Debut author Lea presents a quaint snapshot of small-town life and explores the bonds of friendship and love in her novel.
Sara’s life has fallen apart. Following her divorce and recent job loss, she is out of options and low on cash. In a last-ditch effort to pull her life together, Sara packs up her teenage daughter, Ginny, and moves back to her childhood home—the charming seaside town of Destinybay. But things have changed in Sara’s absence; the once-bustling downtown is now home to several vacant storefronts and a plethora of available parking spaces. Her best friends, Alex and Diana, have family problems of their own. The only constant is Sara’s mother, whose distant, disapproving attitude hasn’t changed since Sara fled home years ago. Given the title of the book, it’s no surprise when destiny knocks and things begin looking up. Sara reconnects with friends and establishes a tentative truce with her mother. Robert, a kindly family friend and businessman, takes on the role of fairy godmother when he offers to finance the reopening of a defunct coffee shop. The cafe brings challenges, new friends and professional fulfillment for Sara, as it becomes the locus of a downtown revitalization. Yet Sara finds herself distracted by her former childhood sweetheart, Sam, who makes it clear he’s never gotten over her. Lea presents a lively cast, tossing in enough pop-culture references to make Lorelai Gilmore proud. Sam and Sara’s relationship is central here, but the lasting friendship of Lea’s female protagonists is also a significant, intriguing facet of her novel. The author ably follows several storylines, including the inner workings of Alex’s and Diana’s lives. Lea paints a homey, if clichéd, picture of small-town life. Her descriptions of harvest festivals, town parades, summer camps and eccentric personalities drop the reader right in the middle of the archetypal town square.
An ideal, frothy beach book.