Lauren is a woman haunted by a traumatizing incident that made her famous overnight. People see her as a hero or ‘The Hostage Girl’. She wrote a book about the harrowing experience but Lauren never really recovered mentally or emotionally from it. At the urging of her publicist, she escapes to Dare Island to recuperate from the anxieties that debilitate her. Jack differs from the usual types of men she attracts. He is the first man to make her feel safe and protected, and he is able to see through the pretense of her fame to the vulnerable woman lying beneath.
Lauren is a survivor. I can only imagine the tenacity and inner strength it must have taken for her to cope from the aftermath of the hostage situation she endured the year prior and the fame that followed it. Lauren did not bemoan the difficult hand fate dealt her, instead, she manages to pull through, a little damaged for sure and floundering to find a niche for herself. That she is dealing with anxieties makes her a less-than-perfect heroine I enjoy reading about. I like how Lauren did not allow those rough times to cloud her desire to help others but refueled her determination to assist those in need.
I have a weakness for the quiet, brooding types. Jack is an alpha but a reserved, almost closed-off emotionally. He has been dealt a bad hand and it colors his view for a time. Yet, Lauren’s honesty and straightforwardness on what she wants slowly mends his outlook on life. I like how Jack gets Lauren. He understands some of what she is going through, that the façade born from others’ expectations is her way to perceive strength. It was cute how both Lauren and Jack analyze each other at the start of their relationship, she using her major in psychology and Jack his detective skills. How they played their responses from the cues the other showed shaped their relationship.
Small town romances are a fondness of mine. Perhaps it stems from growing up in a small town so that I can easily relate, and CAROLINA BLUES met my requirements. CAROLINA BLUES is book four in Virginia Kantra’s A DARE ISLAND series. Unfortunately, I have only read the first book in this series; however, it did not hinder my enjoyment of the story. It can stand alone but has subtle hints of past story lines from the previous books. There is one scene in the book that brought a smile to my face only because it had deep The Princess Bride movie references.
CAROLINA BLUES is a sweet, light, and feel good book. I enjoyed the fact that there was no deep, dark, sinister plot. The story instead focuses on the hero and heroine’s growth from the mental ghosts that plague them. If readers enjoyed her SELKIE series, they will love this series.