What a delight, to return to Evergreen Resort, the home of the Christiansen Clan!
Of course, not all the Christiansens are home when this book begins.
John and Ingrid are overseas for Valentines Day, visiting Amelia.
Jace and Eden are living out their happy-ever-after.
Darek is pouring all his energy into the resort, and wondering if he has enough left to give his beloveds Ivy and Tiger.
Grace is cooking up a storm, and rooming with Raina, who has become a dear friend to her.
Owen is nowhere to be found, running from his troubles in far places.
And Casper? Well, he had run away too, but he's heading back home, because he longs to see Raina again.
He's thought it all through: It hurt him terribly that the girl he loves fell for his brother, but they can put all that behind them.
Everything could be the way it was last summer, and it could even be better.
Of course, Raina and Grace know something that Casper doesn't know.
And Raina has made a choice that Casper can't understand.
So now there are two broken hearts hiding out in Deep Haven, his and hers.
I had a feeling I'd really enjoy Casper's story, and I did.
First, the Setting.
Susan May transported me right to Northern Minnesota. I could see my own breath freeze in the -16* air. I could see the neat cabins that Darek, John and Casper had labored over. I could see the colors of the ice frozen on the shoreline.
Then the Characters. The blue-eyed Christiansens are one of the finest literary families I know. Each person seems to grow more "real" as I read and re-read their stories. And I do re-read, because these books start off sounding simple and then plunge like a deep-sea diver into stuff that's very real.
In this case, we're plumbing the depths of Casper's heart. Raina is truly always on his mind. He's torn between trying to get close to her and trying to live without her, and neither method is providing him with any peace. Slowly, oh-so-slowly, Casper learns to live redemptively within the tension. He must surrender Raina prayerfully, yet be a friend to her practically. This personal growth was the highlight of the story for me.
I thank Susan May Warren and Fred and Nora St. Laurent of BookFun dot org for my review copy.