This is my second book by Robyn Carr and my second in the Thunder Point series of books, based in a fictional small town in Oregon. Being a northwest gal myself, I've enjoyed these books set in the Pacific Northwest.
In The Chance, we meet Laine Carrington, who's become like family after her job as an FBI agent led her to saving a Thunder Point resident and her child from a dangerous cult. After her on the job injury, she decides to recuperate and relax in small Thunder Point, a town on the water. She rents a house with one requirement-- a great view-- and moves right in. After having her car checked over by the local mechanic shop owner Eric Gentry, she finds herself smack in the middle of new love.
I shouldn't say she finds herself there. The one thing I love about Laine is that she's no shrinking violet, sitting around pining and waiting for a man to make his move. After giving Eric a few days to act on his obvious attraction, Laine takes the step to ask him out. I liked her confidence, displaying personality traits that made her an excellent FBI Agent.
The Chance takes us through the blossoming of Laine and Eric's relationship. He comes clean about his past as a troubled youth. She talks (a lot) about her issues with a strict father who never approved of her life as an FBI agent. Laine seems really hung up on the competition between her and her brother, Paxton, who became the doctor that Paxton, Sr wanted them both to become.
Throughout the story we meet other Thunder Point residents and revisit others we've seen before like Gina, Mac and Devon. Ray Anne, the local real estate agent, meets Al, a friend of Eric's and the definition of drifter. Romance blooms all over this book, people coupling up left and right, it seems. We also meet Justin, a seventeen year old with the world on his shoulders.
The overwhelming theme of this book seems to be conquering fear. In the past, these characters would have run from adversity- or even love, but something about the town and the people in it makes people stay and put down roots. Open their hearts to love and forgiveness and most of all second chances.
I really enjoyed the story line between Laine and Eric; their relationship was loving and easy, something that seemed to mean a lot to both of them. But I was especially interested in the rekindling of a relationship between Laine and her father, Paxton, Sr, who shows up on her doorstep and is obviously ill with Dementia. Suddenly a man that had disapproved of her throughout her entire life needed her more than anything. Laine is powerless to do anything but help him and in the process achieves a new bond and a rebuilt kinship with her father.
As always with romances, I have nits. Laine lands in town, only planning to stay a year, but launches into what seems like a serious relationship with the town mechanic. Moves him in with her and everything. The same with Al and RayAnne... a man admits that he's a drifter, known for blowing in and out of town on a whim, but Ray Anne lets herself get involved with him, and gets hurt in the process. Lots of InstaLove (defined as characters who fall in love in days or weeks), which isn't as annoying in this novel as in others.
While The Chance was a great read, it was also very dialog heavy. Lots of big blocks of dialog, some rather unrealistic. Felt much like a backstory dump, a bit like a screen play. Not impossible to read, but I could have gone with a bit more showing and lots less telling.
I think if you enjoy a lovely, romantic story set in a small, sleepy town where the residents are like family, you'll enjoy reading The Chance. It's available February 25th from Harlequin.