FRIDAY HARBOR SERIES BOOK 2
Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington. She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal: her fiance Kevin has left her. His new lover is Lucy’s own sister. Lucy’s bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life. Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy’s parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to “romance” Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life–even after being broken–can be made into something new and beautiful.
I absolutely loved this book! Once I started reading, I just couldn’t put it down. It has everything I have come to expect from my favourite author; everything that makes her star shine bright amongst the constellation of other romance writers.
Ms Kleypas has that innate ability to draw me right into her stories with her lyrical and imaginative writing. Her vivid images appeal to the senses on every level:
The clouds lowered, smothering the vestigial layer of daylight. In the distance a thunderhead sent rain to the ocean in showers that moved like gauze veils over the windows.
Carefully she extracted each muffin and set it on the plate. The scent of hot berries, white sugar, buttery streusel, rose in a melting-sweet updraft.
Sam Nolan’s combination of geekiness, laid-back sexiness and easy charm is quite a potent mixture, making him totally irresistible. I’m not even going to mention the amazing body, lean and long, muscle stacked on muscle. His fear of any long-term committed relationship is understandable given the emotional wasteland he grew up in with his alcoholic parents.
It wasn’t a family. It looked like one on the outside but it was no more a family that the carcasses hanging in a meat larder are a herd of cows.”
I love how completely honest he is with Lucy about the type of relationship he offers and particularly when he tells her about Kevin asking him to take Lucy out as a favour. But he’s a man of contradictions because his love for and commitment to Holly is obvious. The scenes they share are so heart-warming and show Sam in a very different light. I adore the way he calls her ‘gingersnap’.
I like Lucy and, although I have never been in her situation, I can certainly empathize with her. I’m sure I’d be angry, hurt and questioning myself, after such a breakup, just as she does.
The worst part about having been deceived the way she had been was it made you lose faith in yourself. When your judgement was that wrong about something, you could never be fully certain of anything ever again.
I enjoyed watching her picking up the threads and moving on with her life.
I love how Ms Kleypas captures all the subtle nuances of the growing relationship between Sam and Lucy. They talk to each other about their work and share intimate personal detail, all creating the necessary bond between them to carry their relationship to the next level. I really felt their uncertainty and mixed emotions as they begin to realise what started out as a no-strings-attached physical relationship has blossomed into something they are afraid to acknowledge, particularly Sam. I really love the scene where he finally takes that leap of faith and realises, if he lets go of the invisible chains that bind him to the past, he can have the one thing he truly wants – Lucy.
He could love her madly, joyfully, without limit.”
I enjoyed the scenes between Sam, Mark and Holly. The banter between the three of them is delightful and creates a warm family atmosphere. I love Lucy’s friends, Justine and Zoë. Everyone should have friends like these in times of trouble! Oh, and not to forget Renfield. He’s just adorable!
The story is peppered with lovely touches of humour and it’s hard to pick a favourite but I love this conversation between Lucy and Sam.
”Do you need to…calm down? She asked delicately.
Sam shook his head, rueful amusement flickering in his eyes. “Let’s just assume this is my default mode during showertime. Don’t worry – I still won’t make any moves on you.”
“I’m not worried. I just don’t want you to drop me.”
Sexual arousal doesn’t rob me of physical strength,” he informed her. “Brainpower, yes. But I don’t need that to help you shower.”
Ms Kleypas doesn’t disappoint with the heart-warming happy ending and the Epilogue is just the icing on a scrumptious cake. It’s a delightful book which left me with a lovely glow and the magical elements seemed to enhance the almost whimsical quality of the story.
I’m looking forward to Dream Lake because Alex Nolan has reached rock bottom in Rainshadow Road and he is definitely in need of some tender loving care.
VERDICT: SUPERB, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED