Book Review: Finding Hunter by @MarciaMeara #bookreviewtuesday

Hello and welcome to another Book Review Tuesday. If you enjoy character-driven fiction layered with family drama, angst, and romance, boy do I have a book for you! My review follows, but you can click the Amazon link to read the blurb and learn more about this fabulous story.

Book cover for Finding Hunter by Marcia Meara shows open journal with pen, cup of tea in backgroudFinding Hunter
by Marcia Meara

Hunter Painter is the youngest of three brothers. Forrest and Jackson have always been more outgoing, a little rough-and-tumble, and clever with the ladies. By contrast, Hunter is reserved, a bit on shy side, a gentle soul whose feelings run deep. He has been in love with Willow Greene since high school, but far too inhibited to approach her. Years later, when a friend gives him a nudge and he finally does, he discovers Willow has harbored the same feelings for him just as long.

The bliss of discovery is short-lived, however, when their love is put to the test all too soon. Hunter’s mother suffers from dementia, potentially underscored by mental illness. Although Hunter recognizes the downward spiral and the increasing severity of her actions, both his father and his brothers turn a blind eye. When tragedy strikes, Hunter’s world shatters and he is left trying to balance a toxic mix of darkness, brokenness, and suffocating guilt. It doesn’t help both his brothers initially turn on him, too encumbered to admit their own shortcomings.

What follows is a tale of anguish, love, and redemption. Unable to cope, Hunter tries to shut out the world, but he is unable to break the ties that bind him to Willow. Even when they are separated, their hearts are constantly entwined. Willow’s strength is steel, the solace Hunter needs when he returns to her—even if only to say goodbye. Hunter’s healing—which encompasses the second half of the novel—doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a testament to the author’s ability to tug heartstrings that she parcels it out in a manner that leaves a lump in the throat.

Meara tackles heavy duty issues—dementia, mental illness, PTSD, family relations, recovery. But she balances the weightier moments with character growth, plenty of realism, and heart. One thing you can always count on in a Marcia Meara novel is heart. Hallmark could take lessons.

As always, the characters are outstanding, and Hunter and Willow will remain with me for a long time to come. In addition, I was thoroughly smitten by Forrest Painter’s story arc. Reading Finding Hunter is like taking a journey. As someone who loves character-driven fiction, it’s a journey I highly recommend others take. 5 glowing stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Fiction > Romantic Suspense

And, in an odd twist of fate—or maybe just a snazzy coincidence—I’m over at Marcia’s place today sharing a review of my romantic mystery, Eclipse Lake. If you get a moment, I’d love to have you visit me there. Of course, I’m also curious to hear your thoughts about Finding Hunter, and I’m sure Marcia is, too!  🙂

86 thoughts on “Book Review: Finding Hunter by @MarciaMeara #bookreviewtuesday

  1. It gave me goosebumps just reading your review. Dementia and mental health issues are always so draining on families and it sounds like Marcia captured this to perfection. Thank you for sharing your review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for such a beautiful review, Mae! (Heck, it makes ME want to run right out and buy a copy of this, even though I have several of them here already! 😀 ) I think you’ve done an excellent job of expressing the kinds of issues Hunter’s story tackles, and I hope your readers will want to go along on Hunter’s journey. For anyone who’s afraid it might be all doom and gloom, let me add I can never resist stirring in what I hope are some really funny moments here and there. I do it in all my books, largely because I enjoy laughing, myself, and giving others a chuckle or two, as well.

    The Painter brothers have become very special to me, and it was a great pleasure to read that you like them as well, Mae. Thanks again for such a wonderful recommendation. I’ll be sharing this on my blog later today, after the two #ShareAReviewDay posts have had some time in the spotlight. Yours goes live on The Write Stuff at 8:00am DST, and I hope your followers will check it out at the link you’ve shared. Happy Reading, everyone!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your books area always filled with humor—and plenty of heart. Adn the Painter Brothers have really wormed their way under my skin. I’m already reading That Darkest Place and hope to be able to share that review next Tuesday. I love these guys. And I’m so happy you like the review!

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    • I’ve always enjoyed books about brothers, though I’m not sure why. When I started writing, I knew brothers would factor into some of my tales. And the father-son thing factors strongly into the Wake-Robin Ridge stories and The Emissary books. (So far, I’ve not had the urge to write about sisters, and I’m sure there’s some deep-seated reason for that, but I don’t know what it is. 😀 )

      It’s just that unbreakable bond between brothers that speaks to my heart. Hunter is my favorite character out of all of my books, btw, though Rabbit runs a close second. 😀 Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment, Teri. If you get a chance to read this one someday, I’d love to hear what you think. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Just be aware that FH is # 2 in the Riverbend series. The Painter brothers were introduced in Swamp Ghosts. It can be read as a standalone, but relationships from SG will factor into the story here and there. 😀 Thanks for your interest, Teri. And I hope you’ll enjoy Wake-Robin Ridge, which was totally usurped in the 2nd book by a ten-year old boy with a few very special gifts. 😀 Happy reading! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

    • I love books that feature family relationships and overcoming hurdles. Marcia does a fabulous job with all the brothers in this book, and even sets up a segue to the final book. Of course, I’m all over that one, too, LOL.
      I’m sorry to hear some of these issues hit close to home. My mother suffered from dementia before she died, but thankfully, it wasn’t severe. And no where near the extent of Mrs. Painter’s case, thank heavens!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mother did as well, Mae, but not for too very long. She had Parkinson’s and it was related to that.

        As for Riverbend, That Darkest Place is definitely not the final book, just so you know. So I’m glad you’ve enjoyed meeting some of the quirky denizens already, though the next one will likely focus on a couple of new characters. It’s a small town, so the Painter brothers, and others from the first books will be showing up here and there, no matter who the central character is. You’ll be able to check in on them that way. 😀 😀 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Okay, that sounds intriguing 🙂

      And you’re going to love Finding Hunter. I enjoyed the first Riverbend novel but this one has a different tone. Still plenty of romance, but presented in a different way. I really like how Willow takes charge and refuses to let Hunter face his problems alone.

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      • Thanks, Mae! I do consider Willow to be the strongest female character I’ve written, regardless of her somewhat fragile and delicate looks. So glad you enjoyed her, and her sheer determination to help Hunter find peace. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Balroop! So nice to have you drop by to check out the review.
      Finding Hunter was a fabulous read. I’ve already started the final book in Marcia’s Riverbend series. She does have a wonderful way of writing, and a wonderful way with characters!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you so much, Mae. The characters in my books are, for the most part, people I’ve known all my life. The basic small town, southern folks I see every time I go to the grocery store or take a walk in the park. I went to school with Jacksons and Forrests, and even a Hunter or two. I feel like I’m visiting with friends as soon as I start telling their stories. It makes writing these books a labor of love from start to finish. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • I love the cover art on her books.
      I was honestly a little worried about reading this one, but I fell in love with the characters immediately, and all the issues are handled with care and respect. Hunter and Willow are the heart of this novel, and as always, Marcia did a stellar job with their characters. Particularly Hunter. He stole my heart!

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    • There are certainly real life issues involved, Jacqui, but I hope there are also enough moments of humor, love, tenderness, and compassion to keep the tale from being unpleasant. And always, always, the main focus of any of my writing is the redemptive power of love. That’s what I want people to walk away with at the end of the final page. It’s the bottom line for me, and I always try to make that point, because I believe love can take us through anything that comes our way. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • BTW, Jacqui, I forgot to say thank you for your compliments on my covers. One of my best friends and gardening buddies is a graphics designer. She’s the one who finally convinced me to start writing, and she’s done all of my covers for me. I tell her what I’m picturing, and she sends me something exactly right, only better. So glad you like them. (I sneak in some of my own art from time to time. Like the silhouette of the Black Dog on Harbinger. But mostly, it’s Nicki’s design work that makes them shine. I’m SO lucky! 😀

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  3. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:
    A Triple Play today! In addition our normal #ShareAReviewDay two-fer, I’m also sharing a wonderful review by Mae Clair of my 2nd Riverbend novel, Finding Hunter. Mae chose this one for her #bookreviewtuesday post, and I’m really pleased to reblog it here today! Hope you’ll all check it out, and if it sounds like something you’d enjoy, I also hope you’ll check out the full blurb on Amazon. Thanks for passing this along on social media, and a special thanks to Mae Clair for her wonderful comments on Finding Hunter. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a great review! I must admit the topics of this book are things I’m not fond of reading about, but I do know Marcia’s great ability to deliver stories with real heart. Reading your observations, I might just screw up my courage and tackle it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope you’ll give it a try, Debby. Yeah, there are serious moments when tragedy strikes, and they might even wring a tear out of you here and there, but you know my overall philosophy in ALL my books is a strong focus on the redemptive power of love. There’s a good bit of humor here and there, too, and some major personal growth for some of the characters. But it’s my firm belief that our ability to overcome the obstacles thrown in our path is amazing, and never stronger than when those who love us are by our side. So while I kind of need to let you in on the bad bits, it is my sincere hope you’ll think the end result was worth it.

      If you do decide to take a chance on Hunter–and I think he’s pretty special, being my personal favorite of all my characters–I’ll be really eager to hear your thoughts. Fingers crossed you’ll give it a go! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • I can so relate to your thoughts, Debby. I felt the exact same way. The subject matter had me worried, but I should have known my fear was misplaced given the author. There is so much love and redemptive power in this book, I feel foolish for dragging my feet on reading it. Gold stars all around. It’s a winner, and the characters will steal your heart. There are some rough moments, but it’s no darker than any Hallmark movie during the rough patches and the payoff is uplifting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A great review that captures the essence of this brilliant book. The topics are ones that surround us all and I actually cried for Hunter. Marcia tackles these topics with sensitivity, brings them into the open and shows the redeeming qualities of love and determination. It does make you aware how much we need each other at those times when things become too much to bear. I’d like to think there’s a Willow for me if I need one and that I could be a Willow for someone else. It’s not all ‘doom and gloom’ – there’s a powerful feelgood factor at work here, too, that will leave you with a smile on your face.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Trish! Pulling emotions out of people is what I love most about writing. Laughter, tears, gasps, and shivers–it’s great when we know our words have caused those reactions in readers. However, I don’t ever plan to write anything that leaves a reader miserable when it’s over. If you travel along with a character, watching him or her fight impossible battles, they simply NEED to come through victorious at the end, to my mind. And I suspect you could be Willow to many of your family members or friends. Willow is the who we’d all like to be, isn’t she? Courageous and determined, and nearly always able to say the right words to those who need her counsel. At least, that’s how I tried to write her. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Trish. And for loving Hunter, too. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • Wooohooo, Diana! That’s music to my ears. I hope you’ll enjoy the book when you find time to read it. Hunter is pretty special to me, and it was hard to let go of this story. (Luckily, the next book deals with the other two Painter boys, so I got to revisit him several times.) 😀 Let me know what you think when you have time to read it! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

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