Desert Isle Keeper
The Suite Spot
One universal truth I’ve discovered as I get older is that adulting can be difficult – for everyone. Whether you’re struggling for balance or feeling the warm embrace of fortune smiling upon you, life happens. And life happened big time to Rachel Beck, who took a big, brave leap of faith in Trish Doller’s sweet, contemporary, grumpy sunshine story, The Suite Spot.
This is the second installment of her Beck Sisters series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. It’s my favorite kind of series, really, because other than an occasional allusion to Anna and Keane (from Float Plan), the reader can fully focus on what’s happening here. Rachel Beck is a single mother to four-year-old Maisie. They live with Rachel’s mother while Rachel works the front desk on the night shift at the Aquamarine luxury hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Rachel’s stuck in a safe, boring rut, hoping that Maisie’s father will evolve into a better man, and that she’ll get promoted to a better position at Aquamarine. Instead, her ex, Brian, continues to be reliably unreliable, and she’s fired because a customer made a complaint when she wouldn’t have sex with him.
Serendipity strikes when Rachel gets a bead on a hotel manager position on Kelley’s Island in the middle of Lake Erie, for a new hybrid microbrewery and boutique hotel. It might seem that a woman born and bred in south Florida would be hesitant to relocate to a place that has a potential to be socked in with ice for three to four months, but she’s ready for change. And it’s a good thing, because after talking with Mason Brown, owner of the Limestone Inn and Public House, she decides to take the job.
It’s immediately obvious Mason’s offer should’ve come with a warning that says: ‘can’t you just imagine how great it’ll be?’ Because situated in the middle of the heavily forested tiny island is a great, big unfinished project.
“So when you said you wanted the job, I didn’t tell you the hotel was unfinished because I didn’t want you to change your mind.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Because I’m completely in the weeds when it comes to running a hotel, much less building one,” he says. “I thought … well, I hoped … that if you saw the place and understood the vision, you might want to stay and oversee the construction.”
If ever there was a better euphemism for a brokenhearted, lonely man who relegated himself to a life alone, it’s news to me. Mason’s origin story is so very sad, and the death of his child, who was the same age as Maisie when she died a few years prior, casts a wide shadow over his life. As Mason and Rachel begin building their great Big Thing, life happens again, and stupid Brian comes back into the picture. Adulting, right?
Trish Doller is a great storyteller, and she has crafted a romance that’s easy to read. Her language is comfortable, the pace is perfect and the character development relatable and memorable. Everything about this journey is satisfying as Rachel and Mason make their way from friends to lovers. What started as a rope-a-dope disaster turns into a very mature, realistic, and relatable partnership between two people who needed each other. Adulting at its finest.