My first book of 2021! I had to start it with Robyn Carr. I discovered her thanks to the Netflix adaptation of Virgin River actually but it turned out I already owned a few of her books from the free section at the library, I’ve since collected over 20!! Anyway, to kick off what is going to be a fantastic year in reading I started with The Life She Wants. I really love the multiple series from Robyn Carr but The Life She Wants is a stand alone so sadly the story ends on the last page…unless maybe it doesn’t?
Robyn Carr is one of my favorite authors and one of the reasons for this is the undertone of the romance novel but with substance, by that I mean the other themes that course through her books are well researched and become a vital piece of the story line. Each novel always weaves family with romance and a minor theme of redemption.
In The Life She Wants we follow the story of Emma Shay Compton as she rebuilds her life after a nasty and public divorce from her thief of a husband. Emma returns to her home town after leaving to pursue college and a new life. While Emma was finding herself away from her less than great home life she is betrayed by her lifelong best friend and her boyfriend, Riley and Jock, when Riley becomes pregnant with Jock’s baby. Emma wasn’t excite to return to her childhood area and face the people of her past with the mess of a life she now carried. Finding a job, a place to live, and out run a reputation was hard to do with very few people on her side and very little money. While working a job fit for a teenager she runs into Riley’s brother who becomes an ally and the person that helps Emma rebuild her life.
Emma is always a victim, from being the step child and shunned child in her pieced together family, in her past life with Riley and Jock but also with her husband and the life that turned out to be but despite that she manages to hold her head up and continue forward and that perseverance is what allows her to let people in, drop walls and eventually find the life she desired. Sometimes we have to jump through some really crappy hoops to get to the perfect finish line.
The one character I really struggled with is Riley. I truly wanted to reach through the pages and strangle her!! She was holding a grudge that wasn’t hers to hold and consistently stood in her own way. Yes she got pregnant by her short term boyfriend that she didn’t love but then she shut him out and played the martyr card when she could have had a beautiful co-parenting relationship with Jock. Once she got over that ridiculous grudge she found and accepted love that was always there ..waiting for her to open her heart
While it was a little obvious who would end up with who in the end the story was a still fun to read and engaging. I would have liked to see a little more of Riley and Emma rebuilding their friendship but just knowing there was resolve will have to do.
I gave The Life She Wanted 4 stars, but honestly Robyn Carr could write the phone book and I would give it a 4, her words are just my favorite!