A New Hope (Thunder Point) - Robyn Carr

Series: Thunder Point (Book 8)

After losing her child, Ginger Dysart was lost in grief. But since moving to Thunder Point, a small town on the Oregon coast, Ginger is finally moving forward. Her job at the flower shop is peaceful and fulfilling, and she's excited to be assisting with the Lacoumette wedding.


In spite of her lasting heartache, Ginger is swept up in the pleasure of the occasion. But the beauty of the Lacoumette farm and the joy of the gregarious family are ruined by an unfortunate encounter with the bride's brother, Matt. Struggling with painful memories of his own, Matt makes a drunken spectacle of himself when he tries to make a pass at Ginger, forcing her to flee the scene in embarrassment.


But when Matt shows up at the flower shop determined to make amends, what started out as a humiliating first meeting blossoms into something much deeper than either of them expected. Everyone around them worries that Ginger will end up with a broken heart yet again. But if Ginger has the courage to embrace the future, and if Matt can finally learn to let go of the past, there may still be hope for a happy ending.


Very good book. Ginger was introduced in the previous book (One Wish). She came to Thunder Point to get away from the memories of her failed marriage and the child she lost to SIDS. Her Aunt Ray Anne helped Ginger out of her depression and to the point where she was starting to live life again. Ginger got a job helping Grace in her flower shop and has learned to let go of the past. When this book opens, Ginger is helping Grace with the flowers at Peyton and Scott's wedding when she encounters Peyton's brother Matt. Matt is quite drunk and makes a pass at Ginger that results in her shoving him away and him falling and hitting his head and being knocked out cold. 


Matt also has a failed marriage in his past, one that has made him angry and bitter. He copes with the memories raised by his sister's wedding by getting smashed and accosting one of the guests. Once he has sobered up he is ashamed of what he did and determined to apologize to Ginger. He heads to Thunder Point to make his apology in person, and discovers that he'd actually like to get to know her better.


I really enjoyed this encounter. Matt is completely honest with Ginger, telling her that he is truly sorry and that he really has no excuse for how he behaved. Originally he planned to apologize and leave, but he finds himself intrigued by Ginger and asks her to dinner as part of his apology. They are honest with each other, agreeing that neither is ready for a new relationship, but perhaps they can be friends. As friends they find themselves talking on the phone every night, sharing what happened during their day, and getting to know each other on a deeper level.


I loved seeing the way that Ginger and Matt were so much alike. Both had had marriages that fell apart mostly because they had simply married the wrong person for them. Ginger had an idealized vision of her husband, and ignored the parts where he told her that he wasn't what she thought he was. She showed a lot of growth as she came to realize that much of the problem was caused by her unrealistic views. Matt had a similar problem, in that he married a woman he was attracted to, but she hated his life as a farmer. They fought a lot, and then she did something he considered such a betrayal that he could no longer tolerate being married to her. He still harbors a lot of anger toward her. As Ginger and Matt get to know each other better, the relationship starts to change. Matt gets a bit spooked at one point by the strength of what he's feeling and his worry that he might be making another mistake, and he pulls back. This creates a bit of conflict between the two, but they do manage to work it out.  I loved the fact that they are mature enough to actually talk to each other, though sometimes it takes a bit of extra prodding to do so. One of the best things was that they were able to be themselves with each other. Neither one felt the need to try to change themselves or the other person. I loved Ginger's visits to the farm and how she was so different from his ex that he finally stopped trying to compare the two. 


Their relationship progresses quite well, but there are still some lingering issues from their previous marriages that they have to overcome before they can move on together. Ginger's face off with her ex went really well. I loved her logical look at what was going on and how she stood up for her own desires. Mick's complete self-centered attitude made it hard for him to accept that she wanted nothing more to do with him. I had a little bit of a problem with Ginger when she shut Matt out of the anniversary of her baby's death. It said a lot about how his feelings for her that he figured out what was going on and that he was there for her anyway. But if they were going to be able to have a life together, Matt still had to face his feelings for his ex and get rid of the anger. I loved the way that Ginger tried to make him see the importance of it. When he finally did it, the emotional consequences were intense, but he finally saw what Ginger had been trying to tell him. Their final scene shows what is possible for them now that their baggage has been unloaded.


Throughout the book there are also scenes with previous characters. Matt's sister Peyton makes several appearances, especially as Matt is trying to get her to stop interfering in his life. There are a couple pretty amusing scenes when she is called out for the habit. I also loved Matt's family with their support of him, even when his behavior causes trouble. Their acceptance of Ginger was pretty sweet. There is also a fair amount of time spent with Grace and Troy as they get their house built, Grace's mother moved in, and their wedding planned and carried out. Her mother has definitely been mellowing in her attempts to repair her relationship with Grace. Two new characters, the nurse Lin Su and her son Charlie, are introduced. Charlie had health issues as a child though now are mostly under control, but Lin Su is extremely overprotective. I liked seeing Winnie's friendship with him, and how that friendship encourages her to interfere a little bit in their lives. I'm looking forward to seeing what is in store for them.