The Burnside Series by Mary Ann Rivers
May 6th, 2014
Mary Ann Rivers continues her Burnside family series—perfect for readers of Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Ruthie Knox—as two people try to share their hearts without losing their cool.
Dr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.
Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.
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The role of family relationships in romance (How the Burnside Family dynamic helps add to the depth of the characters and the romance)
For me, using a family as the emotional center of a romance developing in a romance novel is an obvious narrative choice. None of us fall in love in a vacuum -- our love affects change on everyone around us, most particularly our families (by birth and by choice). Love changes us, and those who will be most interested and most threatened by that change will be family members, and in a narrative, this creates dramatic tension and the opportunity to explore ideas.
It's simply not as interesting to stick to the hero and heroine on every page -- as we watch them fall in love, we want more context than their inner emotional lives. As readers, we will always have questions about how the protagonists got the way that they are, and for most of us, what shapes us is our families. What's more, family members and friends in a novel provide alternate perspectives on our protagonists and give the reader different reasons to support/doubt/empathize with the protagonists or the protagonist's goals.
It's nice to echo themes in secondary story lines, as well. It's satisfying as a reader to feel well taken care of by the author, and a richly imagined cast of characters, who reflect the arguments of the book, is one way to do that.
Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.
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