My mother has always loved to read my books. To this day, every time she sees me with a book in my hand, she has to ask, “What are you reading?” It doesn’t bother me so much now, but when was young, I often didn’t want her to know what I was reading (or I just wanted to annoy her), so I would respond with, “A book. It’s just a book.”
That’s sort of how I felt about Shoreline Drive. It didn’t amaze me, but its various problems didn’t push me into detesting it, either. It was just a book. Not an epic story, not a disaster, just a book.
Merry Preston, new mother, is ready to move out of her house. She’s currently living with her mom, Jo, who thinks she always knows what’s best for Merry’s son. Merry is tired of dealing with the stress of trying to placate her mother while still staying in charge of the raising of baby Alex. She’s just beginning to contemplate other living arrangements when Dr. Ben Faulkner, the island’s veterinarian, offers her the perfect solution—a marriage of convenience.
A few months ago, Ben was called to deliver Merry’s son Alex in the middle of a crazy storm (one bad enough that Merry couldn’t get to the hospital). Ever since that night, Ben has known that he loves Merry, and that the thing he wants most in life is to be able to call her his wife. Unfortunately, he isn’t exactly known for his charm. Ben is generally seen as a gruff man who prefers the company of animals to that of people, and he’s very aware that it will be an uphill battle to get Merry to fall in love with him.
It’s as Ben is fretting over this very problem that he realizes something. All Merry really needs is to get out of her house, and Ben can actually help her leave by marrying her. Rather than attempting to court her, Ben decides to offer up a business-like proposition that they enter into a marriage of convenience. Merry, although skeptical at first, is soon convinced that she cannot live with her mother any longer, and so agrees to be his wife.
This was weird, I have to say. Who jumps into a marriage with a simple acquaintance just to escape living with their well-meaning mother? I’m generally okay with marriage of convenience plots, especially in historical romances, but this one was poorly set up. If I were Merry, I would have called up a friend for help, or just moved in with Ben without the benefit of matrimony. Why bother marrying him, anyway, if you don’t intend it to be a true marriage?
Predictably, Merry and Ben quickly fall in love after they wed. They bond over baby Alex and their shared love of animals, which I’ll admit was pretty cute. (Babies and animals are basically always cute.) I particularly liked watching Ben fall deeper in love with Merry, because he was often more than a little awkward around her. There’s just something about a guy actually trying hard to find the right words that makes me smile. Most romance heroes have natural charm, and it was refreshing to find one who didn’t.
Overall, Shoreline Drive was a decent book. For me, Ben’s gruff and slightly awkward personality almost balanced out Merry’s crazy decision to marry him. He was realistic, while her decision was most certainly not, so in the end Shoreline Drive took place in a world halfway to fantasy land, rather than all the way there.