DUNE DRIVE by Mariah Stewart
Spend your summer on Cannonball Island!
Book 12 of The Chesapeake Diaries series On sale July 31, 2018!
Mass Market Paperback • Price: $7.99 • ISBN: 9781501154416 eBook • Price: $7.99 • ISBN: 9781501154423
Review copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley
Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.
Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a chef at Blossoms, an up-and-coming restaurant in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.
But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever. (publisher)
My take: When Chrissy Jenkins finally says enough is enough and flees an abusive relationship she runs to where she knows she’ll be safe and wanted – her great-grandmother’s home on Cannonball Island. Her Gigi will care for her but also encourage her to stand up and take control of her life. And that’s exactly what Chrissy does. Along the way she finds a job doing what she loves most and also reconnects with an acquaintance who could become much more.
It’s a story of starting over, learning to trust, and finding important answers to questions that have bothered Chrissy her entire life. I really enjoyed this latest installment of The Chesapeake Diaries series. Dune Drive can stand alone so don’t let the fact that it’s book 12 make you think you need to read the series in order. Mariah Stewart does a great job catching you up with pertinent details about each character.
About the author
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.
Chrissie stretched one leg as close to the water as she could and with her big toe traced her name onto the surface, the way she had when she was a child. The water was cold, true spring being just around the corner, and the chill ran up her leg, but it made her feel alive. Her brother, Luke, once told her that writing your name on the Chesapeake meant you were part of it, would always be part of it. She wondered where Luke was now, and if writing his name on the bay had brought him back from time to time.
When their parents, Stephen and Dorothy, divorced, Luke went with their father, and one-year-old Chrissie stayed with their mother. As far as Chrissie knew, neither father nor brother had ever looked back. It was as if the earth had opened up and swallowed Stephen and Luke Jenkins body and soul, as far as she was concerned. Chrissie wouldn’t recognize either of them if they stood in front of her. Her father had been from the mainland and had no ties to the island except her mother. Once that bond had been broken and her mother remarried and moved to Pennsylvania, Chrissie figured her father had no reason to return. If her mother had heard from either of them, she’d never told Chrissie, and the few times Chrissie’d asked, her questions were ignored.
The last time Chrissie had asked, her mother had snapped, “That’s the agreement we made, no contact, and I’m sticking by it. So far, he has, too. What difference could it make now? He’s never been part of your life. He never wanted to be. Leave it alone, Chrissie. Don’t ask me again.”
To Chrissie, it was unforgivable on the part of both her parents—her mother for not telling her why her father left, and her father for never coming back. Once she’d started examining her life in earnest a year ago, it hadn’t been difficult for her to figure out that being abandoned by her father had contributed to the fact that her self-esteem had been so low she’d permitted herself to be abused. That her mother would never tell her why had only added to her poor self-image: as a child, she’d assumed he’d left because she was a bad girl. What other reason could there have been? Now, as an adult, she realized there’d had to be something other than that, that while children see everything that happens through their eyes as it relates to them, the constant arguing between her parents had probably been about something else. Try as she might, though, her mother would never tell her what that something had been.
She still thought of her father with a mixture of anger and longing. Had he ever remarried? Was he still alive? And Luke . . . ? She had no idea if he was dead or alive, either.