Carr, R. (2013). The wanderer. Don Mills, Ont.: Mira Books.
Paperback $7.99, Hardcover $34.99, Kindle $5.39, 384 pages
Author’s Website and Interviews:
Annotation: After the mysterious death of his friend, Hank Cooper heads to Oregon in search of answers and himself.
Summary: After the sudden death of his friend Ben Bailey, Hank “Coop” Cooper heads to Thunder Point, Oregon in search of answers. When Coop arrives in town, he is told Ben has left him his bait and tackle shop along with his beach front property which real estate developers have been after for years. Although he had only wanted to make this trip to Oregon a temporary stop to investigate the circumstances surrounding his friend’s death, Coop forms a friendship with Mac McCain, the resident cop, as well as Sarah Dupre, a helicopter pilot for the Coast Guard, and her younger brother Landon, the town’s newest football star. After realizing that his friend’s business means more to the town then just a local hangout and after witnessing the relentless harassment of Landon at the hands of Jag Morrison, the town’s richest bad boy, Coop makes the hard decision of whether or not to put down roots and reopen Ben’s business. Along the way, Coop continually runs into Sarah and her dog Ham during their morning walks in front of Ben’s shop. They have an instant connection but neither of them is ready or willing to put past heartbreaks aside for new love. As Coop sets out to restore Ben’s business as well as the town’s faith, he not only discovers what really happened to Ben but also what it means to finally call someplace home.
Evaluation: I thought Carr did a great job of bringing the town of Thunder Point to life and created characters that were relatable, layered, and really explored the complex nature of romantic relationships. I found the book to move at a very quick pace yet still provided enough detail in terms of plot and character-development. The relationships between the characters, especially Coop, Sarah, Mac, and Gina progressed and evolved throughout the book and allowed the reader a glimpse at their flaws. Although the book is considered a romance novel, it had aspects of mystery as well. I could not put the book down until I finished it and felt there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested and vested in the characters. Carr knows how to write romance and I was impressed with how well written it was and with her ability to capture the highs and lows of relationships form both a male and female perspective.
Appeal Factors: Amusing, heartwarming, moving, and engaging
Read-alike Titles and Authors:
- Something More, by Janet Dailey
- Three Wishes, by Barbara Delinsky
- The Blessing, by Judge Deveraux
Awards: Library Journal Best Romance Book
- Keep a secret from the audience surrounding Gina’s feelings for Mac and reveal bits and pieces but never the whole truth to build up suspense. You could also use the secret surrounding what really happened to Ben.
Book Discussion Questions:
- After the truth behind Ben’s death is revealed, how does it impact the town? Were you surprised by who did it?
- Why is Sarah so reluctant to commit to Coop? How does her past marriage to Derek affect her relationship with Coop?
- Why are Mac and Gina so afraid to admit their feelings for one another?
- What does Coop’s renovation of Ben’s bait and tackle shop signify about his life? Do you feel that his character has changed from the beginning of the book until the end? How so? Does Sarah have a lot to do with this change?
I recently house sat and stumbled across a large collection of Robyn Carr books. After reading the backs of a few of the books, I felt like this one was the most intriguing as it seemed to mix romance with a touch of mystery. I have not read much in the romance genre and wanted to expand my knowledge of more distinguished romance writers such as Carr. I also read reviews on Goodreads which peaked my curiosity as many gave it a high rating in terms of character-development which is an appeal factor I depend on when selecting books.