Bookshop By The Sea – Denise Hunter – Thomas Nelson – Published 13 April 2021
After her mother was bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie became a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a book shop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.
But now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth just got a new job, the family house is sold, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance to run an extreme sporting business in Florida.
Much to Sophie’s chagrin, seeing Aiden again resurrects familiar feelings—which she promptly tries to bury in the tumult of the day. As soon as the wedding crowd fades, Sophie turns her focus back to establishing her beloved bookstore.
But then an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove and with the hotels booked to capacity he asks Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. But can Sophie trust Aiden to stick around? And does daredevil Aiden have the courage to risk his heart?
Once again Denise Hunter has penned a delicious contemporary romance novel that I just devoured. Honestly, I read it so quickly I think I need to go back and read it again, at least a few times over.
Bookshop By The Sea is a charming second-chance romance. Sophie and Aiden are our main characters. High-school sweethearts, they thought their future was set, but when Sophie’s mother fell ill and her father abandoned the family, Sophie had to step up and become the glue to hold everything together. At the same time, Aiden was offered a chance to start his own company and he too left Sophie. Now, years later, Sophie and Aiden are reunited at Sophie’s younger sister’s wedding. Sophie just wants to get through the event and move on but Aiden wants to use the opportunity to ask for Sophie’s forgiveness. Of course, we readers know that Sophie and Aiden are not over yet.
Once Sophie and Aiden make it through the wedding they think their awkward reunion is over but a storm bearing down on the area has other ideas. They are forced to hole up together in a guest house – cue the swooning. It offers readers all the time they need to enjoy the softening of Sophie’s heart and Aiden realising that everything he walked away for was not worth losing the woman he loves.
Once the storm is over, Sophie returns her attention to renovating and opening her bookshop. Aiden offers to stay and help her as she is in a major rush to make the opening date. This gives them more time to work through their past, hurts and feelings. I loved how the events of the story give the reader lots of time to get to know Aiden and Sophie, while the storm and renovation give them both the opportunity to assess what they really want – and built the romantic tension between them. They also have to work through some personal issues, particularly Sophie and the dependent relationship she has with her siblings. This was the only part of the book that annoyed me and I was so glad she finally learnt to stand up to them and stop pandering to them and their ridiculous requests.
If you are looking for a relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable read, you’ll love Bookshop By The Sea.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Adult fiction
Genre: Christian Contemporary.
Themes: Romance, bookshops, adventure sports, second chances, family, relationships.
Published: 13 April 2021 by Thomas Nelson
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 384 pages.