Title: Her Hopes and Dreams
Author: Terri Osburn
Series: Ardent Springs #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 15th Nov
As a newly single mother, Carrie Farmer isn’t quite ready to jump back into the dating pool in Ardent Springs—especially since her last marriage was such a disaster. But if anyone could entice her to wade in a bit, it would be her hunky neighbor, Noah Winchester. He’s the perfect man: strong, protective, and smoking hot. But her eyes have deceived her before, and she’s no longer willing to hand over her heart so easily.
After completing several tours in the Middle East, Noah returns to his hometown a very different man. The former soldier’s plan to rest and relax is soon waylaid by the intriguing woman next door and her heart-stealing little girl. Something—or someone—put shadows in Carrie’s lovely eyes, and he’s determined to clear them away. But when hidden demons can no longer be ignored, the couple gets a reminder from an unexpected source that love truly can conquer all.
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
This series is all about second chances and this one comes along with new beginnings and healing. Although it deals with two serious issues – domestic abuse and PTSD – it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact it’s mostly another enjoyable, heart-warming trip to Ardent Springs where friendship and hope are never in short supply.
Carrie will be a familiar character to regular readers. She’s been through a lot, not just in recent times, but over the years. But now, widowed and raising her young daughter, her life seems to be firmly on track once more and moving (maybe a little swiftly) in new directions. I like Carrie. Life hasn’t treated her well, and she has made a few mistakes in the past, but she’s strong enough to carry on and do everything possible to provide a good life for her daughter. I do wish she’d discussed the breakdown of her marriage to Spencer a little more, because it’s been a while since I read His First and Last and newcomers to the series might not get the full picture about what drove her into Patch’s arms in the first place.
Like Noah doesn’t. Wow, does he have a chip on his shoulder at the beginning. He’s brusque and rude and judgemental and I really wasn’t sure I’d ever like him. Thankfully, he also can admit when he’s wrong, and the relationship that blossoms between him and Carrie is lovely. They make a cute little family, helping each other to heal and move on.
Of course it’s not all plain sailing, because there are troubles brewing. Not just with Noah’s PTSD but with Carrie’s need to help other women who were once in her situation. This book does a great job of laying the foundations for both of these issues, but I do feel that things towards the end were a little rushed through to ensure a HEA. I also feel that at times Noah’s character wasn’t given much depth. Even though he’s local, he doesn’t really seem part of Ardent Springs, and other than his PTSD and links to Patch’s family, there’s not a lot to him. I wish more had been made of his love of bikes.
Away from these two, I loved catching up with the familiar faces of Ardent Springs again. The friendships have always been one of the most enjoyable factors of the series, and this is no different. The limo scene was brilliant – poor Cooper!
So overall I enjoyed this one. A little more depth in certain places might have been nice, but it does deal with difficult issues in a good, thoughtful way. If you like small town romance, a strong cast of friends and a romance that mixes a little heat with a lot of sweetness, then give this a go – give this whole series a go.
Her Hopes and Dreams is out 15th November.
Visit Terri Osburn for more details.