Author: Jaci Burton
What I’m Talking About:
Hope Flames, book one in the Hope series, brings Emma Burnett and Luke McCormack together in a romance that introduces us to the little town of Hope. The time for the wedding has come and Emma’s little sister Molly is expected, finally, home for the festivities. Hope Burns, book three, follows Molly’s journey through the healing of old wounds as she returns from a twelve year absence from family and friends to participate in the wedding. Molly loves her sister, but does not want to return to Hope because it will mean seeing her ex-high school sweetheart, Carter Richards, and that’s just too painful to think about. So painful, in fact, that even though she’s the Maid of Honor, she shirks nearly all of her duties and crawls into town, almost literally because her car is dying and slow death, at the last possible moment. Her plan is to get in, smile, and get out.
I think stories of redemption and growth are my favorite stories. I hate stagnate, one dimensional characters that can’t see past themselves. Unfortunately, Molly is so defined by her past relationship with Carter and the suffering accompanying it, that she comes off this way initially. We spend several chapters enduring her pain, old pain. After twelve years, it felt like she should have been able to share it, deal with it, and move on rather than moving constantly from place to place in a futile effort to run away from an ache that she can never shake. As a result, she came off as whiney more than hurt. It takes nearly the first third of the book to get the hostility of twelve years out of her system and we the readers have to endure it.
Carter, unlike Molly, did get on with his life even though he undoubtedly endured some injury from their separation as well. He grew up, opened several successful auto repair shops, bought a house, and continued to date. It’s no surprise when it’s he who chooses to be the grown-up and tries to fix what was broken between himself and Molly all those years ago. Molly’s plan was just to continue trying to avoid him.
An incident comes up that requires Molly to stay on much longer than the weekend of the wedding, and I was pleased to see her rise to the occasion. My only thought was, “It’s about time!” Molly uses this hiatus to work though her past with Carter. Their old chemistry is alive and well and works in Carter’s favor. Unfortunately, we don’t get enough of Carter. I really liked his character and think the story would have benefited from more of his perspective on the incident that broke these two apart.
Like book two, Hope Ignites, Hope Burns wraps up a little too quickly. After twelve years of “what if,” we should get a little more of the HEA we’ve earned. The town of Hope still holds charms for me. I like the quirky characters that make them relatable and fun. I’m looking forward to the stories that will continue to involve these characters and bring love to other pairings about town.
My Rating: B, Liked It
About the Book:
Molly Burnett dreads returning to her hometown of Hope for her sister’s wedding, especially knowing she’ll have to endure a weekend with the one man she never wants to see again. It’s only a couple of days, so Molly will try to forget her painful past with high school sweetheart Carter Richards. Because despite the bitter memories, she still can’t forget what they once meant to each other.
But when Molly is forced to extend her stay, Carter sees this as his second chance to do things right, to start over again with the only woman he’s ever loved. This time, he isn’t going to let Molly run. Together they’re going to confront the past and put it behind them, and hope for a future as bright as the flame that still burns hot between them.
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Series: Hope Series #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
Hope Burns (Hope Series #3)