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Book Review: The Chance by Robyn Carr – Family health issues

Copyright: 2014 by Robyn Carr
Genre: Romance, social issues.

Occasionally forgetting a street name is a normal thing for a person as they age. Finding themselves lost in a familiar area can be a sign of a more significant problem. Common signs of dementia in a person can include asking the same questions over and over, forgetting common words when speaking or mixing up words like saying desk instead of couch.

The Chance is the fourth novel in the Thunder Point series by Robyn Carr. Thunder Point is a relatively small town on the Oregon Coast. Previous novels in the series include The Wanderer, The Newcomer and The Hero. Each novel feature several romances that are effected by some type of social or family issue that threaten to destroy the romances. In The Chance it was illness. One family was dealing with the devastating blow of M.S. while another found out that the patriarch of the family had Alzheimer’s. Robyn Carr’s style of storytelling includes multiple plot lines are interweaved throughout the book. In her Thunder Point series she revisits characters from past books and introduces new characters who will appear in plots of future installments. If you are looking for extended
raunchy, descriptive sex scenes, you aren’t going to find it here. There are sexual encounters but they Carr actually leaves something to the reader’s imagination.

The featured couple in The Chance consisted of Laine Carrington and Eric Gentry. We met Laine in The Hero, where she had been an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the cult that Devon and her daughter Mercy escaped from. Laine was shot in the shoulder and is in Thunder Point to recover. Eric moved to town to be near his teenage daughter. He has a rough past, which included jail time, but has since made something of his life. He is the owner of a successful service station and body shop the works on and restores classic cars and is the father of a teenage daughter, Ashley . The ex-con and the FBI agent fall in love. In the mean time, an old employee of Eric’s named Al Michel, comes to town and hits it off with Ray Anne, the thrice-married real estate agent who has lived in Thunder Point most of her life. Both are hiding secrets; he can barely read due to undiagnosed Dyslexia, and she tries to hide her age with make-up, surgery, and revealing clothing. Funny, they both figure out the secrets. But things don’t go smoothly for either couple and it is the problems that actually make this book interesting.

Al becomes a mentor to Justin, a 17-year-old boy who has two younger brothers. Justin’s father ran out on the family when his mother started showing the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. She had progressed to bedridden and following an emergency in which she was having trouble breathing, it was necessary for her to enter a nursing facility. Up until this point, the boys had been taking care of her. The two younger boys were put in an abusive foster care home. Al, who has had a problem with commitments for most of his life, considers fostering all three boys.

Laine and Eric are in love but Laine is still struggling with her inner demons. One of these was her poor relationship with her father who she had always seen as critical and disappointed in her. Her father, who lived in Boston, arrived at her door one day, confused and disoriented. It didn’t take her long to realize he was having bouts of dementia. They were able to settle their differences, however it was clear to Laine that he needed to be home in Boston and she felt an obligation to accompany him on his journey home and get him settled with some care. The two weeks she had hoped to spend in Boston away from Eric turned into six weeks with both Laine and Eric fearing their relationship was doomed.

Robyn Carr did her usual brilliant job of making the reader feel the pain for these families as they struggled through these sad family situations. In reality, it is unusual for foster parents to take on three teenage siblings. The pain of being separated from siblings, their parents and knowing that their mother is going to die before long would be unbearable for anyone. The responsibility for a parent with Alzheimer’s is devastating on many levels. There is nothing harder that watching someone you love slip away, and knowing there is nothing you can do. The Chance is a work of fiction and it was suggested that Justin’s mother was living comfortably in the nursing home and Laine eventually found the perfect caregivers to live with her father so that he could remain in his home. Of course we know neither situation could have a happy ending in the long run. Still, Carr was able to give her readers a feeling of hope, which we all need.

This book started out a little slow but ended up thought provoking and positive. The next book in the Thunder Point series will be The Promise.

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