Rating: Very Good
Description: Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.
Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a sous chef at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point just over the bridge in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.
But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever.
Genre: Romance - Contemporary
Why I Picked This Book: I've been a big fan of Mariah Stewart since back in the days when she was writing lots of romantic suspense. I haven't found this to be the most consistent series but I can never resist a new entry.
My Impression: I've said many times that I find this series to be inconsistent (including right above this) but I must say - this is one of the good ones. One of the ones that reminds me just why it is that I keep reading this series.
First off I really loved Chrissy. She's in recovery from a really terrible relationship and is just getting ready to find happiness for herself again. I liked that there was some delay between her leaving an abusive situation and even the possibility of a new relationship. While I love a getting back on your feet kind of story sometimes the healing/recovery process feels a bit too fast. Her relationship with her great-grandmother Ruby was so sweet (or as sweet as Ruby allows - she doesn't put up with getting sentimental) and I really believed her growth and her relationship with Jared.
I liked Jared too. His reasons for not wanting to settle down are a combination of baggage and practicality (his job requires a lot of travel) and actually made some sense. He's a good guy who is smart and funny. He loves his friends and his family. How can you not want him to have a happy ending?
This is really character driven. The bulk of the plot is the characters just going about their day to day lives and interacting with the people around them which was a really nice read. I love the community feel of this series (which may be why I can never resist the new one in the series) and this really brought that into focus. There were a lot of truly sweet moments that never got too sugary but really increased my enjoyment of the book. If you love a character driven romance with really likable characters in a wonderful community I think you'll really enjoy this book!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely! I enjoyed this one and I've really been liking her Hudson Sisters trilogy as well.
Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy contemporary romance that's more about the connection than the spice I think you'll like this one. While it is book 12 in the series you can start here with no issue.