I absolutely love to read. As an English teacher, some say that’s nothing unusual, but I really love to read. In fact, a dear friend and colleague of mine, Shelley Crawford Love, once joked in a class we were taking saying, “That Carol Dawkins will read ANYTHING.” We laughed because it’s true, but I also read so much that few characters or storylines “stick” with me. In fact, I can’t even remember the title of the book that Shelley was referring to. I remember that the novel was about a woman who was grieving her father, but that storyline seemed minor to the work she was doing with hawks. I read Every.Last.Word. Note I said that I “read” each word; however, I wasn’t particularly enthralled with the work. The important thing is that although I can’t remember the title or even the author’s name, the work certainly revealed something to me about myself through Shelley’s comment. I love to read…and write.
My reading preferences are pretty eclectic, so it’s difficult for me to choose one genre over another, but there are some I only read when they are brought to my attention and though that list is short, romance novels are high on that list. It’s not that I don’t believe in love but rather I’ve never found a love story I enjoy so much as the one I live.
However, I absolutely adore local authors, in part because they show us that we, too, can write that next novel, but also because well, they live “here,” in the place that has nurtured me. So, when HM Thomas released her latest novel, What We Deserve, I was on Amazon’s waiting list. I had enjoyed another of her novels, The Right to Surrender and though it’s been a couple of years since I read it, I still remember Finn and Gretchen and want to see what they are doing now. That is good character development.
Though What We Deserve is quite different from the former title, her character development is the same. I identified with Miranda Lawson and the loss she suffered as I rooted for Logan Pearson to finally get it right — even though his “bad boy” tendencies threatened to ruin things at every turn.
I never like book reviews that give too much away, so I won’t do that here, but I will say that Miranda Lawson is a therapist who truly cares about her patients and the world around her, and it nearly costs her everything – not once, but twice. Her profession and her concern for others drive much of this story, but readers will readily relate to her passion, compassion, and empathy. And although we need more Mirandas in this world, these traits are also the things that frustrated me about her the most — likely because I saw many of those same flaws in myself. The ability to care for others is a gift few possess, and those who have it seldom know how to control it. Miranda Lawson is guilty as charged and at times that is frustrating, but also redemptive, in a way.
The plot in this novel is pretty straightforward, though HM Thomas is always good for a plot twist, which is something that makes her a pretty appealing author. Though an easy read, it’s not one I would teach due to the highly charged sexual encounters, but what’s a romance novel without sex…and lots of it…in full description? You’ll have to read it to see what I mean – this is a “family-friendly” blog. 🙂
HM Thomas will only improve with each novel she writes, and she has raw talent that deserves a chance. Time spent with her characters is productive not only because Thomas allows us an entertaining respite from our own crazy lives, but also because her characters often make us examine parts of ourselves, and that, is always time well spent.