by Kate Hewitt
Why I chose this book? The cover and the setting
When I read this book? September 2017
Who should read this book? Readers of women’s fiction and beach stories
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating: ✰✰✰✰ 4 Stars
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley (August 8, 2017)
Welcome to England’s beautiful Lake District, where a reluctant reunion forges a new bond between a daughter and her wayward mother….
Abby Rhodes is just starting to get her life on track. After her fiancé’s unexpected death, she returned with her young son to the small village where she grew up and threw herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town’s beach café. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up in Hartley-by-the-Sea and announces her plan to stay. After twenty years away, she now wants to focus on the future—and has no intention, it seems, of revisiting the painful past.
Laura Rhodes has made a lot of mistakes, and many of them concern her daughter. But as Abby gets little glimpses into her mother’s life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew. Slowly, Abby and Laura start making tentative steps toward each other, only to have life become even more complicated when an unexpected tragedy arises. Together, the two women will discover truths both sad and surprising that draw them closer to a new understanding of what it means to truly forgive someone you love.
“With lush coastal imagery and well-drawn characters, Hewitt immerses the reader in the deeply personal struggles and triumphs of Rachel and Claire. At turns introspective and exhilarating, this novel proves that it’s never too late to start over.”—Booklist
I enjoyed this one very much, although I have to admit that it was a little slow to hook me. This story is high on character development and lower on action. Abby and Laura, mother and daughter, have a lot in common, but they don’t know it until they get to know one another. And that isn’t easy, because Laura abandoned Abby when she was a toddler, and Abby doesn’t trust her not to abandon her again, so she tries to maintain a distance from Laura.
Both women became pregnant without that ring on their finger and so had a difficult time of it as single mothers. They both also grew up in the small community of Hartley by the Sea, where gossipping was a way of life. Both tried to escape the small community and the gossip, only to return to face the wagging tongues because they were out of options.
There isn’t much about this book I didn’t like. The setting by the sea was calm and beautiful, and I liked the characters, particularly Abby and Laura. Laura refused to reveal the father’s name when Abby was born, but that came out towards the end of the story, and I found out my ‘inkling’ was right. And the story had a happy ending!
This could make an interesting book club selection. I breezed through the book, but I think that there is a lot that book clubs could discuss; mother-daughter relationships, the stigma of single parenthood, forgiveness, and others. There is a set of discussion questions in the back of the book.
If you look close, you will notice that this is the third book in a series, but I did not read the previous books and I can tell you it definitely works as a stand alone! I read the synopses of the previous books and it appears that the setting is what determines the series. The main characters in those books made appearances in this one, but they weren’t a major part of the story and I don’t think the previous books would have added to this one. However, I do plan to go back and read them. And if you want to read them, you are in luck. I have a copy of each of the previous two books to give away to one lucky winner! Just click on the link below and fill out the form! The contest closes at midnight CDT on September 13 and the winner will be chosen on September 14.
About Kate Hewitt
Kate Hewitt is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty books, including the Hartley-by-the-Sea novels Rainy Day Sisters and Now and Then Friends, and more recently, the Willoughby Close series. A former New Yorker, she now lives in Wales with her husband five children. She also writes as Katharine Swartz.
Connect with Kate
This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.
Kate’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, August 8th: Books & Bindings
Thursday, August 10th: Chick Lit Central – spotlight
Friday, August 11th: Girl Who Reads
Monday, August 14th: Mama Vicky Says
Thursday, August 17th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, August 23rd: Book Mama Blog
Friday, August 25th: Jathan & Heather
Monday, August 28th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, August 30th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, September 1st: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, September 4th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, September 5th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, September 6th: Just Commonly
Thursday, September 7th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Friday, September 8th: Suzy Approved Book Reviews
Tuesday, September 12th: Kahakai Kitchen