Review: Summer on Blackberry Beach
SUMMER ON BLACKBERRY BEACH - Belle Calhoune
Mistletoe, Maine (Book #2)

Berkley Forever
BUY
Brenda Larnell (A)
CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
REVIEW:  Once again, I have the pleasure of visiting the fictional town of Mistletoe, Maine and becoming acquainted with teacher, Stella Marshall, and former Navy Seal, Luke Keegan. The last time I visited the town, it was winter, and the citizens of Mistletoe were celebrating Christmas (NO ORDINARY CHRISTMAS). This time, the heroine is celebrating the last days of school and looking forward to the summer. Living on Blackberry Beach has a special appeal to Stella as she looks forward to the beautiful sunrises and peaceful sunsets that come with living near the beach. On the last day of school, one of her students, as well as the town, is treated to a special surprise. It’s a great beginning to this story that celebrates small town living and everything that goes with it.

Enter Luke Keegan, Mistletoe’s celebrated Navy Seal, as he returns to his hometown a reluctant hero who is carrying a heavy burden from his last days as a Seal. He surprises his nephew, Miles, who is one of the young side characters in the story. There is an immediate attraction and chemistry between Luke and Stella. Kudos to the author for her twist on the fake relationship trope. Initially, Luke and Stella come together to stop the incessant gossiping about them that permeates the town, but that initial reason eventually takes a back seat to the growing affection they have for each other. Stella has her own tragic backstory that still haunts her. Likewise, Luke is haunted by a tragic outcome that stems from his last mission as a Seal. I am going to stop right here, and allow you to discover what happened in the lives of this couple to bring such distress.

A great deal of the storyline is devoted to Luke and Stella coming to grips with their dark pasts so they can have a future together. However, the storyline doesn’t get bogged down with their woes, because Ms Calhoune is very adept at inserting festive scenarios that highlight town events. It’s a good balance of dark and light moments.

The side characters are mainly composed of family and friends of the heroine and hero. They lend support and unsolicited advice. I love the roles of Luke’s nephew, Miles, and Tess, Stella’s ten year old sister. The HEA is so gratifying.

SUMMER ON BLACKBERRY BEACH is an engaging and entertaining summer read. I recommend that you add it to your summer reading pile. You won’t be sorry.

14Th July 2022 | romcol@caribsurf.com
(A)