Plot, character development, and symbolism are a universal language. Tough, by Mary Crawford speaks this universal language I so love.
I am not a huge fan of romance novels. I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy since I was a child. So, when I say a romance novel is a gripping story with compelling characters, it’s because the novel really is something special.
The story switches back and forth between the points of view of the two main characters, Savannah and Casey. Savannah demonstrates her mental and physical toughness almost immediately in a gripping scene that pulled me right into the story. Casey, her love interest, starts the story on his back foot, but steadily proves himself again and again as a kind, nurturing and strong person who Savannah can rely on as her own situation deteriorates and she finds herself drawn back into an unresolved, unhappy and dangerous past. Shadows of her past threaten not only her own future, but the well-being of innocents who should never be touched by her demons.
Savannah and Casey are both tough, tender, artistic and damaged souls who find support and even renaissance in each other. The story is wrapped up in their deepening romance and the sultry, sun-soaked Florida town where they live.
Tough is part of the “Hidden Hearts” series and is the second novel I’ve read in this series. The first was Love Claimed. Both novels stand alone, full and complete in and of themselves. And both novels made me curious about the backgrounds and pasts of other characters who are featured in other titles in the series. If you’re worried that Tough would be difficult to read without reading the earlier novels, don’t be concerned. It’s a full, complete, and quite satisfying read.