Judith D Collins
By: Joanne DeMaio
Publisher: Joanne DeMaio
Publication Date: 5/17/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
Blog Tour Stop May 31
New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio invites you to spend the summer by the sea, in a quaint New England beach town where friends and love await just outside the cottage doors. Celia Gray finds herself house-sitting a silver-shingled cottage at Stony Point. She arrives with her guitar, a few staging jobs ... and a bit of summertime sadness. That is, until an unforgettable group of beach friends draws her in like a breath of salt air. Sal DeLuca heard the words in a dream: Take me to the sea. So after a decade of demanding work, he takes his first vacation in years. Trading in his suit and tie for blue jeans and boat shoes, Sal unexpectedly arrives at his mother's shabby inn on the Connecticut shore, winding his way into the lives and hearts of the close-knit beach community. When Stony Point's two wash-ashores, Sal and Celia, meet, some say it's a match made in beach-heaven. And so begins a sweet seaside summer ... forging friendships, adventures and new love. But all is not at ease in the gentle sea breeze as a dark secret turns the tide for the Stony Point crew. Beach Blues is a novel bringing you right to its secluded fishing shack and weathered boardwalk, to its wooden rowboat and lantern-lit porches. A novel that welcomes you, as much as it may break your heart.
A special thank you to the author and publicist for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Talented Joanne DeMaio (my favorite New England author) returns following (2015) The Denim Blue Sea and Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer with BEACH BLUES, to idyllic Stony Point, a quaint and magical New England Beach seaside town- with some familiar characters and newcomers. Compelling, inspiring, and emotional-a summer bittersweet tale of love and loss. A poignant portrait of past and present relationships, reminiscing, memories, nostalgia, secrets, grief, hurts, and forgiveness. Some light new romances, difficult choices, connections, and friendships. Acceptance of the things that cannot be changed, and the courage to change the things they can. This cast of flawed characters, weather the storms of life, on their road to redemption and healing. Celia Gray arrives at the storybook charming cottage namedSummer Winds, where even the name evokes the promise of easy, breezy days. Every cottage tells a story. As a home stager, for real estate properties, she looks at a house with a For Sale sign-as a sign, the dream is over. The home, the nostalgia, and anticipation of another summer. Letting go, and saying good-bye of a weathered cottage, similar to life and those precious to us. She is staging the cottage, for the listing real estate agent, Eva. Celia thinks a beach cottage is a little different than a normal house, because selling a cottage seems sad. Celia knows about lost dreams. Celia is only planning on staying temporarily for a month or two at a friend’s place and picking up some other cottages. Little does she know all the newfound friends she will meet, and come to treasure. Elsa DeLuca knows the best place to start over is somewhere by the sea. She knows all too well. She is busy transforming her run-down beach house into a future beach chic bed and breakfast inn by the Sea at Stony Point. The Ocean Star Inn. She has all sorts of challenges rushing to get things finished before the Hammer Law sets (they have to cease construction before the season begins). Summer-Labor Day. She sold her house in Milan and starting over. She had reunited with her nieces after thirty years apart. Her husband died and she moved to this magical place and has found a home and many friends. For those who have read previous books we also reconnect with Jason Barlow, now an architect at Stony Point and married to Maris (Elsa’s other niece and Eva’s sister). He had a motorcycle accident which killed his brother, and Jason lost his leg years earlier. Maris and Jason married the previous year and she is currently in Europe with her denim fashion business. (Denim Blue Sea line). Neil had been dead for nine years, after the accident, and this community of friends still feel his strong presence. Jason still talks to his brother, about his thoughts and inspirations. His brother’s was also an architect, and finds his brother’s voice comes to him when he is alone, with no distractions. He also refurbished his father’s old barn for his studio. We also catch up with Kyle and Lauren:
Kyle owns the Sand Bar, a local diner. He is married to Lauren, an artist. Lauren and Neil had a past, and all the gang have many fond memories (old beach hangout) at the old Foley’s house which is now Elsa’s inn property. The beach inn will be turned into a grand destination spot if Elsa can get past the new beach commissioner, Cliff Raines; which she keeps butting heads with (maybe something more). Elsa DeLuca’s grown son, Salvatore (Sal), age thirty-five lives in Manhattan and works on Wall Street, after growing up in Milan. She is so excited when Sal shows up unannounced and decides to take a few months off to visit with his mom and help her get the inn ready through Labor Day. She has to find a way to get him to stay longer and wants to fix him up with Celia. Sal is an interesting guy. (love his character) From suits to flip flops, he enjoys the simpler way of life and fits in perfectly with the seaside town. He jumps in helping everyone. A true friend. A teacher of how to live in the moment and treasure time. Drifting in and out of lives, lots of action, with the construction, Celia and Elsa become good friends, and Sal is a delight to everyone. Sal and Celia have an attraction, Jason and Sal become fast friends. He has secrets. The anniversary is approaching for Neil’s death, and emotions are high. Some are keeping secrets and guarding their hearts. Some have history, sorrows, and regrets, and they are tangled up as the seaweed running along the beach.
“From what I saw today, it’s like your brother was never set free with the beautiful sea breezes and whispering lagoon grasses that were his world. Back home, the Italians say that if you stew in your sadness, you’re not letting it go. You have to find a way to celebrate a life.”
From the nostalgic vibes of journals, scrapbooks, sea glass, secret magical Little Beach, hurricane lanterns, rowboats, sea shells, beach hangouts, sweet salt air, old friends, family, and loved ones. New friends develop bonds, and learn to rely on one another for strength and support. Simple pleasures, old trucks, fishing, rowboats, good food and faithful friends. Some characters handle problems their own way, in isolation. Some have to confront the past, and forgive in order to move on with the future. Some find they have to let go. Others need more time.
“My brother said it’s easy to hear sadness in waves breaking on the beach, as though the waves are done and dying. But you have to remember that the energy of the sea can’t just stop. When those waves break, their energy shifts into the air, the earth. Neil believes energy that strong simply changes course, always moving, always there, like the tides. I think the same is true of people we’ve lost.”
DeMaio has a keen eye and skill for detailing the emotional landscape of her characters; she delves into their hearts and souls; and once again delivers a compelling insightful drama suspense. From the vivid settings, drawing you into this summer magical world, and beautifully written prose—where things are not always tied up in a neat bow. True life storms come with conflicts, choices, unexpected sadness, and obstacles. She skillfully blends light contemporary romance and friendships, with intense family domestic drama suspense. Having read all her books—(a long time fan) you can expect heartwarming stories about real people, issues, and raw emotional human dynamics. Always anxiously await, the next. Hoping we will see more of this cast of characters for a continuation of the complex lives at Stony Point. Looking forward to catching up with the gang and the exciting opening of the bed and breakfast. As a consultant and (stager) for coastal vacation properties, hotels, and bed and breakfast inns-always some fascinating stories surrounding the guests! Make sure to pack this one in your summer beach bag! Review Links:
Have your read Joanne's collection? If not, you are missing a rare summer (and winter) treat! No time like the present. Buy Now
About the Author
Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Joanne's novels include the New York Times bestseller Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans; Whole Latte Life, a Kirkus Reviews Critics' Pick; Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes, a USA Today bestseller; True Blend; The Denim Blue Sea; and Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer. Her latest novel is Beach Blues. Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut and is currently at work on her next book. Read More