REVIEW: THE SEASON OF SILVER LININGS, BY CHRISTINE NOLFI

 

When Ohio pastry chef Jada Brooks and her two best friends restored the glorious Wayfair Inn, it was a boon to Sweet Lake—and to their own lives. Now Linnie and Cat are focused on private matters: one engaged, the other swept up in newlywed bliss. Jada has also begun looking to the future by dating widower Philip Kettering and forging a sudden, sweet bond with his six-year-old daughter.

But the past isn’t finished with Jada. When a curious guest checks into the Wayfair, her delving questions stir Jada’s guilt about the heartbreaking events that scarred the town seven years ago. The risks Jada must take by revealing the truth will test every assumption she’s made about the meaning of family and the magic of enduring love.

 

My Thoughts: Set in Sweet Lake, Ohio, The Season of Silver Linings is the third outing for this series about the Wayfair Inn, and the friends whose lives connect there.

April will be Linnie’s wedding to Daniel Kettering, and her best friends Jada and Cat are helping out with preparations, while handling most of the business of the inn.

This story primarily features Jada and her budding relationship with Philip Kettering, whose adorable daughter Fancy has captured her heart. Jada and Philip have known each other for several years, but only recently has their friendship started to grow and change. Fancy is at the heart of these changes.

The Sweet Lake Sirens, a group of older, somewhat eccentric women, are a constant presence in the inn and the town, and just when you think they are involved elsewhere, they pop up, like busy bees you would like to swat. But then they do something sweet and kind, and you are reminded of how much you really love them.

An unusual guest who arrives at a very hectic time turns out to have secrets from the past…and many questions for Jada. Can Jada uncover the woman’s secret agenda? When she realizes how her own past connects to the guest’s, she will have a dilemma. What will she do?

A story that takes us into the dark past and a deep sadness, it also reveals the many layers of those who live and work in Sweet Lake. Happiness might lie at the end of this journey…but what will need to happen first? A five star read.

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REVIEW: THE RAMBLERS, BY AIDAN DONNELLEY ROWLEY

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The three of them have a history, and now they represent a kind of New Yorker that is facing challenges, struggling against the past, and hoping for a future. They are college graduates pursuing their professions while also finding what they need in their personal lives.

Clio Eloise Marsh is an Ornithologist, a bird watcher, and a professor. She has a past that includes a mentally ill mother who sucked up all the air in the world around her, and then, took away any kind of hope for a future. Can Clio’s new beau Henry, a hotelier who is somewhat older than she, help her face her emotional past and give her hope for the future?

Smith Mae Anderson came from wealth and privilege, and she is Clio’s best friend from college and current roommate. But Smith’s past also tugs at her confidence, since the parental expectations are high and she is struggling to create a niche for herself, doing what she loves with her business called The Order of Things, a way of helping people to declutter their lives. She sees the process as a way of being in control of her inner and outer life.

Tate Pennington, also a student with Clio and Smith, created a software company that sold for a lot of money. Now he is pursuing his passion of photography, and may pursue an MFA to enhance his technical skills. Tate is still struggling to get past the dearth of his marriage to Olivia, while also finding himself drawn to Smith.

The Ramblers is all about what happens to these friends, and each of them alternately narrates the story. As we follow along with them individually, from their past to their present, we also get to visualize the world they see every day, from the oasis of The Ramble in Central Park to the world inside some gorgeous apartments and hotels.

I must admit that I loved when each of the characters’ narratives revealed their interior thoughts, from what they feared to what they loved and dreamed about. Watching how each of them moved slowly beyond what they most feared in their past lives to the hopeful futures kept me turning the pages. The story had a slow pace, which did not engage me quite as much as a faster paced book does…but the meandering story did offer the opportunity to feel a depth of understanding for the characters. 4 stars.

SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “THE DENIM BLUE SEA”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I am featuring a review book from a favorite author of mine.  The Denim Blue Sea, by Joanne DeMaio.

 

 

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Beginning:  They stand at the edge of Long Island Sound, as close to the sea as they can get.  The setting sun sinks below the horizon while lazy breaking waves reach for their feet.

“There’s one.”  Eva points further down the beach where the twilight sky casts a golden hue on the sand.  “It’s a conch shell.”  She hurries over, dips the shell in the gentle sea for a rinse and holds it out to Maris.  “I’ll spray-paint some of them silver so they glimmer with the flowers.”

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56:  “I’m on your team,” Maris says into Jason’s ear when she moves behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist.  “Dibs.”

But something in Kyle’s voice gets Jason’s attention instead.  He’s not sure what it is exactly, but it’s enough for him to look over at Kyle and lose the pinballs in play.

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Blurb:  During two August weeks, denim designer Maris Carrington and coastal architect Jason Barlow prepare for their much-anticipated wedding. Guests arrive early, turning keys in charming cottage doors to begin their New England summer escape. The wedding is a reason for old friends to gather again; to meet in their shabby beach hangout and get the jukebox cranking; to walk that weathered boardwalk beneath a starry sky; to breathe the sweet salt air. “Cures what ails you,” one of the friends, Neil, always said long before his life was sadly claimed. But his legacy was not.

When Maris discovers Neil’s long-lost journal, its passages reveal a heartbreaking secret. Can truths be found within its timeworn pages? Can this leather-bound journal unite the friends as their lives begin to fray? A bittersweet family reunion, a surprising encounter from a devastating accident, a shocking confession leaving one marriage shattered–all will test the once close-knit circle. Suddenly this safe haven on the tranquil Connecticut shoreline churns with emotional turmoil, threatening even the beach wedding just days before it is to happen.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts pique your interest?  I hope you’ll share your own.

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