We are now at the wagging tail end of summer. School is back in session, vacations are over, and the work cubicle beckons. The days are getting shorter and the temperature occasionally dips enough to require that pashmina for Shakespeare In The Park. Even so, the cold seriousness of the waning year is not completely in control, and there is still time for a beach read or two before we settle down to depressing classics or chill inducing Halloween horror. Winter may be coming, but as there is no new Game of Thrones in which to wallow, indulge yourself in a little romantic mystery instead.
Anna Sullivan’s Hideaway Cove is the second in a trilogy about a missing heiress from a small island called Hideaway Cove, where the original inhabitants were moonspinners, wreckers, and rumrunners. The first volume set the scene, focusing on Maggie, an island hopper pilot, and her romance with a cop turned P.I. who has come to Windfall Island in search of the long missing Stanhope heiress or her progeny. As they try to trace the bloodline, which may include Maggie, it becomes apparent that someone will do anything to stop an usurper from sharing in the Stanhope fortune. Maggie is put at risk as she tries to unravel the mystery, while she and Dex dance around the question of love and commitment.
This second book, which can be read without book one because of judiciously used exposition, looks at Jessie, the young single mother, abandoned as a pregnant teen by one of the local boys when he found out she was having his child. She is a partner in Maggie’s air charter business, and has filled her life with her son and her work, struggling to do the best she can without help from either the boy’s father or his family. Her life becomes complicated when Holden Abbot arrives on the island, ostensibly to do research, but in reality to investigate the Stanhope situation. With your typical “prince charming incognito” plot, Holden neglects to inform Jess he is fabulously wealthy so that he will be appreciated for himself, waiting too long so that his deception becomes detrimental to the relationship with a woman who has little reason to trust men. Of course, Jessie and Benji may be related to the Stanhopes, and their lives are endangered once an initialed baby blanket is found in an old trunk. Benji’s father, the ne’er-do-well Lucas suddenly makes an appearance, forcing his way into Jessie’s carefully insular life.
It’s all formulaic, with all the usual tropes one expects in this genre, but the dialog is funny, touching, and sharp, and the characters are likeable if stereotypical. Sullivan does the damsel-in-distress story well, with a strong feel for the right emotional button pushing, which results in a satisfying read. The tempo of the wild chase scene at the end is perfectly paced, and it is written skillfully, guaranteed to bring at least a hoarseness to the throat, if not an out and out teary swallow. The book ends with an open door to the third and final volume, and is enticing enough to make the reader consider picking it up, if only to hear the conclusion of the scavenger hunt for the missing heirs.
The book does just what a beach read should do. It requires no mental gymnastics, it is readable and intelligent enough to keep the reader from worrying their brains have atrophied beyond hope, and it tells an interesting tale of excitement, romance, and the return of trust in human nature. Coupled with the nice character studies of the islanders, it makes for a pleasant way to while away a day before it is time to tackle the winter clothing storage boxes. While it is not Dr. Zhivago, it is a decent modern romantic thriller. And sometimes, that is exactly what you want.
- In accordance with FTC guidelines for bloggers and endorsements, I would like to clarify that the books reviewed by me are either purchased/borrowed by me, or provided by the publisher/author free of charge. I am neither compensated for my reviews nor are my opinions influenced in any way by the avenues in which I obtain my materials. I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
- Print Length:416 pages
- Publisher:Forever (July 29, 2014)
- Sold by:Hachette Book Group
Reviewed by Paula Tupper September 20, 2014