(but have bought my own copy since then :P)
published by Harlequin (Mira) in August 2013
In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.Genre: Contemporary romance
As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart.
Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it...and sometimes, you find a hero.
Series: Thunder Point, Book #3
The Story: The Hero is pretty much about Devon McAllister, a young woman who out of loneliness, made some poor decisions which landed her in some kind of commune/religious order called The Fellowship where she stayed for four years. Devon never really believed what was being preached by The Fellowship, but couldn't leave because Jacob, the leader and father of her daughter, would not let her take her child with her. However, in the past few months, Jacob's behavior had become more and more erratic and aggressive and thus, when Devon had the chance, she grabbed Mercy and ran away... and ended up in Thunder Point. With the help of Rawley, who took her under his wing, Devon started to rebuild herself a life.
Spencer Lawson has recently lost his wife to cancer and needed to move away from Texas so he and his son could move on. He chose Thunder Point because it's where he found a position as high school football coach, but also because it would bring his son closer to his biological father. After meeting Devon, Spencer finds himself attracted to this courageous woman. However, Devon's initial worries about Jacob were not for naught...
My Opinion: After reading The Newcomer, I was very interested in one of the newly introduced character, Spencer Lawson, and as such, was happy to find out that he was getting his story in The Hero. Why was I intrigued by Spencer? Well it's basically the situation that he found himself in. Remember that in The Newcomer, Cooper found out that he has a son? Well that's because Spencer discovered that he wasn't the biological father of his ten years old son, Austin. Oups ^_^; What made the situation interesting for me was the fact that the mistake was genuine - there was no deceit on the mother's part - and how Spencer and Cooper handled it, especially considering that everything was further complicated by the fact that the mother was dying from cancer :( It became even more interesting when Spencer and Austin moved to Thunder Point when Spencer took the job as the new high school football job. In any case, I was really curious to read what Ms Carr had planned for him and so I requested The Hero from Netgalley :) I didn't really know what to expect after The Newcomer, but it sure wasn't the story I got with The Hero ^_^;
I make The Hero sounds very ominous, but truthfully, it wasn't all that bad LOL. Simply, I felt the story was a little awkward, especially the romance. Basically, for me, Devon and Spencer had no chemistry. I didn't understand or see why Spencer would be attracted to Devon... Sure, he found her attractive, but would attractiveness trumps all the baggage she has? And Spencer knew from the start what her story was, that she's been in a commune and was on the run. But let say that it did, that Spencer didn't care about Devon's past, was he really in a place to start a new relationship? I'm not simply talking about the fact that Spencer has just recently lost his wife, but the whole situation with Cooper and Austin. Personally, my feeling was that Spencer wasn't ready to get involved with someone... and neither was Devon. Both characters just had so much on their plate that the timing felt wrong and as a result, the romance was awkward and unbelievable for me. Perhaps if there's been more interactions between Devon and Spencer showing that they were getting to know each other, it would have been more believable... And it didn't help either that in The Hero, we were told more than shown.
Aside from the romance, I also had a few niggles with the main storyline about Devon ^_^; First, there's the fact that she was seduced by the leader and followed him to the commune. However, once she found out he had other lovers, she stopped sleeping with him and only stayed on for Mercy. Once again, I'm going to be contradictory, but please bear with me... I liked the fact that Devon didn't share her man with the other women. For me, it made it easier to accept and like Devon and continue on reading. At the same time, I don't understand why Ms Carr didn't exploit the whole setting to its full potential. She's already gone through all the trouble of setting up the commune, so why not commit completely? For readers like me? I'm also not sure how Jacob found Devon at the end and why he kidnapped Mercy. And while I liked how Devon was rebuilding a life for herself and Mercy, it did seem quite unlikely how easy everything fell into place ^_^; Everything about Devon's storyline just felt too idyllic, unreal and it bothered me.
Still, there were some good elements to The Hero :) The book definitively had more focus than The Newcomer which made for a better read and the cast of characters remains very interesting. I continued liking Spencer and Austin and enjoyed seeing how they were making it work with Cooper. I'm also intrigued by some characters such as Ashley's father, Eric, and the new doctor in town and might be easily convinced to read their books LOL. Finally, there was Rawley which turned out to be the surprise of this book and I enjoyed seeing him coming out of his shell :)
My Grade: C. All in all, The Hero was a very readable book, although the credit goes to Ms Carr's writing and the cast of characters she has created in Thunder Point more than the story itself. At this point, I'm not discounting continuing the series, but I know I won't be picking up every book either. It'll be like with the end of the Virgin River series where I'll only read the ones that interest me.