Summer at Hope Haven brought me back to a summer where my family drove down to Cape Cod to spend a couple of weeks there. It’s one of my fondest memories and I appreciate Kristin Harper for setting such a lovely scene for the story to take place.
Emily’s tale of overcoming grief and finding love for herself and in others again was a beautiful story. She escapes from the drizzle of Seattle to her childhood’s cottage in Dune Island located on the other side of the country to put as much space from her past and for a chance to centre herself. Less than a year earlier, both of her parents and brother, Peter, died in a helicopter crash that resulted in her losing her entire family in one day. And so, she recluses herself to her family’s cottage. Living next door is the closest thing to family to her is her close family friend, Wilson, along with his wife, Collette.
Emily’s grief was so all-consuming and my heart broke reading about it:
As she rolled over, she felt a hard lump beneath her pillow. The ring box. She switched on the light and set the box on her nightstand next to the photo of her family and her. Looking at the two items side-by-side, she thought, ‘The photo was my past. The ring was my future. And now they’re both gone.’ Hot tears pattered down her cheeks.
But I loved to read about Emily’s and Collette’s blossoming kinship and deepening connection. Collette provided that necessary light that Emily needed that allowed her to heal. Although, I can’t forget Emily’s main love interest with Wilson’s friend, Lucas, helped her mend and he recognized her strength far earlier than she realized it herself. However, I believe it was Collette’s friendship, humour and “girl time” that most gals need to have every so often, which was the most impactful on Emily’s journey of healing.
Additionally, Harper’s description of Cape Cod’s beaches—especially when storms would roll in, were so vivid, it was wonderful to read; especially this quote that I found hinted a light at the end of the tunnel:
The surf, such a deep shade of blue it appeared black, was unusually still—only a narrow lip of white lapped the shore. It fascinated Emily how dramatically different the ocean could be from one tide to the next and for once, she experienced a glimmer of hope instead of a world of dread about what the next day might bring.
Overall, this was a beautiful telling of healing, forgiveness, friendship, and of course, love.
Making her way up the cedar-lined driveway, tears fill her eyes at the sight of the cottage’s faded trim and peeling turquoise shutters. Taking a deep breath, she grasps the heart-shaped iron door handle and steps inside the once-happy childhood home she’s been avoiding. It is time to face up to the past… When Emily’s fiancé walks out on her while she’s still grieving the loss of her family in a terrible accident, she escapes back to Hope Haven on the remote Dune Island, where her family vacationed every summer. Emily hopes that fixing up the house will also mend her broken heart, but the cottage holds more than just bittersweet childhood memories. Emptying her father’s antique writing desk, Emily finds a letter that reveals a devastating secret about her parents. With a head full of questions that can never be answered, it seems like returning to the island was the worst decision Emily ever made… until she meets Lucas Socorro, saltwater dripping from his dark curls after a surf session. As they take long walks on the soft sand, and talk late into the firefly-lit night, Emily wonders if Dr Luke—as the kids in the hospital call him—could be the one to help her heal. With Luke holding her hand, delving into her family’s painful past is a little easier. Painting the gloomy cottage walls the colour of seashells, and revamping her grandmother’s flea-market furniture, Emily starts to feel she might call Dune Island home for good—and that she could build that home right here with Luke. But when Emily’s family secret spreads through a network of local gossips, her fragile heart breaks all over again. Luke is the only one who could have started the rumours. Was she wrong to trust him so easily? As the sun sets behind the dunes, Emily has a difficult decision to make. Does she pack her bags and leave the island for good? Or take a risk that Hope Haven has everything she’s been looking for? A beautiful and emotional read that will make you long to feel the sand beneath your feet. Perfect for fans of Nancy Thayer, Tracy Brogan and Mary Alice Monroe.
Ever since she was a young girl, there were few things Kristin liked more than creative writing and spending time on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her family. Eventually (after a succession of jobs that bored her to tears), she found a way to combine those two passions by becoming a women’s fiction author whose stories occur in oceanside settings. While Kristin doesn’t live on the Cape year-round, she escapes to the beach whenever she can.
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