Category Archives: What You Wish For

Review: What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Title: What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.

But she wasn’t always that way.

Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.


What You Wish For by Katherine Center is an entertaining romance with eccentric yet lovable characters.

Samantha Casey adores her job as a librarian at the Kempner School.  She has finally found a family for herself so she is heartbroken when the principal and co-founder of the school unexpectedly passes away. Surprising everyone, his workaholic son-in-law now in charge of the board and he hires Duncan Carpenter as the school’s new principal. Samantha is both horrified and delighted about the news. She worked with Duncan a few years earlier and his fun-loving playful personality will be an excellent fit with the teachers and students. But she dreads seeing him again since she had the worst crush on him when they were co-workers. However, Samantha’s joy turns to dismay when Duncan is nothing like she remembers him.  Why is Duncan so serious and strait-laced? And can Samantha help him find his way back to the joyful person she once knew and loved?

Samantha is vivacious and full of life. She is also quite passionate about her job and the Kempner School. The school’s relaxed and creative atmosphere is a huge part of its success so she is horrified at some of the changes Duncan plans to make. She is also very concerned at the differences in the man she once admired from afar.  Samantha’s crush dies a quick death but she cannot help but still worry about Duncan.

Duncan is laser focused on ensuring the students’ and staff’s safety. He does not see or appreciate the school’s charm and he is impossible to dissuade as he begins making changes. Duncan is now sadly lacking in joie de vivre and he remains stodgy and ignores Samantha’s efforts to change his mind about his plans.

Despite her distress over  the new and not at all improved Duncan, Samantha is still drawn to him. She never quite gives up hoping he will revert back to the zany man she once knew and admired. Finally seeing flashes of the Duncan, is it possible to rekindle his wacky, fun-filled spirit?

With a friendship forming between them, Samantha is hopeful she will find out why Duncan’s personality is so drastically different.  As she tries to help him find the joy in life, they become more at ease with one another. Samantha realizes her feelings for Duncan have not changed but is there any chance for a future together?

What You Wish For is a quirky romance with an uplifting message. Samantha is an effervescent and compassionate woman who has learned the hard way to embrace and enjoy life. Duncan is a little bit broken but he is a willing partner as Samantha aids him on a healing journey. Katherine Center brings this charming novel to an unpredictable but sigh worthy conclusion.  An absolutely delightful novel of hope and resilience that I enjoyed and highly recommend.

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Filed under Contemporary, Katherine Center, Rated B, Review, Romance, What You Wish For, Women's Fiction