Monday, November 11, 2013

A Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand

A Risk Worth Taking** 3.5 out of 5 Stars **

**WARNING:  SPOILERS AHEAD**

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, a perfect way to pass the 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.

MY REVIEW...

A Risk Worth Taking was a short and sweet read.  I finished it in one sitting.  It is written in dual POV.  The heroine, Summer, is a little lost after dealing with her parents divorce and the hero, Ford, is a free soul just experiencing life.  Their paths meet and they are both changed.  I like the writing style.  The plot itself wasn't drama filled.  These two pretty much find each other, fight the pull they fill, make a few mistakes, and then find their way to each other.  I enjoyed reading it but it's not a book that will stick with me.  It drags quite a bit and I found myself skimming quite a bit.  I absolutely loved the ending!  It was by far the best part of the book.

Things I loved:

  1. The ending
  2. Summer...I love how she found herself
  3. Casey...he's Summer's "brother" and he's awesome!
Things that didn't work:
  1. The amount of time it took to bring them fully together
  2. There isn't enough drama
All in all, A Risk Worth Taking is worth a try.  If you like short and sweet books without a lot of drama or intensity then give this one a try.  I'm giving it 3.5 Stars.

BOOK SUMMARY...

Summer was somewhat of a strong character.  I loved how she found herself toward the end of the book.  She's 22 with thick brown hair, brown eyes, and she's pretty.  She moves home after her college graduation, breaks up with her boyfriend of 2 years, and puts her dreams on hold.  She's reeling from the divorce of her parents.  

Ford for a better word is a wanderer.  He was raised by hippie parents.  He's tall, lean and has sandy brown hair and grey blue eyes.  He's working on her family farm for a few months during the summer.  He isn't looking for love and has no intention of settling down until he's had his feel of life.  He's sweet and funny, and shows Summer how to live freely.

The book begins the day that Summer returns home from college.  She's still recovering from her parents divorce and has moved home to help her dad with the farm.  In her eyes her parents marriage was perfect.  Out of the blue 6 months ago they tell her they are divorcing and everything she's ever known falls out from under her.  The divorce has left her questioning everything she thought about love.  She's broken up with her boyfriend who was perfectly "fine" for her.  On the postive side of being home, she will now get to spend time with her dad and with her "brother" Casey.  Casey and Summer were raised together and they are best friends.  They have a sibling rivalry but no feelings for each other at all.

She meets Ford at the dinner table the night she comes home.  There is an instant connection between them and everyone sees it.  Not long after meeting Ford asks Summer to dinner but she says no.  He doesn't think she's into him like he is her.  Their first kiss occurs next to a creek.  It's hot and intense.  She runs from him after because she's afraid of what she's feeling.  She doesn't want to fall in love.  He's aggravated that she doesn't feel what he feels.  His theory is that they should explore what they have while they can.  He's leaving at the end of summer and there isn't anything she can do to change his mind.  

He eventually gets her to agree to a first date and it goes well.  They are getting to know each other.  They eventually have sex and it's hot.  They ignite each other...full of passion.  They agree to just go with it.  By this I mean they are together but there are no labels.  The intention is to enjoy each other until he leaves without feelings and lots of sex.  Since that works so well for everyone who has ever tried it you know it's gonna work great for them too (yes, this is pure sarcasm).  When a guy tries to kiss her at a bonfire he calls her his girlfriend and they officially become a couple even though they both know it won't last.



He takes her on a date to a cliff with a beautiful view.  This spot will eventually become "their spot".  She tells him she loves him on this date and to her surprise he says it back to her.  Somewhere along the way they've developed really intense feeling for each other.  He's even thinking about staying more than leaving at this point.  

After a car accident involving Summer's mother she makes amends with her and we finally find out why she left Summer's father.  Her reasoning was sound.  Her parents had an arranged marriage (apparently this still happens) and though they are best friends they decide to pursue the things that make them happy.  After understanding this, Summer realizes that what she has with Ford is different that what her parents had.  

Time is passing a light speed and he's having a hard time letting her go.  She's gotten to the point where she's pulling away and becoming distant.  She asks him to meet her at their spot.  They talk and she asks him to stay but he tells her he can't.  They are over.  She walks away from him and doesn't speak to him the remaining time he's on the farm.  A week later he tells everyone goodbye, except her, and leaves the farm and the love of his life behind.


A month passes and they are both miserable.  She's trying to get on with life at the farm and he's at his new job and trying to get her out of his head.  Casey and Ford became really close while he was at the farm and Casey calls to check on him.  After talking for awhile he just asks him if he's had enough and is ready to come back yet.  When Ford tells him he needs to be alone Casey tells him he doesn't deserve her and hangs up on him.  He calls Summer to apologize for hurting her but it makes her hurt even more.  

6 weeks have passed and she's trying to get back to normal but she misses him horribly.  The cook calls her into the kitchen and when she steps through the door she's floored.  Ford is standing there staring at her.  At first she's dumbfounded and then curious.  He has ended the project he was working on and has moved back to the farm.  He came back for her.  After he explains himself and tells her he realized he had to leave to understand that he couldn't live without her, she forgives him and takes him back.

"I'm asking you to forgive me for leaving.  I'm asking you to take me back.  To do this, us.  For real, forever."

The epilogue takes place 5 months later.  He takes her to their spot and tells her that she's standing and viewing the view from the cliff where their bedroom will be.  He bought their mountain and he's building them a house on their spot.  He tries to propose to her but she says yes before he can finish asking her.  It was really sweet.

My Ford / Summer

 

Favorite Quotes:

"Wow.  That's some pretty sharp teeth to chew through all those layers."
"Right?  They're like some damn vampires."
"Vampire Squirrels?"
"Do not mock the evilness of the vampire squirrels."

Letting the love in was a scary choice.  One I'd choose over and over again if it meant holding onto this feeling.  Holding onto Summer.  The only thing better was feeling her hold onto me.