Firstly: look what the Australian publishers did to this cover:
They turned it into a rural Australian fiction cover! This book is set in Colorado (as in, NOT Australia!), and is about a surgeon, not a cowgirl – this is weird!
Under extreme pressure, neurosurgeon Maggie Sullivan knows she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can do that is Sullivan’s Crossing.
Named for Maggie’s great-grandfather, the land and charming general store at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide trails now belong to Maggie’s eccentric father, Sully. She relishes the opportunity to indulge in his simple way of life.
But Maggie’s world is rocked and she must take responsibility for the Crossing. When a quiet and serious-looking hiker, Cal Jones, offers to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of his motives—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation.
Though Cal and Maggie each struggle with loss and loneliness, the time they spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…if only they can learn to find peace and healing—and perhaps love—with each other.
What We Find (Sullivan’s Crossing #1) by Robyn Carr
Something you should know: I didn’t finish this book. I was really enjoying it, was on the lookout specifically for a *Robyn Carr*-style easy read at a time I was tired of my review books. I bought it because I never got around to downloading the review copy when it was a new release, and because I was planning on reading book two in the series next.
And then I hit a comment – and then another comment – I could not overlook.
I was a little confused by the mixed reviews for this book. It seems that everyone expects Carr to write her crazy-successful Virgin River again and again, and every time she tries something new she’s criticised for it.
Yes, she has a unique writing style that means she can info-dump until the cows come home, and a lot of the action happens off the page, and yet somehow it WORKS. Sometimes I want to read a Robyn Carr book specifically, because it’s so comforting, and she GETS real life so well, from every perspective.
I found this to be the case with What We Find, too. I could read about everyday people and their everyday issues forever and not be bored when it’s written by this author.
I was really enjoying this book.
And then she introduced the dodgy ex-husband. The ex-Ukrainian husband.
Are you allowed to have a bad character of any nationality? Of course you are.
But there’s a BIG problem here.
Think about it: when was the last time you saw a Ukrainian character in a book? Never? That’s right. Even when authors have their characters come from a Ukrainian city like Odesa (Odessa), or give them one Ukrainian surname or another, they STILL call them “Russian” – because readers think it’s sexy.
What We Find is the one and only time we are presented with a character from Ukraine in a book, and the author chose to make him a money-hungry guy looking to marry his way into America, a man who then tries to steal all the heroine’s money out from under her when they divorce.
This is racism. This is appalling stereotyping. And this is coming at a time where Ukraine is being invaded, tens of thousands killed, millions displaced and refugees (including people in my own family).
Imagine if it had been a Syrian or Iraqi character written this way, at this time…
In Robyn Carr’s last series she presented us with charming Russians who got happy-ever-afters. I’m not trying for a conspiracy theory, but the contrast between the author’s perceptions of the two warring nationalities is troubling.
Sometimes there’s One Little Thing in a book that turns me off it completely (e.g. comments about “dumb” blondes); this was one of those things.
It is such a minor piece of the book I’m sure anyone else who has read it would think I’ve lost my mind. However, it upset me. Deeply. Of all the nationalities in the world, why’d the author deliberately choose to kick Ukrainians when they’re down?
It’s a pity, because I’d planned to invest in this series for the long run.
I still might pick this one up again in the future, and keep going. I still might try book two. But my initial reaction was to stop cold and put the book aside, and if I get over it and move on with this otherwise wonderful author, it won’t be this week.