Thursday, June 4, 2015

Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren

        Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.
        New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at a charity bachelor auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with…which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.
        Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself. 

        Darek Christiansen hasn’t been able to get past the grief and anger he feels from his wife’s tragic death, even though three years have passed. While he loves being able to spend more time with his son, his life changed irrevocably that day, and he’s not sure if it really was for the best. He’s angry, bitter, and guilty, and when he meets Ivy Madison, she reminds him of all his mistakes he cannot change. Will he let go enough to allow Ivy into his life, and his heart, or will the impending fires—both inside and out—ruin everything for the both of them?
        Ivy Madison has never been a part of a real family, so as she gets to know the Christiansens, she feels like they’re the family she’s been searching for. Through Darek’s tough exterior, she sees someone she could love, and her way into a real family. The only question is, will he ever let her in? And, if he does, what will he think when he learns she was involved in his wife’s case?
        Take a Chance on Me is the first book in Susan May Warren’s Christiansen Family series, and is a wonderful story about faith, family, and forgiveness that will touch your soul and warm your heart. With plenty of comical, gushy, and inspiring moments, it is a novel that is almost impossible to put down, and one I couldn’t help putting on my ‘absolute favorites’ list. It comes highly recommended as a book you will want to read again and again, which makes it fully deserving of all five of the bookshelves I am giving it. Clearly Susan May Warren did an amazing job when she penned this story, and I know all the others in this series will be just as wonderful. (I can say that since I’ve already finished the second book—It Had to Be You—which I will be reviewing on Saturday.)
        Susan May Warren had previously won her spot on my most-favorite-authors list when I read My Foolish Heart, the fourth book in her Deep Haven series, so the quality of Take a Chance on Me didn’t come as a surprise. Although I didn’t read the other Deep Haven novels—I borrowed My Foolish Heart from a friend and it was the first Susan May Warren book I read—I fell in love with her writing style and the way she brings a story to life. She writes stories that are interesting and have plenty of plot twists, but that isn’t the best thing about her writing. She fills her books with faith—whether the character returns to God, or they just strengthen their relationship with him. Each book has characters that change—for the better—by what they go through in the book. Since I very strongly feel that no story is complete if all of the characters remain the same by the time you get to the end, that pleased me the most about her books.
        Anyway, Take a Chance on Me is a great story that will leave you wanting more of the Christiansens, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since there are three more novels after that, and a fifth that comes out in July. Although I have only read the first two, I can promise both of those are books worth reading and, based on the descriptions, the next three will be as well.
        Happy reading!

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

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