04 June 2014

A Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand

When 22-year-old Summer Stafford’s parents split halfway through her senior year at college, Summer’s world is rocked. Everything she thought she knew—heck, everything she thought she wanted for her own life—feels like a lie. The truth is love is a risk. And the true kind, the kind that lasts, might even be a fairy tale.

Reeling from the divorce, Summer derails her own future by breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend and giving up her lifelong plans for a big-city career. She moves back home, business degree in hand. Dad needs her to fill the gaps her mother left behind; Summer needs to find who she is outside of the cookie-cutter life that failed so miserably for her parents.

Ford O’Neal’s future involves one person: himself. He doesn’t have a permanent address and he definitely doesn’t commit. To a place or a person. Raised by hippies, he plans just far enough ahead to secure his next stop, this one landing him at a work-study program at Heritage Plantation where he can grow his own herbal and medicinal creations.

Summer is gorgeous and smart and fun to be with, the perfect way to pass five months. It won’t be love—Ford’s got too many things to accomplish, too many places to go, before he settles down. Yet Summer pulls him in, challenging him to rethink his own philosophy.

When Ford’s five months are up, each of them must decide if love is really worth the risk.

What a beautiful message this book brings to the readers.  It doesn’t matter how much you have your life planned out, things change and the need to be flexible and learn to bloom where you are planted happens in life.  This is what Summer has to learn.  After finishing college she had plans for a big city career, a long term boyfriend and hopes of a prosperous future but a visit home over Christmas changed all of that.  She had to come to terms with the fact her parents happy marriage was nothing but a fraud and now they were getting divorced.  She was going to have to come home after graduation to take over the business part of the plantation for her father.  Giving up on any other dreams she had such as a happy and loving relationship, she broke it off with her boyfriend and moved home.  Love was a joke; it wasn’t real and could never happen for her if her own parents couldn’t make it work.
Ford is a free spirit who never seems to be willing to plant roots anywhere.  He takes life as it comes and approaches everything with a smile and positive attitude.  He is on scholarship under Summer’s father to work for a limited amount of time on the plantation.  He is experimenting with soil and vitamins in raising herbs and other plants but he is also starting to make Summer an obsession as well. 
Once they both admit that this could be something they are willing to risk their hearts and dreams for, they begin a journey of self-exploration and realize that what they feared really wasn’t reality. Summer is going to have to deal with the real reason for the divorce of her parents and where she is going to take the relationship with her mother.  Ford will have to accept that maybe there is a reason good enough to stop dreaming of moving and begin to settle down. 
Both bring to the other what they need; they just have to be willing to accept the gift.  I loved this story, it was captivating to watch the characters develop and change as life and truth bring about new opportunities.  The author did a wonderful job at balancing the changes so they were realistic and the reader could think back to a time in their lives that this happen to them.  I love when an author can give us a reflective moment so we can really feel the story. I will say that the first half of the book moved slower than what I would like, but I could see once the real action began, we needed that time for strong character development.  With that time, the last half of the book was more intense and emotionally driven and I am not sure we would have experienced that without the strong character development.
I also want to mention the secondary characters.  I would certainly not be sad to have a book come out about Summer’s brother.  He was a riot and kept me in stitches with his care free attitude.  The rest of the men and women on the plantation added just enough love and stability to the story to be important yet not over shadowing the main characters, once again brilliant balancing work by the author.  I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a book of love, acceptance and self-growth.  
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G2DUO0U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00G2DUO0U&linkCode=as2&tag=crysmanrev-20&linkId=KB2G2S2OFNUCT7SS   http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-risk-worth-taking-heather-hildenbrand/1117194213?ean=2940148718925&itm=1&usri=a+risk+worth+taking

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