Series: Seaview Key #2
Published by Harlequin MIRA on 2014-01-28
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
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Also by this author: Midnight Promises, Where Azaleas Bloom, Catching Fireflies, A Seaside Christmas, Swan Point, The Christmas Bouquet, Dogwood Hill, Willow Brook Road
Falling for a handsome stranger on the very morning they meet is hardly what recently divorced Abby Miller planned for her return to Seaview Key. Hoping to mend an old friendship and to give back to the community she loves, Abby's definitely not looking for love.
For ex-soldier Seth Landry, Seaview Key seems like the perfect place to heal a broken heart…eventually. And when he rescues a beautiful woman on the beach, his nightmares about the past are eclipsed by daydreams about the future.
Neither Abby nor Seth are looking for forever, but powerful love has its own timetable. And taking a chance on the future will test their courage in ways neither of them could possibly have anticipated.
Home to Seaview Key is the perfect sequel to Seaview Inn: a delightful, straightforward romance, heartwarming in its simplicity. There are no major conflicts or disasters here, just two people growing together in friendship and learning to take a chance on unexpected love. Abby and Seth are perfect for each other, despite some obvious differences and past experiences that make them both a bit cautious when it comes to getting serious. What I really loved is that they talk about their issues like the reasonable adults they are. That’s all too rare in romance novels, which too often rely on misunderstandings that could easily have been prevented by talking or asking questions. Woods is good at this, and at making the romance compelling without relying on many of the usual romance tropes.
Abby has come back to Seaview Key for two reasons: to rediscover the woman she was before her marriage sucked the life out of her, and to develop the land left to her by her parents. Her plans are complicated by mayor’s determined opposition to the project. I hesitate to call this last a subplot, because Woods effortlessly braids the development story with Abby’s growing and complicated relationship with Seth.
Seth, a paramedic and friend of the town’s doctor (Luke, the hero from Seaview Inn), has some emotional baggage of his own to deal with, not only from his tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan but also with his feuding sisters. But on the whole, he’s handling it with same the maturity and good sense that Abby shows in dealing with her own past. I found them and their relationship really refreshing, to be honest (and I was just wishing for a romance with a heroine in her 40s or older. Serendipity!) In terms of heat, there’s plenty of chemistry between Seth and Abby, but no really explicit scenes.
Friendships between women are one of Wood’s biggest strengths (along with believable romances you can really invest in) and I have to applaud her handling of the relationship between Abby and Hannah, the heroine of Seaview Inn. Once best friends back in high school, the women’s friendship is complicated by pain, time and distance, and Hannah’s understandable insecurities — her husband Luke and Abby were quite an item back in high school, and now Abby is newly-divorced and back in Seaview Key. Again, there’s no major drama, just two women working to rebuild a friendship they both want.
Seaview Key is a small Florida fishing village-cum-tourist destination. Like many seaside towns, its laid-back atmosphere is part of its charm. The main and major secondary characters from Seaview Inn form an integral part of the narrative, but don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book; Woods gets you up to speed pretty quickly and seamlessly – no annoying info dumps. She also gives the reader just enough description and a variety of minor characters, mostly fellow residents/business owners, to make Seaview Key feel like a very real place. I’d certainly love to stay in the Seaside Inn sometime!
I had only one minor quibble with the entire book. Toward the end, Woods throws in a scene which resolves the subplot involving Seth’s sisters in a way that felt a little too facile and glib. The situation didn’t need to be tied up in a neat bow for the main romance to work well, and in real life, things don’t always go quite that perfectly. (Not to mention that Woods might have been able to get another good book out of it, involving one of the sisters.) In every other way, Home to Seaview Key is a thoroughly satisfying read.