The Hero of Hope Springs
by Maisey Yates
A Gold Valley Novel
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Reviewed by PJ
Something has been missing from Sammy’s life, and she thinks she knows what it is. Deciding she wants a baby is easy; realizing she wants her best friend to be the father is…complicated. Especially when a new heat between them sparks to life! When Sammy discovers she’s pregnant, Ryder makes it clear he wants it all. But having suffered the fallout of her parents’ disastrous relationship, Sammy is wary of letting Ryder too close. This cowboy will have to prove he’s proposing out of more than just honor…
Two of the things I most enjoy about Maisey Yates' books are her character development and dialogue. The two typically combine to create a deep connection with her characters and it isn't long before I become fully engaged with them and their journey. In The Hero of Hope Springs, the potential for that type of connection is strong. Ryder and Sammy have both been impacted by traumatic events which altered the course of their lives at young, impressionable ages. Because of those traumas, their ages, and their stages of emotional well-being at the time they met, roles were assumed by each of them and decisions made that defined them individually, as well as their friendship, and have carried with them into adulthood. When Sammy makes a decision that shifts that dynamic, it throws their well-established roles into disarray, causing each of them to reassess their lives and face flaws within themselves as well as the emotional barriers they've erected, creating wonderful opportunities for both growth as well as the emotional dialogue between characters that I enjoy so much in a Maisey Yates story.
The growth is there for both of the main characters in this book though it's a long and often painful process (be prepared for a whole lot of angst and emotion). Sammy, in particular, has a difficult time dealing with the physical and emotional trauma of her childhood and the impact it had, and still has, on her life. It takes pretty much the entire book for her to reach a point where she can confront her demons and finally begin the process of healing.
The book is well-written, and the main characters fully formed, but I still struggled to establish the connection with them that I've come to expect in a Yates book. I think one of the key reasons for that may be the lack of direct dialogue between Ryder and Sammy. Not that they don't have any, they do, but each spends an inordinate amount of time alone with their own (frequently repetitive) thoughts or in conversation with others. I understand the need for that, but I needed to see more conversation between the two of them, see them more actively working together to grow as a couple, in order to have that deep investment in their relationship that I so enjoy in Yates' other books.
That's not to say this isn't a good book. While it's not among my Gold Valley favorites, it's a solid read with layered characters, deep wells of emotion, and intriguing secondary characters that have me looking forward to more Gold Valley stories.