By Leigh DeLozier @cleanfictionre1
Back cover copy: Sophie Lawson should be enjoying her sister’s wedding day. But nothing could have prepared her to see the best man again.
After her mother became bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie Lawson found herself serving as 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 bookshop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.
Now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth has a new job, and Jenna is marrying 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.
When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around this time? And will he find the courage to risk his heart?
My review: Denise Hunter is known for writing heartwarming, small-town love stories and has once again given us a story with real-world characters we can relate to and cheer for through the entire book. Sophie and Aiden aren’t goody-goody perfect and actually have some pretty good fights—within themselves and with each other—as they navigate being thrown back together when her sister marries his best friend. It’s been seven years since Aiden left and they’re both surprised at how quickly memories and unresolved issues find their way to the surface, demanding to be dealt with.
A lot has happened to each of them during the years they’ve been apart. They’ve both matured in their viewpoints on relationships and in their faith. They’ve both become independent and are chasing their dreams. But sometimes you don’t realize that a piece of your dream is missing until it’s right in front of you. That’s what Sophie and Aiden face and each has to decide whether they’re willing to work through all the layers associated with it—including personal issues they didn’t realize still impacted their “now.”
Life is beautiful, but it’s also often messy. I loved how Sophie and Aiden tackled both extremes of the spectrum with humor, determination, anger, frustration, grace, acceptance, and more. Because isn’t that how we go through life ourselves? I know it is for me. Every character in Bookshop by the Sea is relatable, every situation something that could happen in real life. It was a fun story without being fluff and I would love to visit Piper’s Cove again.
Who should read it: Bookshop by the Sea is a great choice for women who are looking for a lighthearted romance that still has substance. Because Sophie and Aiden are twentysomethings, readers in that age group (or even older teens) would enjoy the story. Because Hunter writes such well-crafted, fun stories, women beyond that age group should also like Bookshop by the Sea. I can see myself reading this one again, especially while sitting with my toes in the sand.
Book details: Bookshop by the Sea
Author: Denise Hunter
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publish date: February 2021