Review: The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Reviewed by Joanna

Here’s another edition of the lives of a small beach town and its residents. In the last book, Mac, the deputy of lovely and tranquil Thunder Point, finally managed to get himself together and ask out Gina, the woman he’s been in love with forever. Their lives are complicated, with his three motherless children and her one fatherless daughter to think about, plus his aunt, her mom and a couple of big dogs they’ll need to sidestep if they’re going to make a go of their relationship.

As this is all settling down, a beautiful woman walks into Gina’s diner. It’s Cee Jay, Mac’s ex-wife. And she wants back in.

Now, swanky Cee Jay walked out on her family when her eldest girl was six and the two littlest not out of nappies. She couldn’t take the heat of a young family and a husband working two jobs, plus she’d got knocked up as a young teen so was champing at the bit to get away and find a better life. And from the look of her, she found it. She’s bad news. You can tell from her slick car and designer clothes. She’s too into her looks so is clearly up to no good. *snarky tone*

Now I was a little wary at this point. I assumed judgement was going to rain down on the ex-wife for walking out on her kids, and while I agree entirely-no one should get away with abandoning their kids-I don’t like how the same treatment isn’t applied to men. Gina’s ex-boyfriend walked out on her when she was a young pregnant teen, and he gets his own book and HEA later in the series. Forgiveness doesn’t come Cee Jay’s way, and that’s a small reflection of the sort of old-values and gender stereotyping common in this series.

Gina is envious and goes into a panic thinking Mac is going to leap right back on that cart horse, but he’s a solid steady guy, so goes into investigator mode to work out just what the women he used to be married to wants. I’m glad this didn’t play out with any communication breakdown. Mac and Gina handled the Cee Jay situation with maturity.

The same can’t be said for book one couple, Sarah and Coop. She gets her orders to be transferred elsewhere, just as he’s settling down in Thunder Point and running his inherited and done-up beach bar. Her brother Landon is doing excellently at the local high school and has a steady girlfriend in Mac’s daughter Eve, and moving would be so disrupting. But it’s what she’s always wanted-the career position of her dreams. She doesn’t talk to Coop or her brother about it, and the issue festers the whole novel (I hated the resolution too, but I won’t spoil it). In the meantime, Coop gets some startling news from his ex-fiancé of over ten years ago, and his life changes forever.

Another big chunk of storyline is about Ashley, Gina’s teenage daughter. She gets dumped by Downy, her older boyfriend who is now a big deal at college. She has a breakdown after the nasty split which involves online bullying and depression. This wasn’t handled with any depth, and everything turns out nicely with the good girl coming out on top.

Landon and Eve continue their romance with an issue thrown their way, but it’s very much a nicey-nice view of the world and I wouldn’t recommend for anyone who wants true insight into teenagers’ problems.

There’s a pregnancy scare, an elopement and an engagement which all pop into the action, and a couple of people nearer the end who might be considered the newcomer of the title. I’d hesitate before saying you could read this as a standalone – I’d say the more immersed in the town you are the better you’ll enjoy this, particularly as there isn’t any new romance to the table. It’s like a soap opera where you get to know everyone’s business, and probably better classified as Women’s Fiction than romance.

Despite this type of tale being usually pretty far off my radar, I enjoyed it as a gentle and mild page turner. I read it on holiday and it was just the thing for long train journeys. Nothing to make my cheeks red or angst to get me twitching. Just simple lives in a quiet town where everything comes good in the end.

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Newcomer
by Robyn Carr
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

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