SLIDER

Always on my Mind by Susan May Warren

About the Book:
Publisher: Tyndale
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Christiansen Family, book 4
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Christian
Rating: 4 out of 5 

Each of this author’s books seems to grow. The stories are better, while never omitting the importance of realism and the writing is consistently brilliant. The fourth book in Warren’s on-going series set itself up in such a way that the same ease with which the prior books flowed, this one may have stumbled. Fortunately, I don’t think it does. Casper Christiansen ran away after the girl he fell hard for turned out to be using him. Or that’s how he saw Raina’s apparent fascination with his younger brother, Owen. Now he’s back from his treasure-hunting adventure, Casper decides the first thing he’s going to do is see Raina. One way or another, he’s going to tell her how he feels. When he shows up, he finds Raina pregnant… with his brother’s child. Raina doesn’t see herself as a single mother and telling Owen – or any of the Christiansen family is out of the question. So, she gives up the child for adoption and with time, she and Casper slowly begin again with a relationship rooted in friendship.
 
I’ll be honest I didn’t expect this novel to live up to the others in this series. Especially after reading When I Fall in Love. The set up from the subplots in the proceeding novel that led into this book seemed fraught with too many complications to make for an “easy” story. But then, they say the best things don’t come easy.  But as with every book I read that spins my impressions of it, I'm glad to be wrong. Casper’s reservations or confusion was completely justifiable and on any other hero this would maybe fall into grating for the reader. I say it’s just a normal process he had to work through in order to “heal” if he were to have any kind of normal, happy life. Truthfully, it was Raina who most baffles. Sure I love her and wanted her to realize her full potential however I lost some respect for her with some of the choices she made. If anyone can write this kind of conflict well, it’s Susan May Warren and she does this magnificently.  

As for the format, this novel significantly backs away from coinciding two romances. This is something I appreciated. In previous books, there had been two love stories playing out – or at least two very different stories, and this go round, that effect is less. Here, eldest brother Darek gets some page time. His “update” story reads very well in this book. In fact, it’s easily engrained in the “bigger picture” because of Casper’s aspirations and expectations, and I liked that while he and Ivy got a happy ending, it’s not all roses for them. Following tradition, daughter Amelia’s story is teased in the final pages (ARC text) and let me tell you, I’m invested already. Though it suffers a few flaws and setbacks, this is easily a story that will occupy your mind. Because of the subject matter, Always on my Mind won’t be everyone’s cup of tea from a creative standpoint, but that does not hinder the beauty of the “broken” moments the characters experience. Nor does it lessen the impact of letting go and forgiving even where there is a stumbling block.  

Synopsis: 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? - Goodreads
 

Coming Next from Susan May Warren: Mortified after her semester abroad is cut short, Amelia Christiansen returns to Deep Haven, certain she isn’t brave enough for the adventures she’s dreamed of. The last thing she expects is for the man who broke her heart to cross the Atlantic and beg forgiveness.

Heir to a European hotel dynasty, Roark St. John has trekked from one exotic locale to another, haunted by tragedy and the expectations that accompany his last name. Amelia is the first woman to give him a reason to stop running. He’ll do anything for a second chance—even contend with Amelia’s old flame, who is intent on sending Roark packing.

While one surprise after another leaves Amelia reeling, Roark’s continued presence only highlights the questions pursuing her. Like him, is she running from the life God has called her to? Could finding her new place mean leaving home behind?
  - Goodreads, July 2015

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

6 comments

  1. Like you, I love this family. and my favorite is also When I Fall in Love. But I enjoyed this one way more than I expected and I can't wait for Amelia's story.

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    1. Same here, Dawn. I had my doubts... but as usual, Susan wrote a compelling and beautiful story. Now let's have Amelia's story... ! :)

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  2. Finally had a chance to read the book! It was not at all what I expected, but I loved it :-) I also enjoyed the look into Darek & Ivy's current life, and I can't wait to find out about Amelia!

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    1. Me too, Becky! I thought it was wonderful. But then, I would expect nothing else from the talent of Susan May Warren. Same here; reading about Darek and Ivy was a treat. It's nice to be able to see what their life is like. Ooo, Amelia's story is going to be lovely I think. :)

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  3. I agree with you! Because of 3 previous strong stories, this one had a lot to live up to. It did not disappoint!

    I, too, was frustrated a bit with Raina and her decisions - especially her blindness to Monte's nature. But I did want her to find her way!

    I can't wait for Amelia's story, either. I'm anxious to know how she will react after (spoiler!) Roark showing up at her house.

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    1. No, no it did not - but then I shouldn't have doubted. It is, after all, Susan May Warren. :)

      Raina is a likable character, but yes, she was a bit wishy-washy. That being said, I suppose that stemmed from her belief she wasn't any better than what Monte offered...?

      Me too! I cannot wait for Amelia's story. Sounds SO good and looks lovely, as usual... :)

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