I’m really delighted today to be helping launch the blog tour for Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett, and sharing my publication day review: published by Boldwood Books, it’s now available as an ebook (free via Kindle Unlimited), in paperback, and as an audiobook. Thank you, as always, to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading copy (provided via netgalley).
Well, it’s about time, isn’t it? I have absolutely no idea why I’ve never read and reviewed another of Sarah’s many books – I’ve always thought they looked like books I’d enjoy, but the timing never seemed to work with my other promises and commitments. I used to give an elderly lady a lift to my real life book club, where we’d discuss something suitably worthy and serious, and I can remember her (slightly guiltily) showing me the book she’d enjoyed considerably more – and yes, it was one of Sarah’s. And I was reminded of my dismal showing when I bumped into Sarah in the loo at an RNA party (remember those?), gibbered an apology for the absence of reviews from me (she was, I must say, thoroughly lovely) – and resolved that I really must read one soon. So, from this point forward, I can visit the loo with my head held high…
Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers.
The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids…
Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café. But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…
Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah Bennett. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley and Milly Johnson.
‘Delightfully romantic and touching.’ Phillipa Ashley
Keeping secrets and pretending to be someone you’re not is never the best way to start a relationship – but when journalist Jake arrives in Mermaids Point, undercover and pursuing an intriguing story, he really didn’t expect to fall so heavily for Laurie, behind the counter at the local cafe. And she’s not inclined to fall for incomers either – she’s been badly burned by a previous relationship, and struggling to trust anyone again.
And as their relationship develops, and the real story becomes a rather different one from the one behind the images of a mermaid that have brought tourists flocking back to the sleepy seaside village, Jake has some very difficult choices to make. Does he break the story – because if he does, there’s not much chance of being forgiven, and he might lose the best thing that’s happened to him in a very long time.
I’d seen a few early reviews of this book, and everyone was using words like light-hearted and escapist… and yes, it certainly is, but there’s also a small touch of darkness that gives the story considerably more depth and interest than you might be expecting.
There’s a quite wonderful focus on family and what it means. I loved every one of the Morgans – Laurie herself, her parents who run the gift shop next to the cafe, her aunt Nerissa whose life has been rather taken over by the elderly doctor she cares for, her brother Nick who works on the tour boats. There’s a particularly perfect scene when Jake joins them for a family meal that brought a little tear to my eye, and I really wished I could join them and experience some of that warmth and love that binds them all together.
The main story is told from the points of view of both Laurie and Jake, and that works really well – as he struggles with his conscience, and she decides that she’s finally found a man who makes her heart beat rather faster and who might be the man she can love.
The setting is beautifully done – the whole community was brought to life in a way I unfailingly enjoy, with lovely descriptions of both cafe and gift shop, the beach, the caves on the headland, and the quay where the boats leave for their trips around the bay. It’s overflowing with warmth and sunniness, a real holiday feel, and that’s something you can’t fail to enjoy, particularly in current times. The romance feels real and believable, and brings even more warmth to the story – as does that lovely family relationship, especially when contrasted with Jake’s own experience. And the conflict in the story is so well managed – a few wrong choices that might be difficult to understand if we hadn’t got to feel for the characters and know them so well.
And I loved – really loved – the way all the main characters had their own back stories, a rich vein for the series that’s to follow. This might be the first book I’ve read from Sarah Bennett, but it certainly won’t be my last – I’m looking forward to my next visit to Mermaids Point already. I thoroughly enjoyed this book – and I know others will too.
About the author
Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas. The first book in her new Mermaids Point trilogy for Boldwood is published today.