Title: Live: The Burnside Series
Author: Mary Ann Rivers
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary romance series—sure to please readers of Ruthie Knox, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis—where love can be found unexpectedly.
If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.
Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.
Mary Ann Rivers does it again in her full-length novel debut. Get ready to be swept away by her story-telling. LIVE is as much about the love story of Destiny and Hefin as it is about these two people rediscovering the love for themselves.
Destiny Burnside, or Des, to family and friends, has been in an employment slump for months now since her father’s death and she constantly comes to the town library for job hunting. That’s where she “met” Hefin Thomas, “met” being the defining word as they have not been introduced at all and the extent of their interaction is when she ogles him at the library. He’s one of the highlights of Destiny’s day, even more so when it is currently filled with thoughts of her constant failure to land a job, of trying to help with the recovery of her sister who was in a motor accident, and of somehow trying to keep her family together, since that Burnside siblings lost their father. What she didn’t know was that the ogling went both ways.
Hefin Thomas is currently working on a restoration project for the library. He’s originally from England but moved to the States when he got married. Unfortunately, his marriage didn’t work out, leaving him divorced and his heart scarred. His aware of Destiny Burnside since the first time he saw her enter the library. But his little “crush” on Destiny can turn into a complication when one day he could not help himself when he saw her breakdown and cry. He didn’t have time for a long-term and serious relationship. Not when he decided he needed to get back to England in order to find what he seemed to have lost since his divorce.
From that first touch of Hefin’s hand on Destiny’s knee as he tried to comfort her in what she deemed a pretty embarrassing breakdown, in the library no less, I knew I was in it for the long haul. Because I wanted to see how they would change each other’s lives. And boy did they ever.
Hefin has found himself lost since his marriage collapsed and the painful part for him is that he blames himself for the failure. He has grown resentful of his ex-wife when they were still together not because she didn’t love him but because he somehow could not find himself as himself when they moved to the States. I love how Mary Ann Rivers presented this conflict with Hefin. You could see how it must have happened in the past and you understand the reasons behind it. And you also understand that Hefin somehow needs to open himself up to acceptance: acceptance of the fact that yes, he was at fault but then a marriage is not a relationship of one alone. And I love how Destiny stirs him towards that realization. Apart from his divorce, you just know that Hefin is finding himself lost somehow. Adrift. He plans to return to England where he hopes to reconnect with his past and be able to start anew towards his future.
In the outset, I initially thought that Hefin had the more complicated and heavier of the conflicts in the story. But if you’ve read Mary Ann Rivers before, you’ll know that her characters are multi-faceted, layered, and deep. And Destiny Burnside is no different. I was surprised to find myself realizing the conflicts and complications of Destiny’s life much the same time as Hefin starts to discover them. Because that’s also the time Hefin realizes that Destiny is the kind of person who likes to take care of people. And that caring personality meant that you don’t get to see what her worries or her problems are like because it doesn’t show. She doesn’t show it because that’s part of her nature.
The love story of these two was heartbreaking and heartwarming to read at the time. Heartbreaking because you know these two have set a sort of deadline for their time together, knowing that Hefin is scheduled to return to England. Heartwarming because you know neither time nor place would matter when you know change is bound to happen within yourself, with the way you see your world, with the way you love and live your life, and find your home.
There were so many good parts that I truly loved in this book, I must have highlighted favorite passages dozens of times in almost every single chapter. I really appreciate Mary Ann Rivers’s style of writing. I particularly appreciate all the metaphors and the imagery that she presents to her readers. LIVE has a lot of those and you have to read the book in order to appreciate it better but a couple of my favorites are the Dome of twigs constructed on Destiny’s backyard, the talk about owning to your percentage for the failure of a relationship, and every reference that talks about finding your place in the world, that place you can call your home.
These two people’s journey in life and love would inspire you, make you ask questions about your own lives, about the importance of living, the healing power of love and acceptance. As much as I would like enumerate all the things I love about this book, because there are a lot, I feel I would be taking the experience from you. So I will just suggest that you go buy and read this book. You can never go wrong with a Mary Ann Rivers book. Destiny is the first of the Burnside siblings to get a story and I know we’re looking out for Sam Burnside’s book sometime in the immediate future. Mary Ann Rivers has created a wonderful groundwork for them and I can’t wait to read their stories as well.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
About the Author:
Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.
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