Seabreeze Inn (Summer Beach #1)


WOMEN'S FICTION:  As a member of a large extended family with branches spread around the world, forty-something widow Ivy Marin and her younger sister Shelly leave their homes on the east coast to go to Summer Beach, California. They are planning to attend a family gathering and deal with a run-down property Ivy’s husband purchased before his sudden death. The small oceanfront town offers both women the fresh start they need, but Ivy’s ancient history of romantic disappointment with forty-something widower Bennett Dylan makes things complicated. He is also her real estate agent. Plans to renovate the property lead to multiple mysteries, surprising discoveries, and love. 

Ivy and Bennett’s love story is lighthearted and airy, with a smooth integration of historical details about California in the years leading up to and including World War II. Serious themes about identity crises, betrayals, grief, and the hidden facets of loved ones are offset by Ivy’s bumbling journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately, for most of the story Ivy and Shelly come across as silly and superficial, while Bennett is often portrayed as condescending and judgmental, challenging the reader's investment in their struggles. A variety of common plot developments also weakens the intensity of the narrative. Nevertheless, solid pacing, interesting backstory details, and a big cast of distinctive characters combined with vibrant descriptions of the community make “Seabreeze Inn” an entertaining beach read for fans of sweet romance that offers multi-generational context and humor. 

Cardyn Brooks