Berkley / July 3, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital
Single dad and fishing boat captain Matt Fletcher deferred his own dreams to support his innkeeper parents and build a future for his sixteen-year-old son. Matt has learned to weather life’s storms by steering a steady emotional course...and keeping a commitment-free approach to love.
Newcomer Allison Carter came to Dare Island to escape the emotional demands of her wealthy family. The young teacher aims to build a life here, to make a lasting place for herself. She doesn’t want to be another Woman Who Once Dated Matt Fletcher. It’s both tempting and dangerous to believe she can be something more.
Then Matt’s brother Luke makes a sudden return home, with a child of his own—and a request that will change all their lives. With a child’s welfare at stake, Matt must turn to Allison to teach him to let go of the past, open his eyes...and follow his heart.
Expectations. Whether spoken or unspoken, they make people’s lives difficult. In Virginia Kantra’s Carolina Home, both the hero and heroine have to deal with sets of expectations that complicate their lives in difficult ways.
The expectations placed upon the hero, Matt, can be summed up into one word: dependability. He is expected to be there for everybody and everything in his family.
Everyone relied on Matt. Everyone expected he would be there, would stand up for them, would shoulder their burdens without complaint. Without help.
And so Matt has internalized all of these expectations, which is rather convenient for someone still hurting from the aftermath a marriage gone really awry.
The expectations placed on the heroine, Allison, are entirely different. They’re not about what she’s supposed to do in her life, but how she’s supposed to do it. Who she’s supposed to marry, where she’s supposed to live:
“They want parental bragging rights, “ she explained. “They don’t like my job, they’re disappointed in my friends, they think I’ve wasted my opportunities. “The least I can do, in their minds, is provide them with a big society wedding and a son-in-law they can talk about to their acquaintances”
They are conditions. And so Alison has spent her life running from these sorts of expectations, trying to find ones that fit her best.
This wasn’t the first time, as her mother frequently pointed out, that she’d changed direction or location in hope of finding herself.
Which hasn’t left her much time to focus on staying in one place.
These two people with conflicting expectations and even more conflicting ways to deal with them, have found themselves meeting in the middle.
“This isn’t about what I want.”
“Because I don’t get what I want.” His voice was as flat and factual as a brick wall.
“That’s just sad,” she said. Wrong. “That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.”
A muscle bunched in his jaw. “I’m not looking for your pity. I worked damm hard to get where I am...To get what I need. To provide for my kid. That’s enough for me.”
Will they be able to find their way to a love that meets all of their own expectations? Not that I’m spoiling much, but, well…
I have responsibilities here, the kids, my parents. I don’t know if it’s fair to ask you to wait that long, to take me on, to take all of us on. But god knows I love you. I need you.
If I were in Alison’s shoes, I wouldn’t deny someone like Matt who said something like that to me. Expectations or no.
Stacey Agdern, @nystacey