Rekindled Dreams by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 7 October 2013
When museum curator Vena Fenton returns to her small Montana hometown, she’s forced to live under the same roof as Finnian Quaid, the star of more than one teenage fantasy. Finnian is now an environmental lobbyist, making a bid for senate, and is as dreamy as ever.
Finnian needs a more settled image if he wants to get ahead in the polls. In order to do that, he needs a wife. With Vena living under his roof, his problem seems solved. As the romantic sparks fly, there's more at risk than Finnian's political aspirations. Can they keep their eye on the prize, or will their growing love derail them both?
Rekindled Dreams is a story that's a little bit sweet and a little bit silly. It's a story about coming home, being true to yourself and have a second chance at your dreams. It's premise was promising but I felt the delivery was just okay.
Vena Fenton has come a long way from the shy, awkward girl who stuttered. She's now living her dream as an assistant curator at a museum. She's in line for a promotion and has an idea to ensure it. But she's having trouble with her creative process. So she leaves on a two week vacation back home - a small town in Montana - for inspiration.
Finnian Quaid has been working as a lobbyist for several years. He's back home in Dry Creek doing some renovations on his parents' bed-and-breakfast, while he contemplates a run at a Senate seat. He needs to present the picture of a family man and Vena being back seems to answer his prayer.
The reigniting of Vena's feelings for Finn while he developed feelings of his own occurs over the course of the story. This is challenging since they have to deal with the gossipy old women of Dry Creek, lots of misunderstandings, an arrest and the possible fallout hurting Finn's political aspirations.
I felt as thought the plot meandered in quite a few places. We were told things or taken through events from the past that didn't seem relevant to the story. Also, while the development of Vena and Finn's relationship is gradual, I never really felt it. I would have liked more backstory on Vena's childhood/teenage feelings about her parents and Finn. And Finn seemed to go from worrying about Vena's mental stability to being in love rather quickly.
I did enjoy Vena and Finn as characters, though. Watching as they overcome insecurities and realize what they each deem important in life was heartwarming. I liked the detail given to the museum project Vena was working on. It was interesting history, and I enjoyed reading the vignettes as Vena wrote them. I couldn't help thinking she'd missed her calling as a writer. And the messes she could get herself into every time she opened her mouth made me understand her reluctance to speak publicly. Finn's interest and talent in restoration of old buildings was also a neat touch. Their shared interest in history allowed Vena and Finn to connect in a very tangible way.
I also adored the Gray Hairs, the gossipy ladies in town. Tootie and Ruth were a couple of humorous gals, despite their nosiness. You could tell they only wanted Vena and Finn to be happy - together - and did what they could to make that happen.
I won't be surprised to see a sequel involving Vena's sister, Thia. I liked getting to meet her, even though she was kinda prickly and incited Vena's insecurities.
Overall, Rekindled Dreams was cute. It had some poignant moments and some giggle-inducing ones as well. However, I thought it would have benefited from a more solid plot arc and some further backstory to induce deeper emotions about the characters.
Finn stood at the entrance of the gazebo, grinning. “Should have figured you’d be here.”
“Hi.” Her jumbled thoughts prevented a clever response. “You look tired.”
“Today’s been hard—full of facts and figures.” He stepped forward and held out his arms. “Just seeing you makes me feel better. I need a hug, Elfie.”
Without hesitation, she walked into his embrace, melting against his firm body. His arms grasped her shoulders, and then crossed slowly over her back and molded her body to his.
Finn groaned. “You don’t know how much I’ve wanted this since this morning.” He turned his face into her hair and inhaled. “This is what’s important. Not what’s going on in some corporate boardroom.”
Vena stroked her fingers along the corded muscles of his neck and played with the ends of his hair. Their children would all have heads covered with masses of curls. Whoa. She was letting herself get carried away. What mattered was he was holding her, telling her with his body that he needed her. She could give him a calm place to come home to, could be his anchor in life’s storm.
His head dipped lower, and his lips nuzzled kisses along her neck to her shoulder. The brush of his stubble on tender skin made her shiver.
“Don’t you have anything warmer than this?” His voice was gruff, but his eyes were caring as he arranged the crocheted shawl over her exposed shoulders. Using his grip on the cloth, he pulled her close, and his mouth covered hers in a possessive kiss. “How was the rest of your day? I’ve been—”
Lips still tingling, Vena came to a decision. She didn’t want to talk. The hours since he’d left her in this exact spot had dragged, especially when every single thought came back to Finn.
From under the shawl, she twined her arms around his waist, hands locking behind his back. Pressing against the heat at the tops of her legs, she gave herself up to the rush of wanting. She tasted his mouth from one angle and then another, the pull of desire tugging deep in her belly. So often, she had thought of this, and vowed to make this night unforgettable.
No matter what came tomorrow.
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As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters
having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.