All Summer Long – Melody Carlson – Revell – Published 7 June 2016
Though it means giving up the chef’s job at her uncle’s small town Italian restaurant in Washington, Tia D’Amico is thrilled to move to San Francisco to help her aunt with a new business venture: transforming an old luxury yacht into an upscale floating restaurant. The icing on the cake is that Leo Parker, Tia’s crush from a long-ago sailing camp, has been hired as the yacht’s captain. The only problem is that he’s engaged to someone else.
Tia hides her feelings and rolls up her sleeves as she sets out to make her aunt’s dream a reality. But as the tide turns on Leo’s relationship, does Tia dare hope he might set a course for her heart?
This is the first book I have read by Melody Calson, and unfortunately I did not enjoy it as much as I expected. This is also the second book in the Follow Your Heart series, but the books can be read as standalones. I enjoyed the setting of this book, most of which takes place in San Francisco aboard a boat that is being renovated. Unfortunately it was the complicated romance plot that I did not enjoy.
When Tia’s aunt decides to turn an old yacht into a restaurant, Tia jumps at the chance to help out and become the head chef. But the day she arrives in town she discovers that the captain of the ship is the guy she met at sailing camp nine years ago. Just when Tia thinks they might be able to start something that never got to develop all those years ago, she learns that Leo is engaged. As they work together and become friends, it is hard for Tia to keep her emotions uninvolved.
Leo and Tia hit it off from the moment they meet. Or I should say meet again. They instantly recognise each other and resume their friendship, and in Tia’s case, crush. And this is where I had some issues, because Tia is absolutely devastated when she learns Leo is engaged, and really nine years ago they only seriously knew each other for one day! It seemed totally out of proportion. In fact, many of the characters’ emotions are overblown and little things are made a big deal. I would have enjoyed this more if Tia and Leo were serious friends and had slowly lost touch, or maybe if there were a few flashbacks to validate how much they meant to each other all those years ago. Tia’s emotions would have been more believable. As it was, the only time I agreed with Tia and her romantic ramblings was when she told herself she was being ridiculous!!
Apart from her dramatic emotions, Tia was fairly relatable. At the start of the book, she still lives at home and her life hasn’t developed in the ways she expected. She has devoted her life to her skills in the kitchen and her family, leaving her social life on the back burner. She and Leo are a good fit, but there is plenty of drama that comes from Leo’s other relationship. Faith also plays a very small part in this book and, aside from a few mentions of prayer and the odd church attendance, faith did not seem to factor into the characters’ decisions.
I really enjoyed the story of the boat being restored, loved the details of the redesign and enjoyed the collection of friends Tia pulls around herself. I could clearly imagine the nights aboard as they gathered around the fire pit to share music and s’mores.
Overall, this was a fun book with plenty of potential, but unfortunately the love story was not one that I enjoyed.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Adult fiction, Christian fiction.
Themes: Boats, chefs, restaurants, cooking, romance, family.
Published: 7 June 2016 by Revell.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.