Author: Susan May Warren
Review by Grace Olson
Taken from Tyndale House’s website description of Always on My Mind:
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?
For those of you who have been faithfully following each installment of the Christiansen Family series, you’ll fall in love with Susan’s latest novel, Always on My Mind. After finishing Grace’s story, which ends in heartbreak for both Casper and Raina, I can tell you, I had these two on my mind for a while. How would Susan possibly bring them together again and fix their fractured pasts? Was it even possible?
What I loved about this story was the theme of redemption running throughout it. No one is ever too far gone that God’s grace can’t redeem them. He willingly gives second chances, which is a huge blessing, since none of us are perfect. 🙂 Raina and Casper each have to muddle their way through this to the realization that God is bigger than their past mistakes, that He loves them, and that He wants what is best for them, even if they are completely mystified as to what that might be. In fact, this is a truth more than just one member in the Christiansen family needs to be taught. Which brings me to Derek. I really liked how Susan was able to continue his and Ivy’s story without disrupting the main storyline. I think it added a lot to Always on My Mind.
There were so many heart-rending aspects of this story, yet Susan created the perfect balance by bringing in lighthearted moments at times. Always on My Mind tackles some hard themes, from Raina’s decision about whether she should keep her baby or give it up for adoption, to Derek’s (the oldest Christiansen brother) struggles with the family business and the expectations placed on him.
Casper and Raina’s frustrated romance was so fun to read about as they both tried to move on from each other, and failed miserably. Their relationship was a bit harder to read about than some, because it seemed at some times that there was no possible way they could believably be brought together.
It should be no secret by now that I love Susan’s writing style, her characters, and her ability to weave relevant themes throughout each of her books. I was so glad that Always on My Mind was up to par. One thing I really appreciate about her books and the Christiansen Family series in particular, is that while I can be entertained and I can enjoy the story and the romance, I am challenged at the same time. So for those of you looking for that kind of read, I highly suggest this book. If you haven’t read the other books in the series yet, I would suggest starting from the beginning, as each novel is a chronological continuation of the one before.
About the Author
Biography from Tyndale House Publishers’ website: Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.
Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives.~ To learn more about Susan and her other books, visit her web page: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/
I was given a review copy of Always on My Mind from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.