REVIEW: BEACH BREEZE, BY JOANNE DEMAIO

After a heartbreaking summer on the Connecticut shore, a group of beach friends is as adrift as an unmoored rowboat. When a dismayed Jason Barlow drives as far away from the sea as he can, leaving behind his wife, Maris, as well as their stately cottage on the bluff, that news hits like a sudden wave. Gathering over an intimate meal in a coastal diner, the friends make a solemn pact to lean on each other and not make any more rash decisions.

Which is all well and good, until each friend wavers–testing relationships, commitments, and especially love in the little beach community of Stony Point. But can the magic of the weathered boardwalk, whispering lagoon grasses, and sweet salt air cure what ails them?

My Thoughts: Reconnecting with the residents of Stony Point brought this reader back into all of their lives during a huge loss that seemingly took them each off course.

Jason Barlow was especially impacted by the sudden death of his new friend Sal DeLuca, who had become like a stand-in for Jason’s lost brother Neil. Struggling with his walled-off feelings, he takes to the road without a backward glance. But then he is brought up hard by the swell of his feelings, and calls his wife. Maris and her sister Eva join him, and for a bit, it seems as though Jason might have reached a defining moment.

But more will happen in the days and weeks ahead that will remind them all that sadness and sorrow are not easily forgotten.

Each member of the community is affected by Sal’s loss, and his mother Elsa shows just how much she is changed by it when she suddenly decides not to continue the beach inn renovation. A decision that will hit Jason hard, especially, as he was counting on the work, as were his employees. From one rash decision to another, the friendships are slowly unraveling, and their desperate effort to make changes leads to a pact. One that might curtail future wrong moves.

But will their pact help them move on, or will they have to take drastic steps to right the wrong choices they are making?

A beautifully written story that showed the strength of their bonds in the wake of tragedy, Beach Breeze carried me through to the final moments of an unforgettable summer…and earned 5 stars.

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REVIEW: BEACH BLUES, BY JOANNE DEMAIO

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Stony Point, Connecticut, is the perfect place for both old and new friends to enjoy the summer months.

Celia Gray is a newcomer who has arrived to stage cottages for local realtors, and to heal from a painful divorce, and while she stays in her friends’ cottage during her time here, she begins to form connections among the friendly residents.

Elsa DeLuca is the first of many who engage her, sweeping her up into a cozy circle of warmth, bringing her into her own whirl of activity as she renovates Old Foley’s into an inviting bed and breakfast inn, which she has dubbed Ocean Star Inn.

Soon Elsa is joined by her son Salvatore, who is seeking to heal from his stressful job on Wall Street. But could Sal be harboring other reasons for his summer sojourn?

While new connections form, the old friends show up to provide a backdrop for the summer explorations, and remind us of why we love visiting the beach community populated by Jason and Maris, Kyle and Lauren, and Eva and Matt. We watch as all the old friends share the memories that are part of their legacy in this place, nourishing them during hard times, and how they now bring the newcomers into their circle of trust.

One newcomer, the new beach commissioner, offered an annoying yet humorous backdrop to the usual friendly interactions. He was constantly on hand to issue citations for supposed violations to residents and visitors, with a pompous air and inflexible attitude. The Hammer Law was another rather strange rule: no hammering between the first day of summer until Labor Day, which put a kibosh on any construction work. It was interesting to see how Jason, the resident architect, managed his way around the rules.

Beach Blues is a continuation of the adventures of the characters’ journeys from previous books, and we come to look forward to what they add to this year’s adventures. More secrets are revealed, and with a sense of hidden darkness hovering overhead, we begin to suspect that sadness is not far off. But can the love and romance and celebration of the new lives they have created bring joy, despite any potential sorrow?

This delightful read is a book to savor for the summer, which earned 5 stars.

TUESDAY INTROS: “BEACH BLUES”

Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is my current read, and a review book from the author, Joanne DeMaio.   Beach Blues takes us back to Stony Point,  bringing you right to a secluded fishing shack and weathered boardwalk, to its wooden rowboat and lantern-lit porches. A novel that welcomes you, as much as it may break your heart.

 

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Intro:  If a little beach cottage could look forlorn, this one does.  Though she’s not sure why.  It’s just a bungalow, really, in need of a fresh coat of white paint.  Still, that’s not it.  Celia considers the cottage before her.  It sits on a small hill, so the sea breezes will reach into its windows.  And those sheer curtain panels on the top of each paned window look like white sails, puffing in the wind.  It all perfectly suits the cottage name:  Summer Winds.

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Teaser: “Can’t believe summer’s here again.”  Kyle Bradford tips his glass of beer to Jason’s.  “Cheers, man.”

“What are we toasting?”

“Life.  Beautiful life.”  Kyle sips his beer.  “You saved mine, been two years now, on a night that started right in this very bar.  And I’m here to tell you, it’s good to be alive, man.” (p. 17).

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Blurb:  New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio invites you to spend the summer by the sea, in a quaint New England beach town where friends and love await just outside the cottage doors.

Celia Gray finds herself house-sitting a silver-shingled cottage at Stony Point. She arrives with her guitar, a few staging jobs … and a bit of summertime sadness. That is, until an unforgettable group of beach friends draws her in like a breath of salt air.

Sal DeLuca heard the words in a dream: Take me to the sea. So after a decade of demanding work, he takes his first vacation in years. Trading in his suit and tie for blue jeans and boat shoes, Sal unexpectedly arrives at his mother’s shabby inn on the Connecticut shore, winding his way into the lives and hearts of the close-knit beach community.

When Stony Point’s two wash-ashores, Sal and Celia, meet, some say it’s a match made in beach-heaven. And so begins a sweet seaside summer … forging friendships, adventures and new love. But all is not at ease in the gentle sea breeze as a dark secret turns the tide for the Stony Point crew.

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I have loved every one of these beautiful books that bring the reader to gorgeous settings, reuniting old friends and introducing new ones.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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