Monday, May 20, 2013

Review - - Meant to Be

Meant to Be
Anchor Island - Book 1
By Terri Osburn
Publisher:  Montlake Romance
Release Date:  May 21, 2013

What happens when you finally meet the love of your life and he turns out to be your fiancé's older brother?

Elizabeth Chandler has spent her life pleasing other people and living other people's dreams.  She's a lawyer because that's the respectable career path the grandparents who raised her wanted for her.  Her workaholic fiancé has no idea what she likes or dislikes because he makes all the decisions in their relationship right down to the type of wine she drinks and music she listens to and because it makes him happy, she lets him.   She's suppressed every ounce of young Beth Chandler's creativity and zest for life in an effort to be what everyone expects her to be.  But that's all about to change.

Only for Lucas Dempsey would Elizabeth Chandler, a woman deathly afraid of the water, be on a ferry to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to meet her new fiancé's family.  Lucas was supposed to be with her but, once again, the law office where they both work has taken priority and left Elizabeth to make the crossing on her own.  She's in the midst of a full-blown panic attack when an over-sized dog and his gorgeous owner come to her rescue.  Charmed in spite of herself, by both this man and his dog, she introduces herself as Beth and allows herself to secretly indulge in the instant attraction she feels to this calm, sexy man with the adorable dimple.  Then she discovers he's her future brother-in-law.

Joe Dempsey has a mental image of the woman his younger step-brother is bringing home and it sure isn't a sweet, sexy young woman who makes his own pulse race.  They get off on the wrong foot and the instant attraction that sparks between them doesn't help matters but gradually, as they get to know one another, their feelings begin to shift and then deepen though they both fight it.  Joe loves his brother, even if he doesn't understand him or approve of the way he puts Beth last on his list of priorities.  He's not about to poach on his territory.  As wrong as he may feel Beth is for Lucas, and as right as he feels she is for him, he has too much honor to come between them, no matter how much he grows to care for her.  And Beth, no matter how much she comes to care for Joe, is not about to do anything to harm the members of the Dempsey family who have come to mean so much to her.  With the odds stacked against them, does this couple have any chance of a happy ending?

First of all, let me say that love triangles are one of my least favorite romance tropes but this story is written in such a way that I'm okay with the situation.  Once Elizabeth arrives on the island and begins to re-discover, as Beth, the person she is truly meant to be, it's obvious that she and workaholic Lucas would be a terrible match.  It also helps that the author keeps Lucas in Richmond and contact between them to a minimum, placing the focus of the story on Beth's journey of self-discovery and the developing relationship between her and Joe.  I also appreciated the fact that, in spite of their growing feelings for one another, both Joe and Beth have too much honor to betray Lucas.  And while I don't feel Lucas is the right brother for Beth, Osburn doesn't make him a jerk, just a man with some misplaced priorities.  It's my understanding that he will find his happy ending in the next Anchor Island book and that makes me very happy.

This is a debut book but you'd never guess it.  Terri Osburn writes with the skill of a seasoned veteran, drawing the reader into the heart of her characters and the small island they inhabit and making us care about them.  While there is plenty of humor and lighthearted banter, both Beth and Joe are complex characters with a depth of emotion that is slowly and skillfully revealed throughout the course of the book.  A rich cast of secondary characters add to that depth.  Particular favorites are Miss Lola, a spritely senior citizen with important lessons to impart, Dozer, a floppy-tongued dog that stole my heart - and Beth's - and Sid, a smart-mouthed but gorgeous woman, slowly learning to embrace her femininity, who ( I hope) is destined to lead Lucas a merry chase in the next Anchor Island story.  I can't wait!

I've known Terri Osburn for a number of years and watched her grow as a writer over that time.  Even though she's a friend, the process I followed in reviewing this book is the same as that for every book I read and I was fair and honest in my comments.

I'm delighted to say that I highly recommend this book.  It's sitting on my keeper shelf where I'm sure it will be re-visited.  Do yourself a favor and take a trip to Anchor Island through the pages of Meant to Be.


Have you discovered any good debut authors lately?

What books will you be taking to the beach, pool or backyard this summer?  

Do you have a favorite place to read in the summer?  Is it different from where you read the rest of the year?

One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment will receive a Kindle version of Meant to Be


  1. I am so looking forward to this book! Didn't they give her the best cover?!?! :)

    And I am a fan of love triangles. Well, most of the time. So even more to look forward to.

    Now I just have to find time to read...

    1. Hi Kim! It's a gorgeous cover and captures the essence of this story perfectly.

  2. YAY!!! I am loving all these positive reviews for Terri! She so deserves it! Love this book...and the one that follows. :)

    Books I'll be reading this summer--besides this one, Eloisa James' book definitely...and I think a Hoyt book is due out, but not sure. I'm sure the Romance Dish will keep me updated on my favorite author and when their stuff is coming out! :)

    Favorite place to read? In bed. Where it's air conditioned, the fan is blowing, and I'm eating some ice cream. ;) I'm all about keeping it cool.

    1. Love this book...and the one that follows. :)

      I'm guessing this means you've read the second book which means...lucky you!!!!!

      We'll do our best to keep you updated, Hellie. Btw, have you read UNTAMED by Anna Cowan? It's a stunning historical debut with a very unique hero (and heroine). I was fascinated by it.

  3. Thank you, PJ, for such a wonderful review. Every time I read these things, I think, "Did I do that?" :)

    I just finished Eloisa James latest (scored an ARC, yay me!) and it was breathtaking. I do most of my reading in bed late at night. It's the only time I can squeeze it in these days. But if I could read on a hammock in the shade with a light breeze blowing and the sound of waves in the distance, THAT would be my dream.

    1. You earned that review with a well-crafted story, engaging characters and an overall reading experience that left me eagerly anticipating your next book.

      I finished an ARC of the Eloisa James book yesterday. I think it's one of the best she's written.

      Lovely dream! I bet there's a hammock on Anchor Island with your name on it! :)

  4. I just found Terri Osburn thanks to this review... There are so many books on my tbr pile to read this summer. I am going to enjoy this holiday today by sitting out in the backyard with Carolyn Brown's In Shining Whatever.. I love this 2nd book from her Three Little Words series..

  5. This looks like an awesome read! I'm excited about the Anchor Island series debuting. Can't wait to receive my copy!

  6. Great review for a great book, PJ. I loved Meant to Be, and, like you, not even friendship would motivate me to rave about a book I didn't genuinely love. Anchor Island captured my heart, and I am eagerly anticipating at least two more visits.

    In addition to Terri's book, I have also recently read and loved these historical romances: Once Upon a Tower (Eloisa James), Any Duchess Will Do (Tessa Dare), It Happened One Midnight (Julie Anne Long), A Woman Entangled (Cecilia Grant), How to Tame Your Duke (Juliana Gray). Among contemporaries, I've fallen in love with Susan Mallery's bodyguard heroes in her Summer of 2013 Fool's Gold trilogy and will probably be raving for months about Deborah Smith's The Biscuit Witch. And I'm with Hellie on reading in air conditioned comfort in the summer. I'll save my garden reading and reading by the river bank for fall.

  7. That's quite a conundrum!!

    I read in my comfy lounge chair the whole year round.

    I am looking forward to ONCE UPON A TOWER by Eloisa James.

  8. Woohoo!! Can't wait to read this one!!

  9. I'm intrigued by the idea of a love triangle!

  10. Hi, Carole's Chatter is collecting posts about Favourite Romance Novels. This looks like a good one. It would be super if you linked it in. This is the link - Your Favourite Romances There are over 25 links already. I hope to see you soon. Cheers