by Abbie Williams
Series: Shore Leave Cafe #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Joelle Gordon is leaving Chicago and her cheating husband to head for her hometown of Landon, Minnesota. WIth her three beautiful daughters in tow, Joelle is bombarded with an onslaught of memories that Landon evokes. Landon -- home to the Shore Leave Cafe, the restaurant Joelle's family owns -- has some surprises in store for Joelle. Finding herself confronted with the reality of single motherhood, a mysterious but handsome young staffer at the Shore Leave Cafe, her upset daughters, and the prospect of returning to her husband for the well-being of her kids, Joelle must make decisions she never thought she'd face. A story about heartbreak, blame, family, desire, love, and the difficulties of returning home, Summer at the Shore Leave Cafe highlights hardships to which everyone can relate.
Summer at the Shore Leave Café shares second chances, new beginnings and shore life. It is the first book in the Shore Leave Café series by Abbie Williams. Small town life, interesting characters and a heated forbidden romance made this an enjoyable summer read.
Joelle Gordon is traveling back to her hometown of Landon, Minnesota with her daughters in tow. While she is seeking the comfort of home and family, it also stirs up memories of the past and her courtship with Landon her soon to be ex-husband. This summer Joelle must face being a single motherhood and deciding her future. She finds herself attracted to a mysterious, drop dead gorgeous younger man. She must decide whether to find happy or return to her cheating spouse for the sake of her children. The tale that unfolds has small-town charm, a heated forbidden romance and character growth.
Williams brings the small-town lake community of Landon Minnesota to life and Joelle’s family owned restaurant the Shore Leave Café is at the heart of it. From Margarita Saturdays to midnight rows on the lake complete with sparklers, we are caught up in the joys of summer. Joelle was an interesting character, and we see her struggle as she faces a new chapter in her life and fights a growing attraction and feelings towards a man twelve years her senior. Blythe Tilson, is mysterious,sweet and has a checkered past. While their romance is sweet and heated, we do not get much page time with them. The tale addresses all aspects of Joelle’s life. It was fun watching them dance around the sparks that practically ignited whenever they were in the same room. Secondary characters and little side stories added to the small-town atmosphere and gave hints of future stories in the series.
Forbidden romance and change of life tropes are ones I often enjoy. Williams did a wonderful job of highlighting Joelle’s struggles as she weighs her family against her heart. I struggled a bit accepting the romance between Joelle and Blythe. I never doubted their feelings but to me it felt more like a summer fling than a serious relationship. In truth, I think the age difference played a factor along with my feelings about motherhood being the first concern. Williams weaved in twists, turns and family drama keeping me engaged. While Joelle and Blythe’s romance left me with mixed emotions, the town and characters left me wanting to return to the Shore Leave Café.
The ending to Summer at the Shore Leave Cafe did not wrap up our HEA and instead left us with a cliffhanger. There is a secret yet to be revealed and things were left unresolved for Blythe and Joelle. Other threads regarding her daughter and sister have not been wrapped up. This will be a series that must be read in order. I am hoping my questions are answered in Second Chances the next book in the Shore Leave Café series.