For a Louisiana woman–turned–New Yorker, going home to her coastal town means facing an old loss—and finding new possibilities in love and life.
Vashti Alcindor thought she would never return to Catalina Cove after the way the community reacted to her teen pregnancy 16 years ago. But inheriting her aunt's B&B and getting laid off from her job at a Manhattan luxury hotel—all this on the heels of a divorce—lead her back to her roots, and then an unexpected business offer makes her rethink her plan to return to the big city. Vashti's electric attraction to the town’s sheriff, Sawyer Grisham, is another unforeseen complication. The setup is reminiscent of a classic B&B romance à la Nora Roberts. Sawyer is a widowed father, and he (and his daughter, Jade) feels that Vashti is right for him, but she is reluctant to commit to anything that would put her heart at risk and invite gossip. Despite the detailed sex scenes and episodes that show a deepening of Sawyer and Vashti’s connection, Jackson (An Honorable Seduction, 2018, etc.) is veering into women’s fiction territory here. The most intriguing parts of the novel have to do with the revelations about Vashti’s youth and her parents’ meddling in the choices she made and the ripple effects of those actions in her current life. Related to these is the large cast of characters, which not only includes people in the Cove (including some who will become couples in future romances), but also in other states. As the plot inches toward the climax, a huge coincidence threatens to turn the story into a soap opera, but it stops short of treacly melodrama.
More loosely paced than ideal—there are numerous trips and a tiresome number of references to people eating blueberry-infused food—but the heroine’s unusual backstory and the passages on local history and Creole identity add some freshness to this small-town inn-owner romance.