REVIEW: “Hope Restored” by Carrie Ann Ryan

The sexy and serious conclusion to the Gallagher Brothers series makes it a perfect Contemporary Romance trifecta.  Carrie Ann Ryan guide the reader through the best friends to lovers romance for the youngest Gallagher brother, Murphy.  He’s struggling to process the change in his feelings for his best friend Jenna.  Murphy also is facing the reoccurrence of Cancer in his life.  Carrie Ann Ryan gentles Murphy and Jenna’s tumultuous romance by easing off the angst.  She allows the characters to let events happen and not question too much.  Both characters have baggage, guilt, and daily stress to deal with.  Jenna and Murphy worry a lot about losing each other if their romance doesn’t work out.  Murphy’s recent Cancer diagnosis makes them realize not giving in to their love, would be the bigger regret.  Carrie Ann Ryan adds a threat from Jenna’s past to round out the drama.

Murphy is his typical charming and flirty self trying to navigate the all to easy to remember dance with Cancer.  Times and treatments have changed but feelings of guilt for worrying his brothers and trying to shield them’s the same.  This time he has his best friend Jenna to lean on.  Due to unusual circumstances Murphy finds himself homeless and the most reasonable solution is to move in with Jenna.  After all her previous roommate, Liz, is now living with Murphy’s brother Owen.  The arrangement feels awkward and natural at the same time.  Falling in love with his best friend should be more traumatic but it too is awkward and natural.  Coincidentally a boyhood friend who Murphy met during his bouts with leukemia has also relapsed and they easily bond again.  Reminders of mortality cause Murphy to seek out another old friend although that reunion isn’t as comfortable.

Jenna is facing pressures at work, a recent break-up, and the ghost of a long ago abusive ex-boyfriend.  She also is dealing with guilt involving her adoptive parents and her shabby treatment of them as a girl.  Jenna’s still ashamed of her behavior.  Because of her feelings for Murphy and their living arrangement combined with his treatments sleep is not readily available.  Worry, guilt, and lust induced insomnia is a beast.  Jenna starts getting strange feelings and believes she sees old abusive ex.  She’s not sure if it’s reality, imagination, or sheer exhaustion.  However when physical, and violent, evident mounts her suspicions become more founded.

Carrie Ann Ryan packs happiness, heartbreak, and hope into “Hope Restored”.  And she does it with a riveting storyline, brisk pace, and charming and engaging characters.  All four Gallagher brothers are in attendance as is all of their significant others and offspring.  Jenna is a strong Heroine with the perfect balance of vulnerability, confidence, and brains.  Murphy’s able to wield his charm and dirty mouth while dealing with the latest attack to his body by Cancer.  He is more introspective yet still is delightfully carnal.  Carrie Ann Ryan can definitely rock the sexy times with her signature cunniligus-loving, dirty talking Heroes.  There is a character who suffers a great loss in the book who I hope we see again.  With the ties the Gallagher brothers have with the Montgomery Ink series family.  I believe the odds are in her favor.  “Hope Restored” is a fabulous bittersweet series finale.

I’m giving “Hope Restored” 4 Lightning Bolts and a Hurricane Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.

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