*I received a free copy of What We Find from Harlequin MIRA via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *What We Find by Robyn Carr
Published by Harlequin MIRA on 5 April 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Reading Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge
Join Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in a brand-new story of fresh starts, budding relationships and one woman’s journey to finding the happiness she’s long been missing
Between the urban bustle of Denver and the high-stress environment of a career in neurosurgery, Maggie Sullivan has hit a wall. When an emergency, high-risk procedure results in the death of a teenager, Maggie finds herself in the middle of a malpractice lawsuit—and experiencing levels of anxiety she’s never faced before. It’s in this desperate moment that Maggie’s boyfriend decides he can’t handle her emotional baggage, and she’s left alone, exhausted and unsure of what her future holds. One thing is certain, though: she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can think to do that is Sullivan’s Crossing.
Named for Maggie’s great-grandfather, the land and charming general store at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide trails have been passed down through the generations and now belong to Maggie’s estranged father, Sully. Though raised by her mother and stepfather after her parents divorced, Maggie has always adored Sully—despite his hands-off approach to fatherhood. When she shows up unannounced in Sullivan’s Crossing, he welcomes her with opens arms, and she relishes the opportunity to rebuild their relationship.
But when Sully has a sudden heart attack, Maggie’s world is rocked once again. Consumed with his care, she’s relieved to find that Cal Jones, a quiet and serious-looking camper, has been taking over many of Sully’s responsibilities as he recuperates. Still, Maggie is suspicious of this mysterious man’s eagerness to help—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation.
Though Cal and Maggie each struggle with loss and loneliness, the time they spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…if only they can learn to find peace and healing—and perhaps love—with each other.
What We Find is a beautifully written tender and slightly nostalgic story about finding love, finding oneself, and moving forward after dealing with loss.
What We Find is the kind of contemporary romance that makes you think. About life in general, the choices we make, how to live with those choices, and how to continue moving forward after loss and disappointment. I enjoyed both Maggie and Cal, they were strong characters, but they both were a bit lost when they met, and their meeting gave them hope once more. The camping ground where they met is a crossroads in more than one sense, in the literal sense for many hikers, it is a meeting point, a place to change directions, and to give and receive news from close and afar. In a more metaphorical sense, it is also a crossroads for feelings, for a fresh start, and for finding oneself after a time of chaos and loss.
The pace is quite slow, and the romance is burning, but very carefully and tentative at first. Maggie is a character who doesn’t trust easily, and it was understandable due to the situation she was in when she decided to stay with her father to get away from everything that had made her life complicated in recent months. Cal stayed quite the mystery for a while, because the readers only knew what he shared with Maggie or Sully, and in the beginning, that wasn’t much. However, his personality and integrity shone through his actions and observations, and I had no qualms about trusting him from the start.
As Maggie and Cal get to now each other better, both their playful interactions and the feelings they develop for each other touched me deeply. I loved seeing how they came to count on each other, even if they were both trying to not depend on someone again. Cal had some personal issues he needed to work through, and he needed to do so alone. Even while he knew he had feelings for Maggie, he wanted to go through with his plan to go hiking on his own. And while Maggie knew from the start that he would do so, she still felt hurt and kind of left out when he did.
What We Find showed a way to make a fresh start later in life, and I enjoyed the kind of essential questions Cal and Maggie asked themselves. About what was important to them, how they wanted to live, what the consequences of their choices might be, and if it was possible for them to somehow both build a new life for themselves and maybe also create a strong, loving relationship together.
“I thought coming back here would help me get perspective,” she said.
“We been in Denver, Maggie. We haven’t been back two full days. Even God needed seven to get it together. Jesus.” He ran a hand over his head and wandered back to his bedroom.
“I’ve always had kind of high expectations of myself,” she yelled at his back.
“No shit,” he returned.
“I have a roomy tent,” he said against her lips.
“That probably wouldn’t be smart of me, ” she said.
“You worried about Sully?”
“I’m worried about me,” she said emphatically.