Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.
New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.
Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.
Chapter 1 Excerpt
Ivy Madison would do just about anything to stay in the secluded, beautiful, innocent town of Deep Haven.
Even if she had to buy a man.
A bachelor, to be exact, although maybe not the one currently standing on the stage of the Deep Haven Emergency Services annual charity auction. He looked like a redneck from the woolly woods of northern Minnesota, with curly dark-blond hair, a skim of whiskers on his face, and a black T-shirt that read, Hug a logger–you’ll never go back to trees. Sure, he filled out his shirt and looked the part in a pair of ripped jeans and boo and boots, but he wore just a little too much “Come and get me, girls,” in his smile.
The auctioneer on stage knew how to work his audience. He regularly called out names from the crowd to entice them to bid. And apparently the town of Deep Haven loved their firefighters, EMTs, and cops because the tiny VFW was packed, the waitresses running out orders of bacon cheeseburgers and hot wings to the bidding crowd.… Continue Reading First Chapter
Susan Mae Warren the RITA Award winning author of more than thirty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times and won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Four of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives.
Author Q & A
1. This is the first installment in a brand new six book series. Can you give us a bit of background on this series?
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.
2. 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.
3. 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 that yes, He can heal the angry and broken-hearted.
4. 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.
5. 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.
7. 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.
My Review (5 Stars)
‘Take a Chance on Me’ is the first book in the Christiansen Family Series. There are 6 other books in the series, and I plan on reading all 6! Before reading this book I had never heard of Susan May Warren, and that is probably because this book is not in my normal genre to read.
‘Take a Chance on Me’ is a story of tragedy, love, family, friendship and forgiveness. The story takes place in the town of Deep Haven, and Evergreen Lake Resort in Minnesota. (I have never been to Minnesota, but this book made me want to visit!) Darek is the oldest brother in the Christiansen clan, and he has been angry at himself and life since his wife died in a tragic car accident. Which left him to be a single father to their son Tiger.
Ivy Madison is new to Deep Haven, and she is the new District County Attorney. Ivy grew up in the foster care system and she feels hurt, and as if God and life have given up on her. When Ivy & Darek meet for the first time, she immediately thinks him a jerk. Then she meets the Christiansen clan and instantly likes them all. They treat her like one of their own. It is like a dream come true, because she never had a family to call her own.
I really enjoyed the secondary characters, Claire and Jensen. Claire feels like she has been a failure to her parents. She didn’t go to college after high school ans she hasn’t done anything ‘big’ with her life. She works in a pizza place, takes care of prized roses and helps out at the elderly home. Her parents expected her to go to college and get a degree, but Claire wants to stay in Deep Haven. She doesn’t want to live or go anywhere else.
Jensen was responsible for Felicity’s death that fateful night. Most everyone in the town of Deep Haven look at him like he is a murderer. He has been sentenced to community service in Deep Haven, and he longs for the day when it is over and he can leave town and never come back.
Darek, Claire, Jensen and Felicity grew up together. They went to high school together and were all best friends. I enjoyed this book because none of the characters were perfect. They were all just people longing to be forgiven and trying to forgive themselves. Meeting the Christiansens’ through this book, made me want to be a part of their family. They are not perfect, but they love and really care for each other.
Sometimes you have to forgive someone for a wrong they have done to you, to be able to forgive yourself. Most of the time forgiving ourselves for something is the hardest thing to do.
Mrs Warren did a great job developing her characters and her setting. While reading the book I could actually see the characters and the town of Deep Haven. A few times I could actually feel fire licking at my heels. Take a Chance on Me is one of the best books I have read in a long time.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions in my review are my own. Read my Disclosure Disclaimer here.