Saturday, August 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Take A Chance On Me (Review)

Susan May Warren is back, with a new series - one that focuses on the Christiansen family who remain connected because of the family resort, located on the outskirts of Deep Haven, Minn.

Readers familiar with Warren's most recent works will be familiar with Deep Haven, as it's been the setting for her romance series.

This book, the first in a six-book series, focuses on a family - the good, the bad and the ugly. In describing this new series, Warren said she loves to write stories about families, watching how they interatct and grow together through challenges and victories.

"I conceived this series as I watched my own children begin to grow up and deal with romance and career and futures," Warren said. "I love Deep Haven, and it’s the perfect setting for a resort, so I crafted a family, much like the families I know, who run a resort.

"They want to pass on their legacy to their children...but their children don’t know if they want it. It’s sort of a parallel theme to the legacy of faith we instill in our children. As they grow older, they need to decide whether it is their faith too. It’s a saga about family and faith and what happens when
those collide with real life."

Warren sets the series on a small  vacation town in northern Minnesota where she spent her childhood.

"It’s located on Lake Superior, surrounded by pine and birch and the sense of small town and home," Warren said. "Populated by everyone from artists to lumberjacks, it’s Mitford, or perhaps Northern Exposure gone Minnesotan. Quaint, quirky and beautiful, it’s the perfect place to escape for a vacation"

Warren said she created the series as a way to examine culture and children today.

"I started to take a look at the big questions we are faced with as parents and as young people;
the issues that affect us as a culture, as well as personally," Warren said. "I wanted these books to go beyond family drama, beyond a great romance to raise bigger questions and stir truths that we might
pass along to others.

"This story is about our propensity in our culture to blame others for what goes wrong in our lives and and how this alienates us from each other, and ultimately, God."

The first book is based around the life of Darek, the oldest brother in the family - the leader and hero.

"He’s a wild land firefighter and a widower who’s had to give up his job to come home and run the resort and care for his young son," Warren said. "Darek doesn’t realize he has a problem. He lives with anger on his shoulder, hating the man who killed his wife (his best friend). His real problem is that he can’t forgive himself.

"In this first story, readers meet the family, hang out at the resort and discover that God can redeem
even a heart of stone, if we take a chance on Him."

Ultimately, as she told Darek's story, Warren said she hopes her readers identify with a person who feels they "just can't get past the anger they have for someone else to live in joy again."

"It’s for parents who see their children making bad choices and don’t know where to turn," Warren said. "It’s for people who believe that no one will ever really love them because of who they are, or the things they’ve done. It’s for people who need the courage to take a second chance on love and faith and family.

"I’m hoping readers walk away with a sense of how much God loves them, and that
yes, He can heal the angry and broken-hearted."

On the scale of one to five, I give this book a consistent, solid three. Warren is a prolific author who can tell a fabulous tale. While I enjoy the books that focus on the humor genre more, Take A Chance on Me allows her to tell about God's love and grace in a new way - using a deeper storyline.

As Warren has been developing her characters and storylines, and probably as her children have aged and become adults, she has consistently delved into issues that "older" adults (aka those with a little bit of seasoning from life) face.

Darek's story is hard to read at times, but it does show what happens when anger and grief control a person's life, locking them into the past.

Warren is creative, solid and talented. readers picking up this series, or honestly, any of her books, will enjoy diving into the life in and around Deep Haven.

More About The Book
Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

More About The Author
From Susan: Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I'm a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I'm an adventurer -- having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years.

Probably that's why my characters can't sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another -- they're too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories, that I hope inspire and entertain!

Online Resources
Buy it on Amazon 
More from the publisher: here
Read an excerpt: here
A Q&A With Warren: here

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher, Tyndale House. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

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