Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Divorce has forced Andrea Henderson to accept the hospitality of her parents' lake house and to dust off her barely-used counseling degree, taking a job working with families referred by Child Protection Services caseworkers in rural Texas. Her first day is already not going well when she gets the news that her 14-year-old son has gotten in trouble with the local game warden, Mart McClendon, for climbing an off-limits rock formation and boating without permission and with alcohol on board. The parents of most of the other teens opt to pay the fine, but Andrea chooses to have Dustin attend the water safety course as a sort of diversion program.
Mart McClendon is not impressed with Andrea's parenting skills when they first meet. She is late, and he is exhausted and in no mood to put up with mothers who shield their punk kids from consequences and try to buy their way out of trouble. But when they begin working to figure out how an older local man with brain damage ended up caring for a traumatized small girl about five or six years old, he soon realizes Andrea is not the spoiled rich woman he assumed her to be.
Both Andrea and Mart have demons to face, remnants and reminders of their pasts. The challenge is learning to trust the future and let love back into their lives.
Johanna Parker and Scott Sowers take turns narrating chapters from Andrea and Mart's points of view. Their voices bring the story alive, Johanna's inviting you to linger and savor the warmth of the words, Scott's evoking the sounds of crusty old Texas fishermen.
Faith and faith struggles are an integral part of this story, but never once did Lisa Wingate get preachy. Rather, God and the church were just part of the fabric of life for most of the characters--much like they would be if someone told the story of my life or of anyone raised in a community of faith, no matter the religion. I'm so thankful to have found a Christian fiction author who doesn't make me cringe!
For readers' advisors: character doorway, with story, setting, and language sneaking in as secondary doorways. No sex, and I honestly can't remember if there were a couple of swear words or not, but probably not.
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