Desert Isle Keeper
Jenny Holiday takes her funny, sparky contemporary romance voice into Matchmaker Bay in her new book Mermaid Inn.
Librarian Eve ‘Don’t-Call-Her-Evie’ Abbot has been named the owner of her grandmother’s beloved Mermaid Inn. She plans on getting it repaired and turning it right around so she can get back to her busy (read: disastrous) life in the city. Evie once loved the Mermaid Inn and the town in which it was situated, but when her high school boyfriend broke her heart by cheating on her she refused to return to the place for the bad memories it spawned. Unfortunately, when she gets stuck on the roof of the inn without a ladder, he’s the guy who arrives to help her.
That ex-boyfriend happens to be the local sheriff, Sawyer Collins, and when he sees Evie stuck on the roof of the Mermaid Inn all of his old feelings rush back. Unfortunately, things with Evie are Complicated and Sawyer Knows he Messed Up but doesn’t know how to communicate it.
As Evie struggles to modernize the Mermaid Inn, she finds herself falling back in love with Matchmaker’s Bay – and with Sawyer. But will she go back to the city when she’s offered her dream job? Or will Matchmaker’s Bay have its say and keep her grounded?
Jenny Holiday’s funny, breezy voice and wonderful sense of humor light Mermaid Inn’s way, and make Sawyer and Evie’s relationship take flight.
Evie is a sassy, lively mess – and while I admit I wasn’t a hundred percent on board with her list-making quirk, which sometimes takes over the narrative, that sassiness ultimately overrode this flaw.
Sawyer, meanwhile, overcame some marginally dickish behavior to become a great hero and a fun one. I really enjoyed his openness, and his eventual warmth with Evie. His grovel and apology is magnificent and perfect.
Second chance romances are always fun, but the reader will have to traverse over the teenage mistakes that tore these two apart, which might be a bit of a problem for those who don’t like cheating, even when it’s just a kiss. But it’s a rewarding ride in the end.
Both characters have some really great friends. I loved Maya in particular, and I liked the notion of Evie’s practical librarian ways and her struggles with her grandmother’s idea of interior design (gluing everything down to keep people from stealing it!) and hotel management (Pepto pink rooms). For Evie, her struggle is between accepting the twists and turns of life or hiding away in a safe place because she doesn’t want to deal with the rejection life has handed her. For Sawyer, it’s how to communicate like a grown-up with the woman he loves.
The book is also about life in a small town versus life in a city, and Holiday is clear-sighted about the flaws and boons of life in a small town, from cheesy traditions to the spare beauty of life in a beach town community.
The worst flaw the book has is that sometimes the cutesy quirk gets a little too cutesy and a little too quirky. But readers should be able to overlook that in exchange for an entertaining, wonderfully funny, romantic as all get out, easy, breezy good time at the Mermaid Inn.