Summer Lovin’ is a sequel to Under the Boardwalk. Both books feature the large and coloful Costas family and there may be other books in the works. This one is a pretty standard stuffy-man-meets-free-spirited-woman story and I’ll have to admit I was not impressed by it.
Zoe Costas has moved back to Atlantic City with the rest of her zany family. The Costas family used to be Addams Family impersonators, but now they run a spa. Zoe’s a former Secret Service agent who quit when she found she didn’t like to follow the rules. She’s setting up a private security business on her own.
The Costas hopes to adopt Sam Baldwin, a fourteen-year-old foster child who just celebrated her first anniversary with them. After years of passing from family to family, the Costas are the first stable home she has known. The party is in full swing when in steps Ryan Baldwin, who tells Zoe that he is Sam’s uncle.
Sam’s mother was Faith Baldwin, who ran from her stuffy family when Ryan was just a boy. He’s always wanted to find her and has been searching for some time now. Zoe takes one look at him – he wears a suit, he’s a lawyer, he’s (shudder) conservative – and decides he’s no good (but he is hot). Ryan agrees to pose as a social worker so he can observe Sam and the rest of the Costas family.
Of course Ryan’s cover is blown, and of course he and Zoe fall for each other. Toward the end of the book, they go meet Ryan’s family and finally learn the truth about why Faith ran away years ago. There’s a big happy ending with hints of a sequel.
I couldn’t muster up a lot of enthusiasm for this book at all. Zoe came across as someone who simply wasn’t very serious. A Secret Service agent who hates the rules?! Call me a stick in the mud, but if I was in need of some security and I had a choice between Harriet Hardnose and Molly Moonbeam, I know who I’d pick. The attraction between Ryan and Zoe did not register with me since I don’t think she really liked him all that much. Zoe was protective and loving toward Sam, but that’s about the only thing I liked about her.
Ryan is pretty much an uninteresting stereotype of the conservative, uptight man who loosens up when he meets a zany woman. In contrast to his ultra-stuffy family and the ultra-freespirited Zoe, he seemed a pretty sensible guy, but I simply could not fathom what he saw in Zoe. The Costas’ only show up to act colorfully and Ryan’s own family change from haughty to understanding in the snap of a finger.
Sam is a brat. Yes, I know that she’s had a hard life, but she acts more like a spoiled child than a fourteen year old girl. She whines, pouts and sulks. When Ryan’s family act snooty, she stops up their toilets with scrunchies. I probably should be more understanding, but I didn’t care for her and thought she needed the Super Nanny.
After I finished Summer Lovin’, I wondered if the hot weather we’ve been having has drained my sense of humor since it’s very rare for me to not laugh once when I read a comic novel. I don’t think so, since I recently read one that featured a free spirited heroine whom I found cute and charming as could be. I’m afraid that me and this book made for a poor match.