Publication date: September 30th 2014
My rating: 3 stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
A novel of small-town hearts and big dreams...
Molly Burnett dreads returning to her hometown of Hope for her sister’s wedding, especially knowing she’ll have to endure a weekend with the one man she never wants to see again. It’s only a couple of days, so Molly will try to forget her painful past with high school sweetheart Carter Richards. Because despite the bitter memories, she still can’t forget what they once meant to each other.
But when Molly is forced to extend her stay, Carter sees this as his second chance to do things right, to start over again with the only woman he’s ever loved. This time, he isn’t going to let Molly run. Together they’re going to confront the past and put it behind them, and hope for a future as bright as the flame that still burns hot between them.
I was excited to get my hands on Hope Burns because I’ve been wondering what went wrong with Molly and Carter. The past books in the series have featured mysterious references to a romance that didn’t end well and residual feelings on both sides.
Molly has been gone from Hope for the last twelve years, moving from town to town when the mood strikes her. She claims to have this wanderlust, but the truth of the matter is that a bad breakup with her high school sweetheart, Carter, sent her running. Now that her sister, Emma is getting married and she’s the maid of honor, Molly has no choice but to go back and face her past. She ends up having to stay longer and help care for her mother when she’s injured.
Carter suspects Molly has been absent from Hope all these years because of their breakup, but he’s never found out for sure. He’s gone on with his life and dated but no has ever really measured up to Molly. Seeing her again brings that all back, but he knows she’ll be moving on as soon as she gets the chance. When her mother’s injuries force her to stay, Molly and Carter can no longer ignore the ever present chemistry and longing between them and so they start up again. Carter won’t pressure Molly into defining what they have because he senses her hesitancy and feels like she could bolt out of town with the slightest pressure.
I was worried that Hope Burns would be a constant back and forth between Carter and Molly, with Molly giving in and then pushing him away every other chapter. I was thankful that wasn’t the case for the most part, and this story was more like a journey back to each other. What happened in the past was sad, but it was something that probably could’ve been worked through had they been more mature or if Molly hadn’t taken off. Such is young love.
The spark and magnetism they shared back then came back to life immediately and their relationship becomes passionate, but comfortable as well. Those years they spent together in the past were because they got along so well and had that special something that just made them click. This made their years of separation even sadder to me because it just felt like a colossal waste of time. I was happy that they were getting a second chance at something that seemed meant to be.
I was a little miffed at Molly because she neglected her relationship with her family and sister. She hurt herself more than anyone with her decision to leave and stay away, but she also hurt her family. The fact Molly blew back into town without sharing in Emma’s wedding more and taking on the normal maid-of-honor duties ticked me off. She was fortunate Emma didn’t hold her selfish behavior against her.
I wished there was more communication with Molly and Carter. Molly denies her desires for long term because she didn’t want to be hurt again. Carter never gave any indication he didn’t want more with her, so I didn’t get why Molly held back when things were so amazing between them. Also, I wished Carter would’ve shared his feelings on the past, how he hurt as well, instead of ignoring the elephant in the room. His feelings about the past were barely touched on and only just brought up at the very end.
One thing I did appreciate is the fact that there was very little angst or drama and any frustrations I felt were short lived. Carter and Molly drew closer and closer until finally acknowledging what they knew deep down all along.