Saturday, June 13, 2015

Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren

        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?

        Casper Christiansen cannot get Raina Beaumont out of his head, no matter how hard he tries and even though he left Deep Haven six months ago for an archaeology dig in Honduras. Deciding to return and face Raina, he receives a huge surprise when he finds her pregnant with someone else’s baby. In an attempt to ease his heartbreak, Casper returns to the family resort and attempts to help Darek get it back up and running. As the middle child who never seemed to accomplish nearly as much as his older and younger brothers, Casper longs to do something great, to be someone’s hero. But as Raina continues to push him away and winter gets colder and colder, will Casper ever find his happy ending, or will he run away again as soon as the snow thaws?
        Always on My Mind is the fourth book in Susan May Warren’s Christiansen Family series, falling after Take a Chance on Me, It Had to Be You, and When I Fall in Love. I cannot say which one is my favorite so far, but I do think Casper is my favorite Christiansen, and I know he’s my favorite of the brothers. He is so sweet, determined, caring, and compassionate, and I just love how he continues to pursue Raina. As Jenny Flanigan said in Karen Kingsbury’s Bailey Flanigan novels, “like a dying man looking for water in a desert”. I do believe Casper fits that description. Clearly you can understand how that would melt my heart.
        I also loved reading about how God slowly softened Raina’s heart as the book went on, until she could escape Him—and Casper—no longer. Although it may seem hard to love anyone who would break someone like Casper’s heart over and over again, I did find myself feeling as if Raina was a close friend of mine. She struggled all throughout the book with her past, her mistakes, and her choices, and I found that reading from her perspective helped me to realize just how much the events of this book hurt her as well.
        Anyway, my point is to say that both characters were extremely loveable, and this book most certainly touched my heart. It was, in true Susan May Warren style, a wonderful story about redemption, love, and second chances that well deserves all five bookshelves. I enjoyed all four Christiansen Family novels so far, and am eagerly anticipating reading Amelia’s story—which comes out next month—and Owen’s, which I haven’t actually read about yet but I am hoping Susan will release a cover soon.
        Happy reading!

All credit for the above italicized synopsis goes to Susan May Warren and her publishers.

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