of us need one of those sometime in our lives, so that idea has a lot of resonance.
(Bliss County Wyoming, in Linda Lael Miller’s Brides of Bliss County series, seems to be another place of the same lovely type. More on that Thursday)
Back in Thunder Point, Eric and Laine are both people who have come to Thunder Point for a second chance at something. Eric is there for a second chance with the daughter he never knew he had. (The mother of said daughter married the sheriff back in The Newcomer (reviewed here))
Laine was the undercover FBI agent who rescued Devon and her daughter Mercy, and helped shut down the cult in The Hero (reviewed here). Laine is taking some leave from the FBI to recuperate from her gunshot wound and to do some reassessment about what she wants from her life. She’s also on the west coast to get as far away as possible from her father on the east coast. Dad has always disapproved of Laine’s career in the FBI, but on her last visit, he said that she wasn’t saving lives or doing anything important by being an agent, and that he wasn’t interested in watching her get a medal for wasting her life.
If you think there is something wrong with that scenario, you are not alone. Because the other chance that Laine needs is a chance to have a real relationship with her father, before it is too late.
Eric and Laine gravitate towards each other instantly, even though neither of them is looking for a relationship. Eric is working all hours starting a new business in town, and Laine is only planning to be in the area for six months at the most. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, neither of them is the type of person for casual sex. They are both in their 30s, and casual hookups have lost their appeal.
They are the last two people who should ever get together. Laine is an FBI agent, and part of Eric’s past where he never checked up on the possibility that he left his girlfriend pregnant all those years ago included 5 years in prison for a crime committed by his friends. But they had involved parents, and he was wild and on his own. But those 5 years made him examine his life and turn it around before it was too late.
So Eric and Laine walk into this relationship trying not to think about the expiration date until they are both in much too deep to think of walking away. And then a kind of backwards miracle happens.
Laine’s father shows up on her doorstep, with no luggage but an intense desire to straighten out their relationship while he still can. Her father is a doctor, and has been self-medicating for Alzheimer’s for several years. His time to make amends is running out. But as his symptoms increase, Senior not only needs Laine more than ever, but he has finally come to appreciate her.
Laine finally has the relationship with her father that she always wanted, but at a terrible price. He is slipping away, but in order to give him the best care she can, Laine has to go back east and make arrangements that take forever.
Nearly letting her relationship with Eric slip away in her exhaustion and frustration. The rest of her family has to stage an intervention to get her to go back home to see if the man she loves is still waiting for her.
Escape Rating B+: Having read four of the books in this series, it’s starting to feel like one single long and lovely story. Each book flows right into the next, almost seamlessly. And while I think you could pick up the series at almost any point, I can’t imagine why anyone would. Thunder Point is a terrific place and its a joy to spend time there.
That being said, each book does have a defined beginning, middle and end, and the major threads of the single story are pretty much resolved by the end of the book. (The exception to this is the first two books, The Wanderer and The Newcomer. That really is one story.)
In this fourth book, we do get glimpses of people we’ve met in the previous books, especially the ones who helped rescue Liane and Devon’s daughter Mercy at the end of The Hero. They are all important people in Laine’s life, and she feels a lot of gratitude, as well as the experience of shared danger that never goes away.
Because the big problem in this stoy is about Laine’s relationship with her dad, rather than a direct crisis in her relationship with Eric, we see a lot more of Laine than we do Eric, or we spend more time inside her head. She wants her father’s approval, and she feels she has never had it. It’s a gaping wound in her life that she can’t move past. Most of us have difficulty moving past issues with our parents.
Laine didn’t do what was expected, the way that her brother did. So it seemed as if her father gave Pax his conditional approval and benefit of the doubt, where Laine always got an argument. Most parents would be proud of Laine’s job. Most parents would also be scared to death. But with our parents, our logic and theirs tends to go out the window. Dad wanted her safe, and he acted as if the only way to achieve that was to suppress who she was. The way that their relationship gets patched up in the middle of a dreadful crisis was sadly wonderful.
Laine’s dilemma was realistically portrayed. Her father really does need her, and he clings to her. She has the relationship with him that she has always wanted. She is also caught in the mental and emotional trap that the only way to take care of him properly is to do it all herself. Which is unrealistic and exhausting and emotionally draining, but Laine past the point where she couldn’t find a solution through her exhaustion.
This was a bittersweet happy ending that felt emotionally right.
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