Author: Mariah Stewart ISBN: 9780345520333 4/2010 CONTEMPORARY Publisher: BALLANTINE
In the wake of his wife’s murder, agent Grady Shields turned his back on the FBI—and everything else—to retreat into the vast solitude of Montana, grieve for his lost love, and forget the world. But after years in seclusion, his sister’s wedding draws him to St. Dennis, a peaceful town on the Chesapeake Bay. Though he swears he isn’t interested in finding love again, Grady can’t ignore the mutual sparks that fly when he meets Vanessa Keaton.
Although her past was marked by bad choices, Vanessa has found that coming to St. Dennis is the best decision she’s ever made. Bling, her trendy boutique, is a success with tourists as well as with the townspeople. She’s made friends, has a home she loves, and has established a life for herself far from the nightmare she left behind. The last thing she’s looking for is romance, but the hot new man in town is hard to resist. And when Vanessa’s past catches up with her, Grady finds that he’s unwilling to let her become a victim again. As together they fight her demons, Grady and Vanessa discover that life still holds some surprises and that love doesn’t always have to hurt.
RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS:
COMING HOME is the first book in The Chesapeake Diaries series. It is compelling, with heartfelt emotions and realistic characters. If it is any indication of how the rest of the series is going to be, make room on the keeper shelf!
St. Dennis is a town set on the Bay, and it is portrayed in such rich detail that I could smell the water and hear the shore birds. The setting is a character itself! Vanessa and Grady, the pair at the center of this first installment, both come to the small town with heaps of emotional baggage. Neither believes it possible to find happiness, but both strive for at least some measure of peace. The truth is that even if it takes a while for them to admit they are destined to be together, it is apparent from their first meeting that this is the case. When Grady finds himself in a position to safeguard Vanessa, they begin in earnest what is truly an uplifting, romantic journey.
While watching Grady and Vanessa move forward is satisfying, there are many other commendable aspects to this book. The writing is strong and tight, and the story is so well-paced, it is a pleasure to read. As I said, the setting is vivid. Many secondary characters pop off the pages and are quirky and engaging—I can't help but wonder who will be part of the second book in this series! I am curious about many of the Bay townspeople.
COMING HOME is a great read. I sincerely look forward to reading the next book in this series!