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Excellent Female Main Character!
on January 26, 2017
I will preface this by saying I have never read this author's work before, so although I know this is the first in a spin-off of her Drake Sisters series, I was not familiar with Sea Haven or any of those characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book primarily because of the main female character. Rikki Sitmore is an autistic woman, living on a large farm with her four adopted "sisters" - all of whom have some kind of tragedy or difficulty in their past. Rikki's is that there have been several fires in her life that have killed people close to her. She's worried that perhaps she's subconsciously starting those fires. At the beginning of the book, she's busy living her life the best way she knows how, as a sea urchin diver obsessed with forming every inch of her existence around preventing fire near her or her loved ones.
Lev Prakenskii, the male main character, is a Russian operative (assassin mostly) who ends up in the ocean during a rouge wave. Rikki saves his life. They form a strong bond almost immediately, although I was pleased to see that it came mostly from him first. He clings to Rikki as the first person in his life to really see him, not just see his usefulness. To be clear, I enjoyed this because most romance novels I've read have that happening in conjuction with the woman swooning and falling all over him, being sweet and understanding at every turn.
Rikki isn't the typical romance heroine. She does take care of Lev and she does provide understanding without judgement, but she does it in a far more realistic way. She tells him she'll kick him out if he's violent toward her or her family. She never wavers from being the boss of her boat, her house, or her existence. Even when Lev begins to push her outside of her comfort zone, he asks first and defers to her judgement. My favorite scene in the entire book is when Rikki goes to the local grocery store to buy food for Lev, and nearly has a breakdown. Her autism means that she find bright lights, noises, and people uncomfortable to the point of pain. I appreciated that the author did not shy away from portraying how debilitating autism can be - but also how people on the spectrum can adapt to a society not built for them, living their best lives without fear or hesitation.
(I am going to temper that last paragraph a bit by saying I'm not sure how convinced I am that anyone like Rikki - who abhorrs touch and change and new things - would immediately fall into Lev's arms and allow him such physical access to her at all times. But, hey. They have some kind of crazy soul connection, right? I guess it's okay.)
The sex scenes were detailed and hot. The minor characters were of passing interest. I thought the plot was thin and wrapped up entirely too quickly, although I did enjoy that Rikki manages to use one of her "freak outs" as a plot device.
All in all, a solid read. I think I'll pick up the rest of the series as I'm curious what Rikki's "sisters" manage to get up to with Lev's brothers.