I'll start out by being totally forthright and telling you that I've known Don for several years. He started out as an Internet buddy of mine - I was impressed by his blog. He had made the commitment to squeeze his writing in to whatever free time he had, and he figured that was about fifteen minutes a day, as he is a work-at-home dad who at the time was caring for his very gravely ill wife. But rather than whine and complain that he only had fifteen minutes of free time a day (like I would have) he chose to concentrate that time on writing. Slowly but surely, his novel became reality. Now his wife is doing much better, thank goodness, and the things Don learned during that time - how to maximize what time he has, and tenacity - are paying off for him with this successful publication. And I have to say, Don is just as nice in person as he appears to be on his blog.
Meeting Don in person for the first time -
LDStorymakers Writers Conference 2008
L-R: Don Carey, me, Rebecca Talley, and Daron Fraley
signing at The Book Table - January 2011
Now that I've embarrassed him horribly, let's talk about the book.
Our main character is Jordan McDonald. He's recently returned from his mission and has made up his mind to reinvent himself. He wants to make a success of his life and achieve some dreams he's had for a long time - mainly, to get his pilot's license and honor his deceased father's last wish for him. But his mother has reasons of her own for not supporting Jordan in his dream, and he must decide whether to openly defy her, turn his back on his father's request, or sneak around behind her back. He chooses the sneaky option.
Living in Hawaii as he does, he's blessed in a lot of ways - he attends BYU Hawaii, he gets to enjoy the gorgeous scenery ... and he meets the beautiful Kehau. He is smitten by her from the moment they first meet, but she seems completely unattainable. He's not sure how to go about getting her attention, but there's just got to be a way. When that chance comes up, he takes it - she needs to go to another island, and he's just the man to fly her there. It will take a bunch of lying to accomplish it, but if he gets the girl ... isn't that the important thing?
Yes, Jordan does make a series of mistakes throughout the book, but then we see something change within him and he realizes that he's not finding the joy he wants to find in the way he's living his life. As he comes clean with his mother and works on forming better relationships all the way around, we see him morph into "a new man," the goal he's had since the start of the book. Yes, he achieved that goal, but not in the way he expected, and he's a better "new man" than he had ever anticipated.
Bumpy Landings was a fun read for me because it was completely out of the norm. It's set in Hawaii, and who wouldn't love a book set in Hawaii? It's written largely based on the author's own experiences - Don is a pilot, and his descriptions of the flight lessons, etc, are all true to life, and he also worked in a floral shop, making Jordan's part-time job very realistic. In addition to all that, it's a romance from a guy's perspective, and we don't see that often enough.
I give Bumpy Landings two big thumbs up and can't wait to see what's next from this fresh, creative writer.
I was given a copy of this book to review, but that didn't influence my opinion. If it had, I would be a little too easily bought.