Ryan's Return by Barbara Freethy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Part 1: From The Book Cover
Famous photojournalist Ryan Hunter has come back to a family torn apart by mistrust and resentment -- to the father who disowned him, to the brother who betrayed him, to the little boy who shares his features. Ryan, the charismatic "bad boy" son, has returned -- stirring up past conflicts and throwing Kara Delaney's fragile heart into turmoil.
Part 2: Recommendation
Ryan's Return by Barbara Freethy is actually our book club selection for April 2012 and I was surprised at why I haven't read any of her books before now.
Famous photojournalist Ryan Hunter has come back to a family torn apart by mistrust and resentment, to the father who disowned him, to the brother who betrayed him, to the little boy who shares his features. Ryan, the charismatic "bad boy" son, has returned'stirring up past conflicts like a whirlwind . . . and throwing Kara Delaney's fragile, passionate heart into turmoil.
. . . and love is Waiting
Kara has struggled back from a disastrous marriage to build a new life for herself and her little girl—a peaceful existence now jeopardized by vicious, smalltown politics, by her daughter's fanciful ghost stories... and by Ryan's return. Now nature's impending fury threatens to expose long-buried secrets. And Kara must join with the enigmatic, misunderstood Ryan-to discover the truth that will save their families ... and to explore a dangerous, irresistible love as mighty and enduring as the onrushing river.
Like any small town, Serenity Springs is shall we say, on the brink of progress or stagnation and it could go either way depending on its residents. Of course, one group embraces progress in order to rebuild their town and to boost local businesses. And there are those who firmly believe that keeping the town as small as it is would help save the town from becoming a ghost town in the near future. Kara Delaney believes that the two opposing groups can compromise if only they would let go of what happened in the past and look to the future with an open mind.
On top of the issue of progress or stagnation, Ryan's Return also deals with the question: What makes a parent - nature or nurture? Is being emotionally unavailable to your child enough to be called father or does being loving and caring to someone else's child makes someone more of a father?
And the ultimate question that Ryan's Return poses for Ryan, Kara, Jonas, and Andrew is this: Are you willing to give up your life, your home, your lifestyle to be with someone you love?
To conclude this review, I truly enjoyed reading this book as Barbara Freethy in Ryan's Return effectively captures the beauty of a quiet, peaceful little town that is Serenity Springs. Ms. Freethy also has successfully managed to bring to life memorable characters that continue to live on the pain of their past, not fully realizing what they are missing in the present, coming to terms with their loss, and finally finding redemption, forgiveness, happiness, love and a family of their own in the arms of the one they truly love.
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