Susan May Warren concludes her series set in Deep Haven, Minnesota, featuring the six adult children in the Christiansen family and their relationships. Each book opens with a letter from their mother, giving insight into the main character. Owen has been the prodigal since the second book in the series, but he is “more than the sum of his mistakes” (back cover).
In You’re the One That I Want, Owen Christiansen works on an Alaskan crabbing boat, and becomes attracted to the no-nonsense Elisa “Scotty” McFlynn, the captain’s daughter and former police officer. A near-death accident at sea changes their relationship.
His brother Casper arrives in Alaska to bring his brother home, unaware he is wanted for questioning in connection with a murder back in Minnesota. Scotty is hired to escort Casper back to Deep Haven. Prodigal son Owen returns back home, bringing the issues that have been dogging him since his career-ending injury. Will he forgive himself and accept God’s forgiveness as he finally faces his past and a future with Elise?
Warren writes character-driven, contemporary books that make readers care about the family. The faith element is evident but not preachy. Warren also does an excellent job of building suspense as the truth of the murder unfolds.
More than just romances, these are stories of flawed individuals with very messy lives and life-changing mistakes. God teaches them about forgiveness of others and themselves. Warren uses these imperfect lives to teach the reader about God’s gift of grace and that strength it takes to live a life of faith.
Recommended for public libraries and church libraries.
Carol R. Gehringer
—reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, 2016.