This is an amazing story about second chances at love and the importance of forgiveness. Darek Christiansen is the oldest in a large family, trying to keep their resort in Minnesota in the black. He's also a widower with a young son, angry and bitter at his best friend Jensen, who accidentally killed her. When he meets Ivy Madison, the new assistant county attorney, he has no idea that it was her plea bargain that gave Jensen community service instead of jail time. All he knows is that she might be his second chance. Ivy loves the sense of family and community she finds in Deep Haven, especially since she grew up in foster homes, but she's terrified the truth will come out about her involvement in the case. She's falling for Darek and his little boy, but can he forgive her when he learns the truth?
Jensen may not have gone to jail, but he feels like he's been in prison for the last three years. Trapped in Deep Haven in order to do his community service, he feels like everyone hates him and he can't wait to leave until he reunites with Claire, Darek's wife's best friend. Could he get a second chance with her, Darek, and the town he loves?
I loved this story set in the cozy town of Deep Haven. This is a new series that spins off of the Deep Haven novels, focusing on the Christiansen family, but will have cameos of characters from the other novels. The way Susan writes emotions and scenes bring the story to life. I fell in love with the characters and was rooting for them to find the forgiveness and love they searched for. I really want to live in Deep Haven, but reading this story is the next best thing. I can't wait for the next book in the series!
I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Author Q & A
Susan May Warren
Take a Chance on Me
This is the first installment in a brand new six book series. Can you give us a bit of background on this
I love stories about families watching the members interact and grow together through
challenges and victories and I conceived this series as I watched my own children begin to grow
up and deal with romance and career and futures. I love Deep Haven, and it’s the perfect setting
for a resort, so I crafted a family, much like the families I know, who run a resort. They want to
pass on their legacy to their children...but their children don’t know if they want it. It’s sort of a
parallel theme to the legacy of faith we instill in our children. As they grow older, they need to
decide whether it is their faith too. It’s a saga about family and faith and what happens when
those collide with real life.
This Christiansen Family series is set in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Tell us about this setting.
Deep Haven, Minnesota is based in a small vacation town in northern Minnesota where I spent
my childhood. It’s located on Lake Superior, surrounded by pine and birch and the sense of small
town and home. Populated by everyone from artists to lumberjacks, it’s Mitford, or perhaps
Northern Exposure gone Minnesotan. Quaint, quirky and beautiful, it’s the perfect place to
escape for a vacation
What was your inspiration for this particular book and the main character Darek
As I started to put together this series, I began to think about our culture and our children today.
I started to take a look at the big questions we are faced with as parents and as young people;
the issues that affect us as a culture, as well as personally. I wanted these books to go beyond
family drama, beyond a great romance to raise bigger questions and stir truths that we might
pass along to others. This story is about our propensity in our culture to blame others for what
goes wrong in our lives and how this alienates us from each other, and ultimately, God. Darek
is the oldest brother in the family; the leader and a real hero. He’s a wildland firefighter and a
widower who’s had to give up his job to come home and run the resort and care for his young
son. Darek doesn’t realize he has a problem he lives with anger on his shoulder, hating the
man who killed his wife (his best friend). His real problem is that he can’t forgive himself.
In this first story, readers meet the family, hang out at the resort and discover that God can redeem
even a heart of stone, if we take a chance on Him.
What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
This book is for the person who feels they just can’t get past the anger they have for someone
else to live in joy again. It’s for parents who see their children making bad choices and don’t
know where to turn. It’s for people who believe that no one will ever really love them because of
who they are, or the things they’ve done. It’s for people who need the courage to take a second
chance on love and faith and family. I’m hoping readers walk away with a sense of how much
God loves them, and thatyes, He can heal the angry and brokenhearted.
How do you expect
this new series to resonate with your audience? How do you want your books to
make them feel?
I love a story that brings me on an emotional journey from anger to laughter to hope.
But most of all, I want readers to be wrapped up in joy, that feeling we get when watch
our football team win, or when we’re hands up in a convertible on a hot summer day, or digging
our feet into a sandy beach, or hugging our loved one when they return ho
me. Ah. The sense that, just for a moment, all is right in the world and everything tastes and feels delicious.
I write romances, and in the end it’s worth the journey to the happily ever after.
As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about
crafting this story?
I loved Darek’s transformation. His relationship with his son is so precious, but when he truly lets
go of his anger, he becomes the hero I always knew he could be. I love writing about broken
heroes who find healing.
What advice do you have for budding novelists?
Read! Then write the book you’d like to read. But, along the way, learn the craft. In fact, a
good writer never stops learning.
What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?
Just keep writing. If you want to be a career novelist, you just have to keep writing.
In your writing career, what are you most proud of?
After over forty novels,
I’m always striving to keep the stories fresh and unique; so I guess I’m proud that
every book is bathed in prayer, has a message singular to that story, and has unique
characters and journeys. Every story is a new adventure for me, and the reader.