Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Thunder Point #8
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Date Released: June 30, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
After losing her child, Ginger Dysart was lost in grief. But since moving to Thunder Point, a small town on the Oregon coast, and with the help of her cousin Ray Anne, Ginger is finally moving forward. Her job at the flower shop is peaceful and fulfilling, and she’s excited to start her first big assignment, assisting with the Lacoumette wedding.
In spite of her lasting heartache, Ginger finds herself swept up in the pleasure of the occasion. But the beauty of the Lacoumette farm and the joy of the gregarious family are ruined by an unfortunate encounter with the bride’s brother, Matt. Struggling with painful memories of his own recent divorce, Matt makes a drunken spectacle of himself and Ginger when he tries to make a pass at her, forcing Ginger to flee the scene in embarrassment.
But when Matt shows up at the flower shop determined to make amends, what started out as a humiliating first meeting blossoms into something much deeper than either of them expected. Discovering they have a lot in common, they form a solid friendship, though everyone around them worries that Ginger will end up with a broken heart yet again. But if Ginger has the courage to embrace the future, and if Matt can finally learn to let go of the past, there may still be hope for a happy ending.
Welcome back to Thunder Point Oregon, where everyone gets a second chance at love, and at finding their own happily ever after. It’s a place where you make your family out of your friends as well as whoever you were born to, and where if you don’t have enough strength on your own to see you through there is always someone willing to pay someone else in town forwards by helping you out.
This is a place that I would love to visit.
A New Hope is kind of a continuation of One Wish (reviewed here). In One Wish, Grace Dillon and Troy Headly find that they are perfect for each other, even if they couldn’t possibly come from different starting places. But at the end of the story, while Grace and Troy are ready to get married, Grace is also dealing with the news that her domineering mother has ALS. And Grace is pregnant.
So a big chunk of the story in A New Hope is the finishing up of that story. Much of the action revolves around Grace and Troy’s wedding, and their need to get a house ready for Grace’s increasingly infirm mother. Everyone in town pitches in to finish the house, get Winnie settled, and get everyone in town for a beach wedding before Grace is too pregnant to fit into her wedding dress.
But the very beginning is at Peyton’s wedding to Scott, after their story in The Promise (reviewed here). It’s a big wedding on Peyton’s family’s farm, and the Lacoumettes invited everyone in their vast extended family, and everyone in Thunder Point, to the celebration.
Two people aren’t really celebrating. Matt Lacoumette, Peyton’s brother, is drunk and belligerent. His failed marriage started in a wedding just like Peyton’s, less than two years ago. He’s divorced and bitter and not sure where to go with his life. He’s angry with his ex, and doesn’t want to fail again.
Ginger Dysart is finally recovering from the end of her own marriage and the death of her infant son to SIDS. It’s been a long road back from gripping depression for Ginger, and she’s only at the wedding to help her boss Grace with the flowers.
Grieving Ginger and Mad Matt collide. Matt is drunk and grabby, and Ginger clocks him one. He hits the deck, and from that very inauspicious beginning, the start of a beautiful friendship is surprisingly born.
They find that they can share anything with each other, because they’ve both been wounded in the same way. Someone they thought they loved failed them, and they failed themselves.
Out of that healing, they find love. But where Ginger has been able to let her selfish ex go, Matt seems to be unable to forgive himself for things that are too painful to reveal. He can’t let himself grieve and move on, because he can’t let himself confess that he has something to grieve for.
Matt and Ginger are more alike than they ever knew. But they can’t build a future together if Matt keeps dragging the past behind them both.
Escape Rating B+: As much as I love this series, I think we’ve reached the point where player needs to meet scorecard. This is a series about a small, tight-knit community, and everyone is involved in everyone else’s business. A lot of the action that isn’t directly part of Matt and Ginger’s romance takes place at Cooper’s beach bar and grill. Cooper’s story started the whole series off in The Wanderer (reviewed here) and that is going back a ways.
Also, the characters in this entry, and the rest of the series, are usually introduced a book (or two, or three) before they get their romance. We get to know them first, and why they deserve to get that second chance at happiness. Everyone is related to everyone else, and everyone helps everyone else out. It makes Thunder Point feel like a wonderful town. But the relationships are getting beautifully dense for those of us who have followed the series from the beginning.
It’s impossible not to like Ginger. Although her ability to forgive her ex seems like it’s a bit too good to be true, once we see the whole picture, it does make sense. And she was in such a deep well of depression when she showed up at Ray Anne’s doorstep in One Wish. She’s had her heartbreak, and with her aunt’s help and a lot of her own pluck she has emerged older, sadder and wiser. Wise enough to let herself fall in love again without letting herself get stuck in her old pattern of waiting on tenterhooks for scraps of affection.
At first, Matt seems like an irredeemable jerk. He gets better. He has also learned from his mistakes, he just hasn’t grieved them yet and gotten them out of his system, so he occasionally gets mad at Ginger for stuff that has nothing to do with her and everything to do with the reasons his first marriage failed. She calls him on his crap and makes him clean it up before she’s willing to make things permanent.
This time, it looks like Ginger and Matt are finally going to marry the right people. They just have to work for it a bit first.
As is usual for this series, while we are enjoying Matt and Ginger’s romance, we are also introduced to the people who will be featured in the next book, Wildest Dreams. I can’t wait to see how this one is going to turn out!
I’m giving away a copy of A New Hope to one lucky U.S. winner!