Driftwood Point (Chesapeake Diaries #10) - Mariah Stewart
New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to her Chesapeake Diaries series and to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis with DRIFTWOOD POINT(Pocket Books; June 21, 2016; $7.99), the romantic tale of a man who takes a second chance on love with the high school crush who broke his heart.
Up-and-coming artist Lisbeth Parker finally has a chance to show the folks back home what it means to leave Cannonball Island and make something of yourself. As a native whose stubborn father forbade her from befriending townies, Lis always felt like an outsider in St. Dennis. While her work is on display in the local art gallery, she records her centenarian great-grandmother’s stories of the island’s rich history and falls in love with its unspoiled beauty.
Lis was Alec Jansen’s secret dream girl growing up, and now that she’s back with plans to turn her family's ramshackle cottage into an art studio, the handsome environmental engineer sees a second chance to win her heart. But when he’s hired by a builder who wants to develop the island, Alec is caught between the change he knows is coming and Lis’s desire to preserve the island and its way of life. Can Alex convince Lis that in the right hands change can be good, or will she see only betrayal?A few weeks ago I did a review for the latest Dorothea Benton Frank book and I said she was one of my absolute go-to authors for a really solid, beachy read. I have to be honest and tell you Mariah Stewart is my other. I don't feel like I've really started summer until I have read the latest from either and this one is possibly my favorite of the Chesapeake Diaries series by Mariah. The really great thing is that these are all stand alone novels but you get little visits from characters in previous books, which is always fun because it really does feel like bumping into old friends.
In this book we have Lisbeth, who has come back to Cannonball Island for a respite from her city life. She's staying with her great grandmother, who at a 100 years old is sharper than ever. Lis doesn't know how to feel about the changes to her great grandmother's store and living area, or the changes coming to St. Dennis and Cannonball Island, but it's clear that though she's visited over the years, there is a lot about the area that she knows nothing about. Which only confirms her lifelong feeling that she doesn't really belong, partly because her father held a grudge and raised her with prejudice against the people in the area.
Alec, who once was madly in love with Lis though she never gave him the time of day, still resides there and does his best to do right by the area. As a land developer, and local handyman, he knows just about everything going on and while it's in his best interest to develop the land, he knows that the charm of the area needs to remain intact. He rides the delicate line making both sides happy and often questions if he's doing the right thing.
And then of course, Lis and Alec come together in the romance part of the book and it's just really, really sweet. Lis isn't sure, and Alec doesn't know what's up her bottom but he thinks he can be the one to help her unwind and really appreciate what's around her. But of course, with the future of the island's development at stake, they find themselves on opposing sides of the issue just as things are heating up between them.
Overall? I really enjoyed it. I have really liked all of the books in this series so far but this one was such a fun read, it makes you think about land preservation but also the reality that things change with time. The other theme in it that I think was pretty subtle but done well was connecting with family. Lisbeth visits her great grandmother but she really doesn't know her routine, who she talks to, what her life is really like at her age. And I think that's something we can all say we're guilty of. We all have relatives that we visit or maybe we call on a holiday, send a birthday card, but we don't really know what their day to day is like. It's a real shame too, because as Lisbeth learns, these are the people who can tell you where you come from, this is where family traditions and stories are passed down and without those close connections, those are all lost eventually.
If you are in the market for a great summer read, pick up a copy of Driftwood Point on Amazon now! Other cool news, look for Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women's fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father's dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Book 1, Last Chance Matinee, will publish March 2017! Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens. Visit her website at mariahstewart.com, and like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart.
I received a copy of this from Simon & Schuster for a fair and honest review.