Like Chance Mackenzie from Linda Howard’s Mackenzie series, Seth Quinn proved to be such a popular character from Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay series that fans asked for and now have the chance to read his love story. Sea Swept happens to be one of my all-time keepers, and although Chesapeake Blue doesn’t earn keeper status on its own, it puts a nice closing touch on the series, one of my favorites from Ms. Roberts.
Seth Quinn has come home to the little town of St. Christopher on the shores of Maryland, where, years ago, he first learned what the concept of “family” really meant. The distrustful, abused little boy who became the last of Ray Quinn’s strays is now a famous painter who has taken Europe by storm and commands a lot of money for his art. Troubled because of a persistent shadow from his past, Seth now finds himself surrounded by his brothers and their families, and in St. Chris, he also finds the possibility of love.
There is a new florist in town and Seth soon discovers that she is a woman with plenty of layers underneath her refined exterior. Drusilla Whitcomb Banks not only loves flowers and figuring out what best suits her customers – something she excels at – but she loves her independence and forging life on her own terms, away from the pressures of her society family. The attraction between Drusilla and Seth is immediate, but there is a journey that each must make before they can truly begin a life together. In Drusilla’s case, there is the issue of trust not only because of her past, but because of some of the relationships in Seth’s life, which triggers one particularly funny scene.
The dark shadow that lingers over Seth is hardly a surprise to anyone who has read the previous books, and it’s revealed quite early in the book. Gloria DeLauter, Seth’s abusive biological mother, is blackmailing her son, and actually, has been blackmailing him for years. This is where the plot faltered for me. I can see why Seth would wish to protect those he loves dearly but given that he has learned first-hand that the Quinns stand together whenever one of them is threatened, I felt it was out of character for him to keep this secret for so long. Everyone knows what the right thing to do is in this situation – the Quinns, Drusilla, and especially, the reader.
One of the attractions of Chesapeake Blue, aside from seeing what happened to Seth, is revisiting the Quinn clan, and I wasn’t disappointed. They were an integral part of the book without taking over or displacing Seth and Dru, and they make for a lot of fun and touching moments. Anna’s wild male-dominated family (“I don’t know why I couldn’t have had just one girl. I don’t know why that was too much to ask.”), Seth’s interactions with the sassy, grown up Aubrey, the dreams that involve people no longer in their lives, all complemented the main storyline. Dru and Seth complemented each other as well, and to see the uptown girl realize that she is accepted into the whirlwind of chaos that is the Quinn household was a treat. The mention of a character from another Roberts trilogy was a nice touch, too.
I was glad to receive Chesapeake Blue to review, since I know I am not alone in having hoped and waited for Seth’s story. If you’re a fan of the Quinns, you will be glad to revisit old friends and get to know the grown up Seth and his Drusilla.