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Mitchells of Riverview Inn

REVIEW: Worth Fighting For by Molly O’Keefe

REVIEW: Worth Fighting For by Molly O’Keefe

Beware, there are spoilers for the series in the review itself so if you want to read The Mitchells of Riverview Inn without being spoiled one iota, please don’t read this review:

Worth Fighting for Cover ImageDear Ms. O’Keefe:

Worth Fighting For brings together the loose plot threads involving Iris and Patrick, the mother and father of Gabe, Max, and yes, Jonah. The complicated backstory to Iris and Patrick goes something like this. Thirty years ago, Iris left Patrick. She suffered from severe post partum depression. It became unsafe for the children to be around her so she left. It broke Patrick’s heart but he managed to raise his two boys. In the early days, Iris wrote twice to come back and Patrick refused. He was hurt, afraid, and thought that perhaps they were all better off without Iris. Iris was pregnant when she left and never told Patrick of his third son, Jonah.

Iris wants to reconnect with her sons she left behind, and perhaps, even Patrick, from whom she has never divorced. Jonah would do anything for his mother including spending a few days in the Catskills meeting his father and unknown brothers even though he loathes them, sight unseen.

Daphne Larson is the local divorced mother of one precocious girl. Gabe and Daphne dated briefly in Baby Makes Three. She wants to be remarried and she wants to have more children but she and her husband just fell out of love. He was a little irresponsible but mostly they didn’t work as a couple anymore. The first time Daphne lays eyes on Jonah, her hormones go into overdrive. Upon second look, however, she recognizes Jonah as “The Dirty Developer.” To say that the two get off on the wrong foot is an understatement. Daphne is an organic farmer and she’s personally affronted by a man who builds houses for families on dirty land. She cares for the Mitchells and just knows instinctively that Jonah is a man who will hurt them all.

Jonah comes to the Catskills because he promised himself he would never say “no” to his mother. He loves her too much and she asks for so little. Befriending the Mitchells, however, is something that he refuses to do and he flat out tells Patrick this:

"Listen-Patrick," Jonah said, his voice cutting him like a knife. "I’m not here for a family reunion. I’m here because my mother asked me to be here. And-’" his voice grew slightly meaner, mocking "-’you probably don’t remember this about my mom but she doesn’t ask for much. So, I’m here for her. I don’t care about your sons-’"

"They are your brothers," Patrick insisted.

"They are no one," Jonah said. "You are all strangers and you’re going to stay that way."

I appreciated the hostility rather than the instant connection, even between the brothers. Gabe, for example, has always been very resistant to his mother’s re-entry into their lives and he’s very protective of his father. As Patrick noted, Jonah and Iris were a unit to which he wasn’t vital. He and his sons were a unit. The melding of the units, particularly when it involved hurt feelings, big egos, and very protective feelings was not going to be smooth. Gabe wanted to smash Jonah’s face in and Jonah wanted to return the favor. Jonah is feeling particularly vulnerable:

He felt himself strain and push against that promise he’d made. He’d never guessed, being so young and so suddenly on top of the world, that his mother would ever ask for something he didn’t want to give. The one thing, actually, that he didn’t want to give her.

"Were you unhappy?" he asked, blurting out the question that had been churning in his brain since he saw her smile at Max and Gabe. "All those years with me-did you wish we were with them?"

I actually thought Jonah’s attraction to Daphne would have made more sense in the context of it being a way for him to escape from the personal drama and maybe that is what it was intended to be but I would have liked a verbal cue. Jonah seemed fairly self aware and it would have been consistent for him to internally recognize that thinking about, lusting for Daphne was a release.

Daphne is torn between how hot Jonah is and how bad he is for the land. Of course, finding out that he isn’t the dirty developer that papers made him out to be makes it easier to just focus on how hot he is. But then Jonah, like all the men in Daphne’s life, doesn’t have much staying power. He is in the Catskills for a short time and even if he does seem to like her and her daughter, Daphne tends to be the type of woman who men leave.

I thought Daphne’s own personal conflict seemed forced. Her feelings toward her ex husband didn’t seem consistent with how they were portrayed in Baby Makes Three. I wasn’t sure what Jonah’s initial attraction toward Daphne was. I liked her, but he didn’t know her at all, other than that she was an organic farmer who thought he was a dirty developer.

Jonah falls for Daphne, but he can’t make the commitment to be with her because that would mean giving up all the anger, resentment, and hate he had for his father. How was it possible that it took more courage to choose to be happy?

As always, the prose was excellent and the characters were full bodied. I also enjoyed seeing Iris and Patrick reconnect after years of heartache, mistakes, and misunderstandings between them. The main problem with this book is that I think it is hard to have read in isolation. Much of the plot and character arc depends upon a reader’s intimacy with the first two books in the Riverview Inn series. I think it’s a well done series and I don’t regret a minute I spent reading the three books, but others might find it difficult to start with this one. B

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

I believe I purchased this book but I can’t actually recall. It may have been provided by the publisher. The Amazon Affiliate link earns us a 6-7% affiliate fee if you purchase a book through the link (or anything for that matter) and the Sony link is in conjunction with the sponsorship deal we made for the year of 2009. We do not earn an affiliate fee from Sony through the book link.

REVIEW: A Man Worth Keeping by Molly O’Keefe

REVIEW: A Man Worth Keeping by Molly O’Keefe

Dear Ms. O’Keefe:

0373782314.01.LZZZZZZZI actually read this book first. I think it was for sale at Amazon Kindle for some crazy low amount like $1.40 or something. It is actually book 2 of the Mitchells of Riverview Inn. I reviewed book 1 yesterday, Baby Makes Three.  

Max Mitchell has been hiding out in the Catskills serving as general contractor, handyman, and construction worker for his brother, Gabe’s,  Riverview Inn.   Two years ago, Max was shot while in the line of duty during a domestic dispute call.   The circumstances surrounding this event is shrouded in mystery but has had long lasting effects on Max.   The job might not be satisfying, but no one’s life depends on  how Max shovels the snow or hammers in a nail.   It’s safe.  

Delia is seeking a job as the manage of the spa for Gabe’s Riverview Inn.   The remote Catskills retreat is the perfect temporary hideout for Delia and her daughter.   Delia is tired of being afraid all of the time but she’s not sure what to do and is scared to trust her instincts.   She fell in love with Jared and sheriff of Lubbock Texas, former football star was all that she ever wanted.   Except somewhere along the way, Jared fell in with a bad crowd and starting taking bribes. When Delia and Josie found out, Jared turned violent and Delia took Josie and ran.   Delia, though, knows she can’t run forever, but she doesn’t have any good solutions.  

Max has a big savior complex that he is trying to suppress when it comes to Delia.   Her haunted eyes, overly protective attitude toward her daughter, and her secrets call to him.   He feels, given his past mistakes, that he is not someone anyone can rely on let alone a young scared mother and her sullen and equally scared daughter.   Later Delia confronts him on this, saying he only wants her because she’s a victim but he denies it.   I wasn’t so sure.

I really love the descriptions that you use.   There’s a quiet elegance to your prose that makes drama seem natural.  

He watched Joe walk away until he was replaced by snow, by gray sky, by the isolation Max cultivated like a garden

I thought Josie, the daughter, was fairly well crafted. She doesn’t understand why she has been separated from her father.   She lashes out in the form of bad behavior and shuns her mother.   She also attaches herself to Max.   I did think that Josie took the explanation of why they were running away from her father almost too well, particularly given that Delia has asked Josie to lie about their last name.

Delia’s lies kept mounting and some of them  just seemed so unreasonable and far fetched given the lengths that she would need to go to keep them out, particularly when Josie had to be complicit with those lies.  

The storyline started in Baby Makes Three concerning Max’s  absentee mother and his father is carried further in  this book.   Iris Mitchell comes to Riverview Inn to try to reconcile with her sons after thirty years  and confront her husband, th man who never divorced her, about their past.   Iris and Patrick have a very complicated history to which  only they are privvy.    I thought the scenes between Iris and her sons, particularly Gabe, were really powerful.    Despite the newfound peace and love Gabe has with his own family, he is not ready to forgive and forget.   I liked this.   Max is less  demonstrative than Gabe.   He doesn’t need Iris gone from Riverview Inn, but he’s  certainly not welcoming her to the bosom of his family.  

Max is one of the strong silent types, yet he is the one to push for a resolution.  I was very conflicted about Delia. I thought on the one hand she was brave to run and try to carve out a positive situation for herself. I got a litte impatient with Delia and her lies and her inability to trust what appeared to be a steady man and a good support system in Max’s family.   Still, there were some emotionally gripping scenes and after Iris’ bombshell news, I couldn’t wait to read book 3.   C+

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.