How does an author write a romance when she’s never really been in love? Maybe the real-life cowboy next door can give her some inspiration…
Whenever You Come Around, the third book in Hatcher’s Kings Meadow series, can easily be read as a stand-alone without feeling lost. The characters felt so genuine and down-to-earth, and their faith spilled out naturally as an extension of their lives. The plot of grace and restoration was one that we can all relate to on some level, even if we haven’t lived the specifics of Charity’s story.
Charity Anderson turned her back on Kings Meadow years ago, with good reason, and has avoided visits to her hometown whenever possible. But with her house in Boise damaged by floodwaters and a book deadline bearing down, staying in her parents’ empty home seems her only option. However, being in Kings Meadow dredges up a painful secret, and old fears threaten to overwhelm her.
Charity’s former high school classmate Buck Malone never left town, instead sacrificing his dreams to take care of his family. Now he enjoys an uncomplicated life as a wilderness guide and confirmed bachelor. The last thing on his mind is settling down.
When Charity’s dog causes an accident that leaves Buck with a broken ankle and wrist at the start of prime tourist season, Charity has little choice but to render aid while he recuperates. Soon Buck becomes the inspiration for Charity’s hero, both on the page and off. Can he also help her face and overcome her fears so they might find their own happily ever after?
This was such a smooth read – once I started, I found it difficult to put down! Robin Lee Hatcher’s writing style is always near-perfection, and her characters draw you in to a friendship across the pages. I immediately connected to Charity though our lives are pretty different. She’s a writer; I’m a reader 😉 She’s avoided her hometown and her parents; I live a mile from mine. She has an older sister; I am the older sister. She loves horses; I’m terrified of them. And I think that’s another testament to the author’s talent – the fact that I could relate so well to this character who is on many levels my opposite.
I enjoyed Buck and Charity’s interactions – the back-and-forth of their conversations, the ease of their friendship – as well as meeting the characters and places in the town of Kings Meadows. I say “meet” because this was my first book to read in the series and I expected to be a bit confused at parts. But I honestly never was. Robin Lee Hatcher does a stellar job of helping the reader feel right at home no matter when in the series they’ve dropped by for a visit.
The fact that Charity’s house is being restored at the same time as Charity’s heart was, in my mind, no coincidence and added to the poignancy of the story. Even if I haven’t made the same mistakes or have the same regrets as Charity, I’ve made my own and regret them just as deeply. The message of Whenever You Come Around goes deeper than romance and a good plot – as all Christian fiction should. I believe it is partially this: Secrets lose their power when they have no place to hide. (Now I’m singing along with my brain to Jason Gray’s song “The Reason You Brought Me Here”. Incredible song. You need to listen to it.) Whatever the size of your failures, God’s grace is no less amazing, His love no less healing, His restoration no less needed.
Whenever You Come Around puts more than one song in my head and gets 4 out of 5 stars! (I thought the ending was a little rushed.)
Thank you, Netgalley, for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from both RWA and ACFW, Robin has authored over 70 books. She and her husband make their home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family, her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).