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Monday, May 21, 2012

A Dream of His Own by Gail Gaymer Martin

A Dream of His Own by Gail Gaymer Martin
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Genre: Inspirational, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (278 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

The only thing philanthropist Quinn O'Neill wants is to forget the accident that took his wife and son. He doesn't expect a fender bender with a lovely stranger to change his life in a major way. Struggling single mom Ava Darnell and her teenage son have their own hardships.

What better way for him to lend a hand than through the Dreams Come True Foundation? But helping Ava means earning her trust…and having faith that dreams of healing and family just might become reality.

Believers, but with God on the outskirts of their lives, both Ava Darnell and Quinn O’Neill struggle with life. Neither seems to feel they will ever love or be loved again.

Ava lost her ability to trust when her husband secretly lost their saving in a pyramid scheme before he died. Alone, Ava struggles with tight finances and taking care of her son Brandon who has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Even through Brandon is in remission, she watches him closely, so closely she stifles his efforts to grow up and do things like other kids his age do. His rebellion and her need to control create conflicts that are so characteristic of teenagers yet so heart-wrenching because of his health and their limited funds to get him the things he wants so badly.

Quinn O’Neill, certainly not strapped for money, tries to find a respite from guilt, by using his money to help others. He’d been so focused on success, money, and power; he’d neglected his wife and son. Not until they were killed in a car accident did he realize what he had become. His guilt about them and the insurance money he received had overwhelmed him. He stepped away from life as he had known it and secretly helped others while staying to himself—almost a recluse. Then Ava Darnell backed into his SUV. As Ava and Quinn’s lives get entangled, both reevaluate their actions, motivations. Long-dormant emotions surge back to life.

Gail Gaymer Martin takes these two characters that seem only mildly interesting and brings them into a relationship that bubbles with energy and anticipation. She blends emotional and spiritual awakening so that Ava and Quinn are not just going through the motions of living but are evolving into vibrant individuals. She takes them from muddling their way through life, trying to do everything alone to letting God direct their efforts; thereby moving from just existing with lots of worry to living with joy and love.

The reader gets to enjoy a vicarious journey with them. As Ava eases her tight grip on trying to control all aspects her and Brandon’s lives, she finds her faith in God emerging and influencing her decisions. Consequently, her much-loved, but “mother-smothered” teenager gets a little freedom to inch his way into manhood.

As Quinn finds his way from his self-imposed isolation to a meaningful, loving relationship, the reader is privy to the struggles of a man of wealth and power letting God lead in decisions. His patience with Ava’s lack of trust is amazing.

At times the inspirational aspects seem a little “preachy” and overdone, but one of my favorite scriptures, Jeremiah 29:11, is a theme resonating through the story. This scripture comes to life as Ava and Quinn, by the grace of God, work through a myriad of issues and find their way from a captivity of their own making to their happy-ever-after.

Ms. Martin’s smooth writing style and poignant metaphors make A Dream of His Own a joy to read.