Summer at Seaside Cove
I’d never read anything by this historical author writing her contemporary debut, but am a sucker for romances set in beach towns so decided to give this a try. I’m glad I did as it proved to be a fast, enjoyable read with a likeable hero and heroine, some interesting secondary characters, and a cat and dog with real attitudes.
Jamie Newman is the manager of her family’s successful New York City restaurant. Normally she’s a workaholic, but things aren’t normal. Jamie just discovered that her older sister – who also works in the restaurant – is having an affair with Jamie’s lover. Jamie is normally the person who solves all of her family’s problems, but this is too much.
Jamie sublets her home for the summer and packs up her cat Cupcake and escapes to a luxurious cottage on a North Carolina coastal barrier island. Or should I say she thinks it’s a luxury cottage? Unfortunately, instead of the lovely beach home she saw on the Web, Jamie discovers that Paradise Lost, is a ramshackle mess filled with horrible decrepit furniture and a smell that won’t go away.
Jamie contacts the rental agent and expects to be given a new rental. Unfortunately, it’s prime tourist season and there’s no place else available in Seaside Cove. When Jamie learns that the owner of Paradise Lost, Nick Trent, lives next door, she storms over, wakes him up, and demands that he fix her summer home.
It’s a true case of hate at first sight. Nick thinks Jamie is a spoiled Princess. Jamie thinks Nick is a good-for-nothing, drunken bum. Fortunately, they’re both wrong. And of course, there’s a strong physical attraction between them.
I thought this was a cute setup, but the book goes a lot deeper. Once they work past their mutual dislike, Jamie and Nick have real conversations. They actually get to know each other. They have fun with each other playing along the beach, playing with Nick’s adorable dog Godiva, interacting with the local residents. Before she knows it, Jamie is completely sucked into the local community.
I really liked that Nick and Jamie recognize the difficulties involved in going further with their relationship; they live 700 miles apart. As they get to know each other and get more involved in each other’s lives, they each try to convince themselves and their friends that they “like” each other and that they’re not falling in love.
Before long, various members of Jamie’s family invade her space. I could have done with a bit less of her needy mother, but really enjoyed her niece. I did think that Jamie’s family problems were wrapped up a bit too neatly and quickly. However, since this left more time for Jamie and Nick to work out their relationship, I can’t completely disagree.
I found the setting of Seaside Cove to be quite vivid, and wouldn’t mind taking another visit there. I’ll definitely check out future books by the author.