For me a perfect romance to curl up with should have an enticing setting (this could be the mountains or seaside, or a very old French village), characters that I can connect to and befriend for how ever many pages I read, and a story that captures my interest. I have to say that Sherryl Woods' Chesapeake Shores series has all those elements and I feel blessed that I began reading it after she had already published books one to nine. (Yes, I am an impatient reader and prefer not to have to wait months or a year to find out what is happening to favorite characters, though of course I do.)
This fall, Woods released book 10 in her Chesapeake Shores series, A Seaside Christmas, which featured Jenny Collins, now a successful Nashville songwriter who's returned to Chesapeake Shores to help out our favorite flower shop owner and playwright produce a Christmas musical.
It's been a while since we last saw Jenny, the adopted daughter of an O'Brien marriage (I'm not giving you spoilers for earlier novels okay, you just have to read them). Just let it be said she left quite unhappy with her mom's remarriage as before it had just been the two of them. This is the first time she's returned to the idyllic community created by the O'Brien family in years.
She's returning not only to help out, but also to tend a wounded heart. Her love, a highly successful singer whom she partnered with professionally and personally, had a substance abuse problem and cheated on her publicly - which sent her into a tailspin of despair. Now, a year later, she's stronger and just beginning to move on in her life.
But moving on, may mean looking back, as that singer - Caleb Green - follows her to Chesapeake Shores. His initial motivation in seeking her out becomes buried in their renewed feelings for one another - no matter how much Jenny tries to resist. But does love ever run smoothly?
Jenny has to deal not only with Caleb, but her feelings of abandonment, real or perceived they've followed her since she left her hometown. Will Caleb convince Jenny to give him a second chance? Will she learn to trust her heart? Find her family again? Woods keeps us turning the pages to find out.
While this could be read as a stand-alone novel, I'd really advocate that you read the series first. You'll want to know who the characters are that you're meeting in A Seaside Christmas and their backstories. Plus who could argue with the pleasure of reading Sherryl Woods' novels? Her stories are moving and compassionate and we, as readers, care about the outcome of her characters lives. She makes them come alive on the page - and become our friends.
So, do take some time and book a trip to Chesapeake Shores and experience romance with a definite heart and passion.
Five stars for Sherryl Woods A Seaside Christmas.
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I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley for use in this review.