Thrills and Swoon:  Wild Iris Ridge

Thrills and Swoon: Wild Iris Ridge

All of the books that I’ve reviewed for #ThrillsandSwoon this month have reflected my own life in one way or another.  And RaeAnne Thayne’s Wild Iris Ridge is no different.

It’s a novel about finding yourself again, after everything falls apart.

Lucy Drake, the novel’s heroine, is braver than many of the heroines we read about.  Fired from her job, she returns to the place she was dumped as an angry teenager after her mother’s death. 

And in addition to all of that, she has panic attacks to deal with.

Panic attacks have, in the past, been mistaken as an immature response to a stressful situation; in fact, they stem from the basic fight-or-flight response.  Large release of adrenaline, brought on by situations that others may deem completely mundane, cause the hyperventilation and dizziness that are most common during attacks.

Lucy’s started after the death of her great aunt, and I think that it is so important that Thayne doesn’t just remove panic attacks from the narrative when Lucy falls in love – though the frequency lessens – we see Brendan Caine’s reaction to them.

But, of course, she does fall in love.  And with her cousin’s widower no less.

Brendan is the kind of romantic hero who’s alpha enough to be strong and dependable (we’re talking fire chief) and also sensitive enough so that he doesn’t come across as a jerk.  He’s a father to two adorable children and part of the loving family that grounds all of Thayne’s Hope’s Crossing books.

Panic attacks aside, it’s a lovely read.  Faith and Carter – Brendan’s children – are utterly adorable and well-drawn.  They’re not saccharine sweet and they’ve enough wilfulness to echo real life.  And the town itself seems to evoke the warmth of a close-knit community.

But perhaps it is Crystal, Lucy’s younger half-sister, who is the most interesting character.

In some ways, Crystal is a double for Lucy herself – the child she once was, with all her fears of abandonment – and so, even without extensive flashbacks, we can understand her better.  And she’s interesting in her right two.  She’s harsh and bitter and has got herself into so much trouble at school, but the chance to redeem herself comes hand in hand with a new puppy and new responsibilities.

Wild Iris Ridge is the final book in the Hope’s Crossing series and any number of the characters that we’ve come to love over the last couple of books make appearances.  I’d highly recommend checking out the other books:  Blackberry Summer, Woodrose Mountain, Sweet Laurel Falls, Currant Creek Valley, Willowleaf Lane and Christmas in Snowflake Canyon.

Next week we turn to erotica and Tiffany Reisz’s The Saint.  Don’t miss it!!