TITLE: What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Format: Audiobook (10 hrs, 18 mins)
Published: July 14th, 2020 by Macmillan Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Blurb: From the New York Times best-selling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.
Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living. But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way. And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before – at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him – but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school – and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit- and tie-wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hellbent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.
As the school community spirals into chaos and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love – which is the riskiest move of all. With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.
What You Wish For is a well written story about growth and hope and that second breath of life. The audiobook was narrated by Therese Plummer, one of my favorites, so I knew I would be in for a listening treat. I have read this author before and I enjoyed the other books more. My main issue with this audio was that the plot didn’t really catch fire until about half way in before I got really invested in the audiobook.
Samantha “Sam” Casey is a librarian at an elementary school in Galveston, Texas. She was sort of adopted into the community by the elementary school’s principal and his wife. Before moving to Galveston, Sam had a rough background and never really had a place where she felt connected and like she belong. But when her surrogate father suddenly passed away, Sam felt adrift again. On top of that, the new principal was a blast from her past. The new Principal, Dean Carpenter, was the man Sam loved but hew was engaged to another woman. That pain caused Sam to flee and look for a new beginning far away, which is how she ended up in Galveston.
But this Dean isn’t married, engaged or even the great guy she remembered. No, this “new” Dean is moody and a bit of a jerk. How could Sam have been so wrong about this guy and what happened in the six years since she ran away to avoid seeing him marry someone else? This mystery kicks starts the interesting part of the novel. The struggle of both of them to find something in common and something to have faith in again.
I liked Sam from the beginning although she felt a bit flighty and like she was trying too hard. Dean, on the other hand, was much tougher to like. It wasn’t until the layers were peeled back and we got to know his pain and trauma, did I finally understand why he was cold and standoffish. I did like Sam and Dean together as they both needed to connect with someone and put down serious roots. They both also needed a new chapter, one of their very own making and they both got it in Galveston.
I love these stories set in small towns because there is such connectivity with the characters. They are all family, know each other or add rich subplots. This audiobook had some really funny scenes like Sam trying to dance with Dean, and there was some really sad scenes like the dancing before her surrogate father passed away. What I took away from this book was really about finding and holding on to hope despite your current circumstances.
*A special thank you to Macmillan Audio and Netgalley for this audiobook.
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