Friday, August 1, 2014

Breakwater Bay

Raise your hand if you are in need of a good chick lit with a great story and a little romance? Yes, you over there eager beaver waving your hand- you need this book.

Breakwater Bay - Shelley Noble
Breakwater Bay
Preservationist Meri Hollis loves her latest project, restoring one of Newport's forgotten Gilded Age mansions. And with summer approaching, she'll be able to spend more time with her Gran on the Rhode Island shore. She has a great job, a loving family and she's pretty sure her boyfriend is going to propose on her thirtieth birthday.

But everything Meri believes about family, happiness, truth and love is shattered when her family's darkest secret is exposed.

Thirty years before, Meri's neighbor and friend, Alden Corrigan, took his father's dinghy out to fish. In a sudden storm, he rushed to help a woman stranded on the breakwater. She was just a girl . . . a very pregnant girl who disappeared soon after they reached safety-But not before she left behind a very special gift.

Now that the truth it out, life will change for everyone in Breakwater Bay, and Meri and Alden will have to make decisions that could insure their future together . . . or separate them for good.

On my recent vacation I brought two books with me to read, this one and Going Somewhere by Brian Benson. So you'll get both reviews, hopefully by the end of the weekend, but this one gets first dibs because I finished it first. Anyways. 

I loved this book. While reading it, I realized I hadn't read a good chick lit novel in quite awhile. I think the last one was The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank. But the great thing is that this book? Feels like a Dorothea Benton Frank book, and I absolutely love her stuff. So Shelley Noble? You are definitely on my radar. 

It's basically the story of Meri, who while meticulously restoring the ceiling of a sad, unloved mansion, is on the edge of a lot of things in her life. She has Peter, who she loves and she basically just expects to marry him. She has her Gran and Gran's house on a lovely beach. She has her friends and her family. Suddenly on her birthday, she discovers everything she knows about her family and herself are not correct at all and it thrusts her into discovering the answers to things she's not sure she wants to know. This pairs her up with Alden, Gran's neighbor who she has known her whole life and has come to rely on him more than she realizes, and their relationship is put to the test and she spends a chunk of the book figuring out just what their relationship even is, or what it should be. 

I don't know if anyone else picked up on it but there were some real ties to her restoration work and her actual life. When things went well with the project, life was good. When things went wrong with the project, things were rocky in her personal life. It's kind of a cool aspect of the story I didn't pick up on necessarily until we got closer to the ending. But can I just say, the story line with the abandoned baby, pregnant teenager, etc? So great. Really. I just felt so terrible and then when you meet the family this teenager came from? Pieces of work. Truly. And I totally loved the ending. I would have loved an epilogue maybe, but even still, so good. 

The other thing I appreciated about this book was that with everything happening, seemingly all at once, I never felt like I was on plot overload. The transitions were smooth, the story was good, and the characters were great. This turned out to be a fabulous vacation read. 

Pick up a copy for yourself. It would even make for an interesting book club read and in the back there are some questions that you can use to guide discussion. 

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