‘Take a Chance on Me:’ A Unique Read!


STORY | Tragedy chases Darek Christiansen from the moment he agrees to do the “right thing” by marrying the small town girl. Instead of growing into a good husband and father, he’s too busy travelling the country as one of the Hotshots, an elite firefighter team, leaving behind what should be his greatest treasures. Now after a brief, tumultuous marriage, Darek’s wife Felicity dies some five years ago. As the eldest in a large family, Darek’s past becomes a subject no one dares to discuss.

Only now the lovely Ivy Madison breezes into town. Following an awkward first impression, Darek slowly begins to open up to the assistant county attorney, little realizing that the woman he is falling for and his own pasts are more entwined than either understand.

Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren | Book Review

‘Take a Chance on Me:’ A Unique Read! A review of the 2013 Susan May Warren novel that launches the Christiansen series. Text © Rissi JC

REVIEW | Way back when Susan’s “original” Deep Haven books were new, I discovered that her prose is a favorite. Her happy-go-lucky plots mix with some emotional turmoil that though sometimes tugs at the heartstrings is never overly melodramatic. Now, she invites us again to the charms of the small Minnesota town. This time, we get to catch up with old friends (including Liza! Will this girl ever get her own story!?), and meet new characters, too. Warren’s style is easy to read and enjoyable; each story seems to be dearer than the last and in particular this novel is one I’m quite fond of. The title plays into more than one relationship, helping to guide the reader towards feeling a part of the lives of these protagonists. It’s about more than just pursuing a romantic match, but also about coming to God in moments of despair, heartache and ultimately, the realization that He never forsakes.  

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Taking a chance with her readers, Susan writes all four of the main character’s without any solid faith underpinning. Darek grows up in a Christian home but abandons his faith; Ivy isn’t taught different, and doesn’t ever experience any kind of deep love; then Claire harbors bitterness; and Jensen believes he’s a leper. If I were to find fault with this novel, it’d be the four threads going on through the book. Reading the synopsis leads us to believe that we are going to be reading only Ivy and Darek’s story. But how everything plays out seems too formulaic in its consistency of switching off from Darek to Ivy and then Claire to Jenson.

The end features near exact declarations between two couples. What is meant to be a deeply affecting moment seems to slack as a result, plus the timeframe in which the entire book takes place doesn’t help (only three weeks or a month max). Admittedly this review makes it sound as if perhaps, this novel has a few too many flaws; please, do not misunderstand, it does not. Like any work of fiction from Susan, it has personable characters that are hard to forget. It’s just the manner they are sometimes presented, and how easily Darek and Ivy are “forgotten” that seems to get lost in the cracks during the 370-some pages.

Take a Chance on Me is, in reality a wonderful story that takes forgiveness and value of family to craft a unique, satisfying read.

‘Take a Chance on Me:’ A Unique Read! A review of the 2013 Susan May Warren novel that launches the Christiansen series. #BookWorm #BookLove #Bookish Click To Tweet


Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Source: Publisher – thank you!
Publication Date: 2013
Series: Christiansen Family – Book 1
Find the Review Elsewhere: Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere: Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Rating: ★★★★1/2

With thanks to Tyndale and Susan May Warren’s launch team for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I got this one to review but I haven't picked it up yet. It'll be my first read by Warren! *beams with pride* Great review, as always, Rissi!

    1. Am going to be keeping an eye out for your review, Rosie. And, YES! Finally you are going to be reading a novel by Susan. :) Enjoy.

      As always, thank you for reading.

  2. Just got this in the mail from you today! Yay! Looking forward to reading it. I am definitely a fan of Ms. Warren's! I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this one. :D

    1. Hooray! So glad you are a fan of Susan's writing also, Kara! Will look forward to your impressions of this one – my mom and I both liked it.

      Thanks for letting me know your book arrived! I appreciate it. :)

    1. LOL! That is fair, Sarah. Totally understand that – funny how seeing a string of words together can put a person in mind of something so totally different. :)

      That is a great song; really I love all that music! ;)

    1. Oh, yes, Kellie! You should definitely read this one – Darek is a bit of a "hot shot, firefighter." Or he was. Still, there are firefighter's present. ;)

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