Book Review: RAINSHADOW ROAD by Lisa Kleypas

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Series: Friday Harbor, #2
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Released: February 28, 2012
Source: Borrowed from the library

Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington. She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal: her fiancé Kevin has left her. His new lover is Lucy’s own sister. Lucy’s bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life.

Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy’s parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to “romance” Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful.

———

When Lucy Marinn was seven years old, three things happened: Her little sister Alice got sick, she was assigned her first science fair project, and she found out that magic existed.

Likes:

  • Even though they made my blood boil at times, I liked reading about Lucy’s family, especially their history and why things are strained between them today. I love it when characters can get me riled up, and this bunch certainly did!
  • The setting was amazing. San Juan Island was described beautifully, and I could easily picture myself walking along its beach. *sigh* I also appreciated the historical tidbits of the island and people.
  • It was great to catch up with Mark, Maggie, Holly and Renfield from the first book in the series, CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOR.

Dislikes:

  • The main characters fell a bit flat, especially Sam. I love a tortured hero in need of the right woman to save him, but this one got on my last nerve. I understand his crippling fear of commitment stemmed from being the child of alcoholics, but come on! His steadfast refusal to grow and get close to anyone got old. Then, his abrupt change of heart felt forced.
  • I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I could have done without the magical elements (though I usually love them!). I wish they would have been developed more or just left out. As it was, the characters’ magical powers did little to enhance the story.

Conclusion: I enjoyed the first book in the Friday Harbor series, so I was surprised when this one fell short of my expectations. Regardless, I will definitely give this series another try, especially since the next book has a ghostly presence. 🙂

Rating: 3 Stars

Book Review: CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOR by Lisa Kleypas

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Series: Friday Harbor, #1
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Released: October 26, 2010
Source: Borrowed from the library

One rain-slicked night, six-year-old Holly lost the only parent she knew, her beloved mother Victoria. And since that night, she has never again spoken a word.

The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.

Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.

Three lonely people. Three lives at the crossroads. Three people who are about to discover that Christmas is the time of year when anything is possible, and when wishes have a way of finding the path home.

———

Dear Santa,

I want just one thing this year. A mom. Please don’t forget I live in Friday Harbor now. Thank you.

Love, Holly

That opening tugs at the heartstrings, doesn’t it? I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the Friday Harbor series. Since the first book is holiday-themed, I thought now would be the perfect time to start!

CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOR was a quick and easy read, but also a heartwarming story. Mark Nolan, the eldest of four, becomes the guardian of his niece when his sister dies in a car accident. He’s very protective of Holly, and takes his new role as father seriously. As much as Holly loves Mark, he knows that she longs to have a mother again.

Holly takes a liking to a young widow named Maggie who owns a toy store. Maggie is fairly new to Friday Harbor, moving to San Juan Island for a fresh start. Though her husband died two years ago, she’s still burdened with grief over the loss. She guards her heart carefully, not wanting fall in love with someone else, only to lose him too.

Through Holly, Maggie and Mark get closer, but their relationship develops slow and steady. Aside from Maggie’s emotional baggage, Mark has an issue to deal with too – a serious girlfriend. Nothing is ever easy!

This was a sweet romance with a touching story, cozy setting and likable characters. There were no big surprises in the plot, but for an uplifting holiday read, it was spot on. Renfield, the not-so-attractive but super lovable bulldog, was a hoot. You should read the book just to meet Renfield! Definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.

Rating: 4 Stars