Summary: Rick Sullivan is back after an honourable discharge from the Marines. He was one of Jewell Cove’s star athletes and heartthrobs before he joined the Marines. Now he is far from the hometown hero everyone wants him to be; he is a raging alcoholic, who has lost an arm and has nightmares from his time in active service.
Jess Collins come from a large and loving family and owns a gift shop. Although she seems to be doing great, she was once in an abusive relationship with another man from the same town. Jess fled him and started a new life with the help of her brother Josh, who warned him away from her.
Jess’ cousins and Josh are great friends of Rick, and she had crush for him when she was a teenager. However, because of her past, she cannot tolerate his drinking and always lashes out at him.
This book by Donna Alward is about how Jess and Rick come together, cope with their past and find that the spark between them is indeed true love.
My thoughts: This story should have been written as a full-length, standalone novel, without being fettered to a series based on locality. The issues discussed here are far more complex than is suitable for a light, romantic read.
This could be just a quirk of mine – although I like the cover, I don’t think it suits the story.
Rick and Jess worked their way around their difficulties although at times I felt they were never going to do so. I wish the chemistry between Jess and Rick had been stronger.
I liked that Jess was sensitive about Rick’s disability. However, I did not like her scepticism when it came to his attempts at staying sober; her reaction was disproportionate to what she experienced in the past.
Despite the negatives mentioned above, I was predisposed to like the book maybe because she wrote Christmas at Seashell Cottage, which I had reviewed earlier. Donna has described the dynamics of a small town (in this book) just as well as she did in that book.
Note: The publishers, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, gave this book to me in exchange for an honest review. I thank them for that.