Mariah Stewart is one of those authors that I think I’ve read but I’m not sure. But I’ve heard about her and know that she is a very versatile writer. A good friend of mine lent me some Stewart suspense novels to read and she also writes romance. I’m a little conflicted on this book but I really liked it. The only reason I didn’t give it a four star is because, for me, this is more of a women’s literature type book than a romance, although there are romantic elements.
First, the author. Stewart has a gift for writing, hands down a great writer. Generally, books that are very descriptive bore me and I have to read a fast pace novel in between. When I started “That Chesapeake Summer” I was hypnotized with how elegantly she described the different scenes and how smooth the story flowed. I was on chapter four before I realized that I still had no idea who the hero/ love interest was in this story. But nonetheless, I was captivated with Jaime Valentine, her now deceased mother, her childhood, the secrets that surround her family and their home. I loved that I could feel Jaime’s frustrations and her fear in disappointing her mother if she did not plant the flowers she left behind because of her heart attack. Stewart is able to make the reader feel emotions with her scenes without us even knowing. She really is an incredibly eloquent writer. I also, intensely felt Jaime’s disappoint when a mundane task leads her to discover a very heavily guarded secret surrounding her life.
Moving onto the heroine, I really liked Jaime. I felt like I was going through the motions with her. I felt like I was participating in the story and we were on this adventure together. When she meets Daniel Sinclair, immediate sparks fly, but because they really irritate each other. Although they find the other attractive neither is interested in looking for a romance and they actually don’t really like each other. I really liked that the author took her time developing their relationship.
This is the difficult part that I struggled with. Dan and Jaime have interactions throughout the book but they are secondary and not the focal point of the book. I would not consider this a romance story just because two people will fall in love. The real purpose of this story, in my opinion, is that Jaime is rediscovering who she is and reevaluating her family and her history-er sense of self. In the mean time she happens to meet this irritating owner of the inn she is staying in and falls in love. But it’s not the driving focus of the story. I think the story would have been able to go on without the romance. So keeping this in mind, I really liked this book. I liked reading Stewart, I liked the fictional world that sucked me in and I liked the hero and heroine. Although this is the 9th book in the series it is easily a standalone and very enjoyable. I also plan to read more by Stewart and find her to be a very gratifying author.
**ARC provided by Publisher**