Rosemary is a firecracker, the one who completes them. Wes and Evan have loved this fierce little ebony-haired beauty since kindergarten, even when she’s being a spoiled rotten brat. The brothers still adore Rosemary now that she’s a woman, but Evan has issues. Her mouth gets her in trouble, Evan’s temper gets him in trouble, and even tempered Wes is always caught in the middle.
Rosemary won’t tolerate Evan’s controlling ways, especially when he threatens to spank her. Why can’t Rosemary just do as Evan tells her, especially when it’s for her own good? Wes spends his time making peace, when he’d rather make love. They bring out the worst in each other, and hurt Wes in the process. She won’t give up because they’re also magical together, when they manage to get along! Add in a hot spanking, a fit of temper, and something’s gonna have to give.
Of all the stories in this series, I think this was the most adversarial and filled with the angst that long-term relationships often entail. These three characters have grown up together and have weathered the challenges of moving from childhood to adulthood, with varying success. One very important piece to this entire story is that from their earliest years, these three people planned to be "married" and planned to do so long before they knew the full ramifications of what that meant.
Time has not been kind. Rosemary is indeed a woman who has yet to learn that spouting the first thing that comes into her head may not be wise or kind. Wes is his patient self--wanting all three of them to be together but most of all, wanting to find a way that Rosemary can be in his life. Rosemary insisted that being together sexually needed to be the "grand finale" to their courtship--the wedding night. All through high school and college they waited and planned until just as their goal was in sight, Evan's self-interest prevailed and he wandered away, finding another bed-partner, and ultimately marrying her to his great distress. Now divorced and bitter, Evan's pain over his own foolish past is tarnishing his hopes for the future with Rosemary and Wes. Wes lives in quiet disappointment over Evan's bitter resistance to their triad while Rosemary is locked in fear that she will once again be betrayed by Evan's selfishness.
This is not, in my opinion, the most delightful of stories in this series, even though that word is a part of the book's title. But I hand it to Ms Rainier for dealing openly with the stresses that immaturity and fear can engender and the pain those factors cause in people we love. That Wes keeps on working to bring them together is the bright spot in this floundering relationship. But ultimately I think this story is about the lessons Rosemary and Evan must not only learn but make a part of their own personas, the patience and trust each must build in their relationship with the others, and how triads like this must put the hurts of the past behind them. In this book, more than in any of the other novels in this series, there are delightful flashbacks to their childhood which build the reader's understanding of where each of these characters is "coming from." There are also memories of betrayal and disappointment, of pain and hurt that seem to wipe out the joy of hope and the anticipation of dreams realized.
This is a complicated story in many ways, but it is one that is gut-wrenching in its honesty and one which allows the reader to participate on some kind of level as these three work through their difficulties and as they find tentative and fragile foundations upon which to rebuild their dreams for the future. As always, there are some hot and sweet loving and there is a sense of watching three really delightful people come together in a relationship that has the potential to be all they hoped for from the beginning. As in other novels, Wes, Evan and Rosemary are helped greatly by counsel from Grace & Jack Warner, and Grace's other husbands, Ethan and Adam. These four individuals seem to form the foundation for all the succeeding friendships and each of them continues to prove that they are the kind of people we would love to have as neighbors.
Heather Rainier has drawn us all into the lives of these people who are connected with the Divine Creek Ranch, and I don't think it is too excessive to say that all her readers await the next book in this series with bated breath. And as with all the books that have preceeded it, I am curious how these new characters are connected to the Divine Creek cast of characters her readers have come to love. I hope all of you will begin at the beginning of this series--Divine Grace-- and read all the novels that have been released so far. As for this book, I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.