I’m delighted today to be joining the blog tour for Love Blooms at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett, and sharing my review: published by Boldwood Books on 16th March, 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).
Do you have any idea how rarely I stick with a series? Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point, the first in the series (released last March), was the first time I’d tried Sarah’s writing – I already thought I’d enjoy her books, but I had no idea quite how much (you’ll find my review of that one here). I might just have enjoyed the second, Second Chances at Mermaids Point, even more (here‘s my review – I reviewed it as Autumn Dreams but I do prefer the new title…) – and, of course, I didn’t want to miss the shorter Christmas Surprises at Mermaids Point, the perfect bridge between the two earlier books and the two yet to come, and with all the Christmassy feels I could possibly have wanted (you’ll find my review here).
So let’s find out more about Alex and Ivy… I remember she was having rather a difficult time at Christmas…
Bestselling author Alex Nelson is slowly coming apart at the seams after a failed marriage and an abrupt change in career leave him at a crossroads in life. When an unexpected opportunity arises to escape to the idyllic village of Mermaids Point, he’s hot on the heels of his brother, Tom, who has recently moved there. Buying a rundown bookshop might be just his latest harebrained scheme, but Alex has never been one to do things by halves.
After spending her early years caring for her mother, Ivy Fisher is finally ready to start living her own life. But when the impossibly charming, impossibly good-looking Alex Nelson swoops in and snatches her dream out from under her nose, it really is the last straw. Forced by circumstances to spend more time with him, Ivy finally gets a peak of the real man beneath the confident exterior, and she likes what she sees.
But just when things are starting to come together for them, Ivy is reminded why men can never be trusted. Is Alex who he says he is, or is he using Mermaids Point as nothing more than research fodder for his next bestseller?
I really loved the start of this book – and unusually actually found myself just a little tearful within the opening pages. Ivy has cared for her mother through the final stages of a long and debilitating illness, but it’s now all over and time for the funeral her mother had already planned in meticulous detail – and she’s not facing the day alone, as new friend Alex has taken it upon himself to be at her side, as well as all the support on hand from the wonderful community (almost her extended family…) of Mermaids Point.
She then, of course, needs to start her life again – but there are complications her mother hadn’t foreseen when Ivy’s father re-emerges, and it becomes clear that her financial situation and future security aren’t going to be quite as comfortable as she’d hoped for. She already knew there might have been some problems with her hopes to buy the town’s rundown bookshop, as she knew Alex was also interested in it too – but it would have been so perfect to be able to take on the business and sell her crafts there too. But there’s then an obvious answer – Alex can go ahead with the purchase, but she can have space within the shop to sell her wares, and they can run the business together.
Alex is running away from his former life – and a particularly painful failed marriage – and, like brother Tom before him, a fresh start at Mermaids Point is just what he needs. And as he and Ivy work together towards opening the shop, they begin to grow closer – they both rather need each other, and it looks (for a while) as if they’ll move forward smoothly towards their own happy ending. But Ivy doesn’t know about Alex’s success as an author, with a book that’s caused a bit of a sensation based around his marriage break-up – and when she finds out, and that he hasn’t told her about it, she wonders if she’s just being used as material for his next book and whether she was wrong about him all along.
Above all, this book is a quite gorgeous and beautifully developed romance – both Ivy and Alex (despite his secrets) are such lovely individuals, I enjoyed their every interaction and act of kindness to each other, and you can’t help but feel that they’re meant to be together. Their growing closeness is authentic and believable, as their friendship begins to become something more – and the conflict, when it comes, is particularly well-handled and you can see the problem from both their perspectives, wondering how on earth there can be any possibility of a happy ending.
Do you know, if the right house came up for sale, I’d rather like to move to Mermaids Point. While Alex and Ivy are always the focus of the story – and that’s why this book would work particularly well as a stand-alone read – there are plenty of opportunities to feel part of the warm and caring community the author’s created and developed, and (if you’ve spent time here before) to meet up with the wider cast who now feel like good friends. Spending time within the community just makes you feel good – and that makes spending time there such a pleasure.
This was my favourite book yet from the author – this series really just gets better and better. Highly recommended – and I’m now very much looking forward to Nick’s story…
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 was published in Spring 2021.