Monday, August 26, 2013

Sheltering Hearts - Robyn Carr (Harlequin - May 2010)

Series: Virgin River (Book 11.5)

New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr takes readers back to her beloved Virgin River country in this heartwarming tribute to Rhonda Clemons, founder of Zoë Institute and a winner of a Harlequin More Than Words award.

"Dory Finn is a single mother, trying to make ends meet and raise her two young children. Coming off an abusive relationship, she has sworn off men, and that includes her do-good neighbor Clay, who just happens to not only be a nice guy, but good-looking to boot! Dory works at the local supermarket but also does volunteer work at local women's center, a place where single women can get the support and help they need to move on with their lives. Can Dory overcome her issues and let in Clay? Is Clay willing to give Dory time to adjust to the possibility of being involved with another man?"
Always With a Book

Lightly linked with the Virgin River series by the appearances of a couple VR characters, this is a good story about moving forward.  I really liked both Dory and Clay.  Dory is trying to move on with her life after escaping from an abusive marriage.  After getting the help she needed in Oklahoma, she moved to California where she has built a new life.  She has a job to earn a living and is taking care of her kids.  She is also giving back by helping single mothers the way that she was helped.  With the assistance of a social worker and a bunch of volunteers they are doing great things.  When Clay moves in next door she is a little bit nervous.  He's a big guy, very good looking and obviously interested in her.  She's wary because she doesn't trust her instincts about men anymore.  When Clay starts doing things for her like cutting grass, moving trash cans and playing with her kids, she freaks out a bit seeing it as controlling.  She finally relaxes a bit and starts to get to know him, finding him to be a truly caring man. As she opens up more to him her feelings grow and she discovers that she can have a loving relationship with a new man.

Clay was a sweetheart.  He is a firefighter, so right there you see that he is a naturally caring man.  When he moves in next to Dory he is interested in her right away.  He sees that she is a struggling single mother and starts trying to help out.  He is surprised when she accuses him of being controlling but manages to convince her he is just being friendly.  He backs off on the pursuit a little and tries just being friends with her and her kids.  I really loved his patience and how he was willing to take as long as she needed.  I liked the way that he had a better idea of what she had been through after the incident in the grocery parking lot.  I loved the way that he got involved with her organization and got his friends involved too.  Loved seeing how his patience paid off in the end.

This was a part of the More Than Words series of books.  I liked the way this one highlighted the trials of being a single mother and showed how there are resources out there to help.  I thought it was very well done.  The only thing that would make it better would be for it to be longer.

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