Robyn Carr The Homecoming (Thunder Point #6)
Harlequin MIRA / August 26, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital
At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.
Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he's been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he's become a better, humbler version of his former self.
Winning over his father isn't the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he's finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?
I disagree with so many platitudes, but the one I can wholeheartedly embrace is “when life gives you lemons, made lemonade. Part of Robyn Carr’s appeal is she knows how to cleverly incorporate truism like this within her story. And of course the other is that she creates such pleasing, admirable characters. In book six of the Thunder Point series, The Homecoming, both Seth and Iris have learned to make lemonade as you’ll find out over the course of the book. But their appealing nature is clear from the first moment you meet them.
Seth caught sight of Iris McKinley, his next-door neighbor and childhood friend when he was growing up. She was still riding her bike to school, but now she wore a shirt and carried a briefcase in the basket. When the wind caught her shirt it revealed tight, black bike shorts underneath. The kids raced her. The school buses passed her, honked their horns and the kids leaned out their windows to wave. Iris jingled the bell mounted on her handlebars and waved in response.
Iris just leaps off the page as a jubilant, fun-loving person, happy in her skin with a joie de vivre for life. Iris on her bike racing other kids just left such a vivid picture in my mind.
Iris’s life wasn’t always this joyful, though. She was a late bloomer—awkward, tongue tied, and low on the hierarchy of popularity in school. She knows first- hand what it feels like not to fit it especially, when the boy you care about, is the most popular boy in school. That is why she is a school counselor now, so she can make a difference with kids who are in school now.
Now, Seth is back, and wanting to be friends again. But she carries a hurt that has a hold on her. It is going to take her a bit to work out how to make lemonade out of this situation:
Why? She asked herself. Why the hell does he have to be here? Is this just some vindictive angel’s idea of a slow and miserable death for me? What did I ever do to deserve this? He could be here for a long time! How am I going to avoid him? Especially if he’s the person I have to work with if I have teenagers in trouble?
Really, hadn’t she been through enough in high school?
The book blurb tells a lot about Seth’s situation, leaving for a big career in football that is cut short. Then dealing with his father’s disappointment and disapproval. Now he wants to mend relationships:
He wished he could reconnect with Iris. When they were kids, they’d been inseparable, playing kickball, softball, fishing, hanging out on the beach or sitting at one of their houses playing video games for hours. In junior high and high school they had taken different paths—he was on all the sports teams and she was doing girl things, plus helping her mother in the flower shop. But she’d always been his closest friend even if he didn’t admit that in mixed company. He could tell Iris anything.
But this mending is a lot more challenging than he ever dreamed:
“I don’t think this is going to work out for you, Iris,” he said
"Dodging me all the time. Avoiding me. Pretending you have important business elsewhere or appointments you’re late for. All you excuses. Sooner or later you’ll have to actually talk to me.”
Like many of Carr’s characters, Seth and Iris has experienced their share of hard knocks. Maybe that is why it seems so joyful when the girl nabs the boy next door.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of The Homecoming by Robyn Carr, out August 26, 2014:
Leigh Davis, blogger