(The Burnside Series #1)
by Mary Ann Rivers
Published: January 21, 2014, Loveswept
Destiny Burnside has spent the last few months since losing her job scouring the Wanted ads at the local library and ogling the beautiful guy who is working on the restorations of the beautiful library woodwork. It is a small pleasure to fill her otherwise bleak days of loss, poverty and family problems. Then one day when yet another rejection letter finally breaks down her steel-spined resolve into a flow of tears, the solid chest of the gorgeous woodcarver proves a safe and warm place to find comfort against.
Slightly displaced in a country, not his home and a job, not his choice, Hefin Thomas has already made up his mind to return to Wales to restart his life by returning to his roots. He is well aware his time in Lakefield, Ohio is limited when he stops to give comfort to the slight, freckled and very distraught redhead he has been admiring from afar for weeks, but he can't stop himself from talking to her this time.
Shackled to Lakefield by a family history that runs deep and siblings that can't seem to see eye to eye after her father's passing, Destiny tries very hard to mend the patches of the family together, while enjoying the limited time she has left to spend with Hefin. He has completely swept her off her feet with his attention and passion, and moved her deeply with his honesty and openness. She knows he needs to leave.
Every moment he spends with Destiny, Hefin sees her clearer. She holds close to the family she has left, takes care of a sister who is ailing and identifies with the only home she has ever known. She also knows him better than anyone and he can see she has fallen for him as hard and fast as he has fallen for her, but he has to make the right choices and decisions, based on the right reasons.
I knew I wouldn't be disappointed reading something by Mary Ann Rivers, and the promise of a family series with drama, romance and heat, was a huge draw. The complexity of emotions in her characters is quite extraordinary, so insightful and real with a massive dose of common sense. Often times in romance we see spur of the moment decisions of the heart made, all in the name of love. Mary Ann's characters think, they consider.....they weigh, and try.......and then they decide. She writes with a tremendous amount of "grey space", the area where not all is black or white, all or nothing. It is an area where doubts live, possibilities are considered, scenarios are tried out, space is allowed and things sometimes are just left to "be" until they become something else.........much like life.
Destiny lost her mom at a young age and never had the benefit of really knowing her mom on anything other than a young child's level. Never knew her as a 'real' person. Was never aware she was cut from the same cloth. Somehow, she naturally grew into the role of caretaker, mediator and nurturer for the family......father, brothers and sister, and no one stopped her. Destiny became her role, that was her identity. Except when Hefin saw her, he saw something completely different, he saw a person with her own dreams, hopes, wants and needs.
Disillusioned after a failed marriage to an American woman and taking on all the blame, Hefin had been punishing himself until Destiny helped him see a broader perspective. He too had a very narrow view on his place and value in this world, but ironically in his case it made his pre-planned trip back home, leaving Destiny behind, more important.
There is an intensity to the style of writing that takes a page or two to immerse yourself in, but once you are there.....it will not let you go!! It is as if every word....every punctuation has such importance, you cannot afford to miss it!!
✨An emotionally absorbing and sensually tantalizing story of coming to life.✨
**ARC provided by NetGalley and Loveswept in return for an honest review.**