Far from the maddening crowds and troubling newscasts is the oasis of a sizzling romance novel. Just in time for summer comes SUMMER DAYS from New York Times bestselling authors Lisa Jackson, Elizabeth Bass, Mary Carter and Holly Chamberlin. A cover splashed with seashells, starfish and a straw beach hat sets the tone for four romantic adventures set in a variety of exotic destinations. Indulgence is the ultimate destination, and SUMMER DAYS delivers second chances, passion and pure fantasy.
“You Again” by Elizabeth Bass explores starting over with the same man after years of separation. When Janie accompanies her sister, Meredith, on a yoga group tour to Machu Picchu, she never expects to run into her ex-roommate and first lover, Sam. Their summer romance ended badly, and it has been seven years since Janie disappeared from Sam’s life. Sam is planning on popping the question to Gina, one of the yoga group ladies, on the trip in a romantic restaurant. Arrival in Peru is less than what Janie expected. The hotel is a dump, and the nearness of Sam and Gina is ruining Janie’s getaway. Janie keeps wondering if Sam is the one who got away.
"A cover splashed with seashells, starfish and a straw beach hat sets the tone for four romantic adventures set in a variety of exotic destinations. Indulgence is the ultimate destination, and SUMMER DAYS delivers second chances, passion and pure fantasy."
Ellen Tudor escapes to the comfort of her happy memories on a Maine beach by renting a house in Ogunquit on the coast for the summer. Ellen’s retreat in “Summer Memories” by Holly Chamberlin is a result of finding out that her fiancé, Peter, had cheated on her. Ellen’s desire to “recoup and to recharge” is short-lived due to the matchmaking efforts of her mother’s old friend, Cora Compton, who lives nearby. Cora’s story of romance is short and tragic. After just a few months of marriage to the love of her life, her husband passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. When Ellen asks Cora if there had ever been anyone else, Cora replied, “Who else would there be?” Sometimes there is only one chance at true love.
Cora’s eccentric personality and eclectic clothing give Ellen something to laugh about with Rob Penn, an artist also renting this summer on the shore. Fate and destiny are two of the most prevalent components of a romance novel. Ellen never expected to be attracted to Rob, especially so soon after a miserable break-up. But when she realizes that Rob is the very same boy who “tortured me that awful summer,” she is devastated. Some summer memories are best forgotten and forgiven, and Ellen has to decide if the boy who turned out to be the man she is falling in love with is someone with whom she can take a chance.
Mary Carter’s “Return to Hampton Beach” brings a father’s love to the forefront as he asks his daughter, Celia, to spread his ashes on Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, after his imminent death. Celia and Pete Jensen spent many happy summers on the beach and the boardwalk until a meddling socialite convinced the community that Pete, a local handyman, stole a valuable two-carat diamond ring from a residence. Celia was torn away from her first love, Jacob, as a result of the lie. She “had an overwhelming desire to turn back time…” and embraces her father’s last wish for her: “Return to Hampton Beach.”
“Celia stood on the boardwalk, breathing in the salt air mixed with coconut suntan lotion, feeling the sun kiss her shoulders and listening to the waves crash on the shore.” In my opinion, this is the most memorable line in the entire book and an invitation the reader cannot resist. We all believe in second chances, and Carter delivers them “on a silver platter.”
Lisa Jackson’s novels are sold in over 20 languages, but the one language that makes her books celebrated beach reads is that of romance. Jackson makes readers’ fantasies come to life, and “His Bride to Be” is a masterpiece. When Valerie Pryce shows up for a job interview at Donovan Enterprises, she never expected to be offered the job of posing as the future Mrs. Hale Donovan, fiancé of the multi-millionaire owner. Within 24 hours, the former soap opera actress receives a marquis-cut diamond engagement ring, a designer wardrobe for the cruise up the Pacific coast on a private yacht, and $25,000 for her “act.” As only a romance novel would feed fantasies, Hale’s “sidelong glances were unnerving, his innate sexuality impossible to ignore.”
Falling in love is something Hale never thought would happen to him, but the moment Valerie walks into his office, he knows she is a woman he can love. Jackson’s description of the luxurious trip up the coast, along with the attentions of a sexy man, keeps readers turning the pages with envy. Starlit nights, sunny days, shore excursions, fountains of champagne, and the magnetism of two people falling in love on a luxury yacht are the elements that make romantic beach reads a multimillion-dollar industry that will keep growing as long as the romance makes the world go ’round.
Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on May 16, 2014