Monday, March 28, 2016

Book Review: You're the One That I Want by Susan May Warren

I have only read two novels and one novella in this series, but from these small peeks into the Christiansen family I think I have a good grasp on them.  These are some of the story lines I've found: two unwed pregnancies, multiple fistfights--one at a family wedding and one where one brother nearly lost his eye, a sister who married the man who nearly cost her brother his eye, at least two brothers who left home and told no one of their whereabouts, a brother who wants to marry his brother's girlfriend and raise his child, a near divorce between the parents, and now a brother who is accused of murder.  So, not exactly a picture-perfect family by any means.  But somehow their stories, no matter how unlikely, draw you in and make you want to know them more.
The final Christiansen Family novel, You're the One That I Want, follows Owen Christiansen, who left home after nearly losing his eye in a fight and ending his NHL career at the same time.  His family doesn't know where he is, but his older brother, Casper, has gone searching for him.  (For his own selfish reasons, in my opinion.)  Owen has been working on a crab boat off the coast of Alaska, and has fallen in love with the owner's daughter, Scotty McFlynn.  One night in the middle of a terrible storm, Scotty is tossed overboard and Owen jumps in to save her.  As they huddle in a life boat, nearly freezing to death, Owen proposes.  When they are rescued Scotty has second thoughts about her hasty answer when Casper shows up in the hospital leveling terrible accusations at his brother.  Scotty walks away from Owen to return to her job as a police officer.  Then she is asked to accompany a man accused of murder back to Minnesota.  Casper is shocked to learn that he is suspected of the murder of Monte Riggs back home, but Scotty agrees to travel with him and Owen and ultimately to prove his innocence.  The relationship between Owen and Casper is strained, and as the evidence mounts against Casper for Monte's murder, the family faces its greatest test yet. 
I have not read the book that contains the story of Casper, Owen and Raina, so maybe that was the reason I felt so negatively towards Casper in this book.  I loved Owen and Scotty, and felt they were treated very unfairly by Casper.  I hated Casper's attitude that he was trying to do the right thing by denying Owen any chance to know his daughter, and his feelings that he was the hero for bringing the "prodigal son" back home.  I think the situation between Owen, Casper and Raina was very odd and I have no idea what the answer for such circumstances could be.  I was, however, disappointed that the author didn't seem to know, either, so she just let the matter drop.
Now that I've made you think that I hated this book, I need to convince you that I really did love it.  I loved that Owen wasn't backwards about his feelings for Scotty from the very beginning. He saved her life and proposed so sweetly even while he was nearly dying in the boat.  When Casper told him about Raina and his daughter, he was so torn, wanting to do the right thing by Raina, but knowing that he loved Scotty.  I loved Scotty's character also.  She was tough and hard on the surface, but underneath she really loved Owen.  She didn't think she would be a good wife, but she couldn't deny that she wanted to try for him.  I loved the scene when she let his sisters dress her up to flirt with him.  I admired her determination to prove Casper's innocence, even when he was unkind to her.   The title turned out to be perfect when both Casper and Owen chose the "one" they wanted to be with. 
One day I really do plan to go back and read about Grace and Max, Eden and Jase, Casper and Raina and Derek and Ivy.  Even though the Christiansen family is extremely flawed, they always come through for one another in the end and that makes this series worth reading!

Happy Reading!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own and a favorable review was not required.  You're the One That I Want is available now. 

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