Author: Virginia Kantra
Let me start by saying I really really wanted to like this novel. I completely enjoyed the first two in the series, and after reading the teaser in the back of Carolina Girl, I was anxious to get this book in my hands. I grew up in a military home where my father was gone so much during the first thirteen years of my life that I have very few concrete memories of him during that time. I was excited to see how Ms. Kantra was going to handle the stresses of a military family and a father-daughter relationship that was extremely fragile and new, including child abuse recovery. I know she has the talent to make it a poignant, sweet and interesting piece of work because she has dealt with similarly difficult topics in her others books beautifully. Unfortunately Carolina Man fell flat.
At first, I thought the reaction I was having might be me and not the book, because I would be remiss to say that this book didn’t trigger anything for me. It brought back memories of the days when my dad was gone, and we would fear for his safety. It trigger long buried emotions connected with my abusive ex-husband, and it triggered a completely normal hatred for those that prey on children and steal their innocence. So after reading the book one time through, I put it down for about six weeks and then came back recently to read it again. Nothing had changed for me, other than I didn’t react to the triggers the way I had before. The writing was still weak. The gorgeous scenery that was as much a character as the people in the first two books was missing. The banter and dialogue that I have come to expect from Ms. Kantra works wasn’t there. For all its potential, it simply didn’t grab me and pull me in the way I expected it too.
The intense emotional connection that I had to the Fletcher family in the first two books was weak as best. For example, there was a great scene when Taylor and her dad, Luke, go out and sit on the beach to really talk. I went into the scene waiting with baited breathe that this would hold the magic, the connection. It was a perfect set up with the inky sky, the sea, the stars, etc., but there was nothing there. The descriptions were weak, and I sat there feeling cheated. Where were the sights, smells, and feelings I have come to associate with the Fletcher family and their sweet island? I know Luke is a Marine, but he is still a Fletcher, and his family has taught him the finer points of loving and emotion. SHOW A LITTLE!!!
Overall, I’m giving this book a C+ simply because I have come to love the Fletchers, and it was a sweet distraction to return to their island and home. Kate, Luke’s love interest was an endearing character, and watching her learn to trust and open up was sweet. Ms. Kantra did deal with some very intense topics without weighing down the overall story, which is a feat in and of itself. I will admit, I missed the ocean and the character it has become on Dare Island, but am adult enough to realize that the book is about people more than it is about the setting. The sheer sexiness of Kate and Luke together does offer the book a few redeeming qualities.
If you have come to enjoy Dare Island and the Fletcher family the way I have, you will want to read this book just to finish out the trilogy, but I must admit after reading Carolina Man and seeing the Fletchers find peace, I don’t feel any need to return. It was a wonderful vacation, and I’ll hold this family and their island dear. However, like most vacations it is time to return home and look at snap shops. I know there are other books coming, but I’ll likely spend my time elsewhere… anyone got a beach home I can lease?
Marine Luke Fletcher is determined to do his duty—first to his country and now to his ten-year-old daughter, the unexpected legacy of a high school girlfriend. But his homecoming to Dare Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks challenges his plans for the future and forces him to face everything that’s missing in his life. He wasn’t prepared to lose his heart to this child he never knew. Or to fall hard for coolly reserved small town lawyer Kate Dolan.
Former military brat Kate knows Marines can make lousy fathers…and she’s got the scars to prove it. Giving her heart to a man who’s bent on leaving seems one sure way to have it broken.
Now, no matter what it takes, Luke must prove to Kate and to his daughter that Semper Fi is more than a motto—and to himself that there’s more than one way to be a hero.
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Series: Dare Island #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): Paperback (304 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher
Carolina Man (Dare Island #3)