It’s that time of year when we have had the ‘false spring’ week in Oregon and have then settled into 6 more weeks of winter. We had this absolutely beautiful week where it was sunny and 60-65 degrees—spring was in the air—until it wasn’t. Suddenly we were back to 40 degree temps with constant rain (like torrential down pour) and like many Oregonians we are all left longing for sunshine and warmer temps! So what is a surefire way to cure the longing in our hearts? A book set in a sunny location that offers a little bit of escapism and a whole lot of sunshine!
Enter this lovely new release from Susan Mallery! I love early spring releases. It’s when I am DYING to read them the absolute most because of the long rainy season here. I literally load up my iPad and TBR list with all the great new summer, beach-y reads in early February that carries me through to the end of April until spring actually arrives here!
Susan Mallery has been a favorite author of mine as she has written numerous series and books over the years and has a massive fan base! I have read a couple of her holiday themed books and have enjoyed them quite a bit so when this one came up for review, I couldn’t help but move it to the top of my beach reading TBR list for early spring!
“The perfect escape for readers wanting to get away.”—Booklist
One woman takes the vacation of a lifetime in this poignant and heartwarming story about the threads that hold a family together from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.
Single mom Robyn Caldwell needs a new plan for her future. She has always put her family first. Now, with her kids grown, she yearns for a change. But what can she do when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could ruin everything?
Take a vacation, of course. Press reset. When her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane to sunny California.
But it’s hard to get away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she loves follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more possibilities she sees—for dreams, love, family. She can have everything she ever wanted, if only she can muster the courage to take a chance on herself. (summary from Goodreads)
The one thing that always sticks out in my mind when I think of a Susan Mallery book is the unexpected complexity of her characters. she writes such memorable characters but they are memorable because they could be us. In this book we meet Robyn who has been raising her kids as a single mom and now she is ready to put herself first. Now as a reader, I am not a single mom and my son is 5 so how could I find something in common with her as a character you ask? Well it’s less in her actual circumstance and more in finding similarities in her character. It’s easy to lose yourself as a mom regardless of what age your children are. So when I was first introduced to Robyn I felt very much connected to her as a character even though her situation was different than my own, she was written so well and became so relatable for me even if we were on a different path.
In Mallery’s books you definitely get the sense that she writes from the heart. I could feel the realness of the characters—their struggles and their triumphs. There was also a lot of emotion in this story. There is some self discovery, some romance, and some family drama so basically there is a little something in this book for everyone to enjoy. The romance between Mason and Robyn was so great and I loved their chemistry—steamy, romantic, and full of tension. Loved it! But for me this was just an added bonus. I actually like the storyline between Robyn and Lillian. I loved how they interacted and how Robyn learned and grew from Lillian in a way that made sense and was necessary for her character.
To me this is very much a beach read, I don’t know that I would call it ‘fluff’ reading as there is a lot of substance to this book but it’s meant to be diverting, a little on the light side with some romance and self reflection. I think readers will find a lot to enjoy, some drama to be distracted by, some steamy romance to swoon over, and a journey that leaves a nice little full circle HEA. If you love Susan Mallery you will know exactly the caliber of book you are getting. If you haven’t tried a Susan Mallery book before, this would be a great option to warm up you spring TBR. Toss this baby in your beach bag and you are all set!
Book Info and Rating
Formet: 416 pages, hardcover
Publication: March 15th 2022 by HQN Books
Free review copy provided by publisher, HQN Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: beach reads, contempo romance, romance