I'm so glad I finally got to read a book by Susan May Warren! This one was delightful - a lovely read. The characters felt very real and I can definitely feel an attachment to them already, even after only one book. They're easy to connect to and easy to love. I could identify with them from the very start and empathize with their problems as well. I wasn't entirely blown away by it, but I definitely did enjoy this book and will read more by Susan.
I love finding a new book series to fall in love with! And that is what I feel has happened after reading Take a Chance on Me. This book was wonderful and introduced me to a family that I want to learn everything about.
Take a Chance on Me takes place in Deep Haven, Minnesota. This is the setting of another series that Susan May Warren wrote. But don't worry if you haven't read that series. You don't need to read it to understand what is going on in this new series.
In this first book of the series, we meet the Christiansen family. This is a family that really loves each other and stands strong together. John and Ingrid Christiansen own the Evergreen Resort. They have six grown children. Take a Chance on Me is about their oldest, Darek, who is a widower and single father. He has so much anger in his heart. Anger toward himself, his dead wife, his former best friend, God and just life in general.
Ivy is new to Deep Haven. She has never had the love and support of a family or the stability of staying in one town for long. She falls in love with Deep Haven and plans to make her permanent home there as a county prosecutor. Ivy has some issues with believing that God cares, based on things that have happened in her life. Things in her life always seem to fall apart, but now Ivy holds out hope for a family and future. So, when she has the chance to grow close to Darek and then finds that there are some truths that might come to light and tear them apart, she is devastated.
Two other characters, Jensen and Claire, have their own pasts to deal with and their own issues with God to come to terms with. Their back stories, as well as Ivy and Darek's are interwoven and so very interesting. All of these characters are very well-written. I am really looking forward to reading more from this series.
Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor - oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he's also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.
Ivy Madison has moved to Deep Haven to take the job as assistant county attorney. Living in a small town and being a part of the community has been her dream. Suddenly her life has become more complicated. She simply doesn't know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction held the first day she is in town. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity's death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she's always longed for. And once she gets past Darek's tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife's case.
Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy - a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.
I love the small town of Deep Haven that Susan May Warren has created. I would love to be able to live in a community like it where everyone knows each other. This is the first book of a new series set in the same community. I quickly fell in love with the Christiansen family. It would be so cool to be neighbors with a tight knit family like this.
This particular book is the story of the oldest son Darek. As with most people he has a lot of baggage to deal with from past decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed finding out how his parents helped him to work through some of that baggage without ever judging him for those decisions. There are many other characters whose stories intertwine with Darek's that are also working through past baggage. The gentle nudges that they all get to look to God for help is incredible. They all have a journey to take to find forgiveness for themselves and others. The paths are so intricately woven that it was a joy to follow along with these wonderful characters.
I'm looking forward to finding out the stories of the rest of the Christiansen children in future books in this series.
Darek Christiansen is the most in-eligible bachelor in Deep Haven, but of course Ivy Madison doesn't know that when she first meets him. As the new assistant county attorney, Ivy is eager to finally put down roots, in the small, everyone-knows-your-name town in Minnesota. Growing up in 14 different foster homes, she has no family but dreams of being a part of one. The intriguing Darek has it all - a large, rambunctious family, a five-year-old son Tiger, and the kind of heart that attracts her attention from the moment she sees him interact with his son.
But Darek has his secrets, such as the nature of his relationship with his late wife Felicity, and the truth about how she died. Little does he realize that Ivy was the person who crafted the plea bargain for the very man responsible for Felicity's death; Jensen Atwood. Will Darek be able to forgive Jensen in his part in his wife's death? Will he be able to forgive Felicity for being the enabler of Jensen's freedom?
I was already in love with this novel when I realized that Warren had written six other books about Deep Haven. But I'm so glad I didn't know, because this novel is absolutely wonderful! Reading this made me wish that the Christiansen family was my own, and the characters are so well developed that it felt as if they were real people. I feel that if I just peek out my door, I'll see Claire bouncing out of her place with her pizza uniform on, all ready for her day at Deep Haven's pizza parlor. I've never read anything from this author, but I am an instant fan. I must and will order the first six books asap!!
This book was provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Usually I get a little confused when a story is told with more than 2 points of view, but the 4 in this story are easy to follow. I didn't have any problem distinguishing who was who.
The imagery is so vivid, and I feel like I've visited the scenes. I love a book that 'carries me away'. There are emotional aspects of this story I wasn't expecting, and I hated to finish the book because I didn't want to leave the characters.