Sea Rose Lane
Sea Rose Lane is Irene Hannon's 50th published novel, and the second book in her new Hope Harbor series. I haven't yet read the first book, Hope Harbor, but these seem to function as stand-alone titles taking place in the same town with cameos by characters in previous books, but each one focusing on a new set of people. The third title in the Hope Harbor series is Sandpiper Cove, due out in Spring 2017. I only know Irene Hannon for her suspense novels - Christian suspense is my favorite genre, so I was only familiar with the novels she's written in that genre. When I had the opportunity to read a contemporary romance by her, I figured it would probably be a good read since I enjoy her other books. The back cover says:
"Three-Time RITA Winner Invites Readers Back to the Captivating Coastal Town of Hope Harbor
After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to the town where he grew up--only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed & breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he's constantly distracted by noise, chaos--and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blonde architect and construction chief who's invaded the house with her motley crew.
As for BJ, her client's son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn't high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces to create a program for Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves?
Three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon takes readers back to Hope Harbor for a new season of charm, romance, and second chances."
I wavered between giving Sea Rose Lane 3 or 4 stars, but I eventually settled on 3 - although I'd give it a 3.5 if that was an option. I was intrigued by the back cover blurb, but there was really no tension or suspense surrounding the issues described (Eric's childhood home being turned into a bed and breakfast and the Hope Harbor senior's program). In fact, the story plodded along at a snail's pace; often with nothing of import happening for several chapters. Also, it had one of the characters I most hate in novels - a character who seems to have some sort of otherworldly knowledge and makes you wonder if he's real or some sort of heavenly being. In Sea Rose Lane, that character was Charley - a seemingly omniscient artist and taco stand owner who always knows things he shouldn't know, says mysterious things, and seems to have control over a pair of seagulls near his taco stand. I really don't like it when authors include characters such as these because I can't suspend disbelief and it makes me feel like the whole story is unbelievable and unrealistic.
However, there were positive points to this story as well. I enjoyed the side story line of Luis and Eleanor more than I enjoyed the intended main story line of Eric and BJ. I found Luis's plight inspiring and I enjoyed the interesting and unexpected twist that Eleanor discovered her hidden racism and overcame it with the Lord's help to minister to Luis. I was touched by how this unlikely pair teamed up and how Luis brought Eleanor back to life again and helped her open up and enjoy her later years instead of continuing to be lonely. Hope Harbor is a lovely little town and the plodding story line was reminiscent of slow and easy small town life. This is a good read for those who enjoy a small town contemporary romance novel.
I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.