Sorry this took me so long to post here. I started work on the next part of the Trial of the Ornic series. Currently, the working title is The Lord’s Tale, and I’m writing the rough draft of part one. I hope to have it done before I have to start on revising the sequel to Shining Armor (currently titled Lady Fair). Anyway, on to the review!
Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: I don’t usually read inspirational romances. I tend to not like them, since most of the ones I’ve read have been way too heavy-handed on the religion and thin on the relationship between the two main characters. This is an exception.
Larkspur Cove is an inspirational romance set in Central Texas that does very well in making life, and its characters, real.
The heroine, Andrea, is a divorced woman, looking for meaning in a life that’s been shattered by her husband’s actions. She’s uptight, and far too concerned with putting her world into neat, little boxes, but that’s part of her charm. She’s just realized life doesn’t work that way, and she’s not sure how to handle it.
The hero, Mart, is a man’s man game warden, still trying to get over the pain of losing three people very close to him, two in particular. In spite of his rough ways, he’s a kind and intelligent man, who’s more easygoing than Andrea first assumes.
Naturally, there’s conflict when they first meet. Dustin, Andrea’s son, isn’t taking the divorce well and starts off with the wrong crowd, found, of course, by Mart. But their relationship develops well, and is far more realistic in that development than some of the other romances I’ve read.
As far as the religious aspect goes, this book doesn’t get even mention it for the first half, beyond whatever fits in the world (e.g. Reverend Hay inviting Andrea to church as part of welcoming her to the community…community tends to revolve around church here in Texas, no matter what your denomination). It isn’t until close to the end of the book that any sort of “seeing the light” occurs. It’s debatable how necessary it is to the ending, and to the resolution of the relationship, but either way, it’s not annoying.
The action is good. The plotting is excellent, though I wished some aspects were more clearly resolved so that I could have had some emotional resolution, instead of only the intellectual kind. Not every problem is easily resolved in this book. In fact, there were times when I literally was on the edge of my seat, wondering how they would get out of their predicament. And just because they find a little peace now, doesn’t mean things have gotten better.
The secondary characters and the world itself are well-drawn. This is obviously a woman who knows small-town Texas. However, with that comes some things that are sure to make more liberal-minded folks squirm. Some of Mart’s thoughts regarding being a man, for instance, and references later on to Mart’s getting a switch as a kid, making it sound like getting switched was a good thing.
In fact, the only weak characters, I thought, were Dustin and his dad. However, the “deadbeat” was drawn with more depth than I expected.
I don’t feel I can end this review without mentioning Birdie and Len. They were the cutest, sweetest thing in this book. There were real dangers, yes, but that relationship restores my faith in humanity.
Overall, a nice, light read that made me smile, and got me turning back to spiritual thoughts without outright preaching at me.