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.
ha sounds like a warm summer read, very interested will be adding it to my list 🙂
thanks Lily, I am planning to start book two soon.
I’m 10 years older than my boyfriend and it never brought us any problem 🙂 He’s old at heart and I’m young at heart lol ! That was the first, the series will probably get better with time 🙂
I think that is awesome, I suppose it depends on the couple. When I dated way back in the eighties, I was 20 going on 40. So guys younger then me were idiots. I was attracted to older men. Although my husband is only 4 years older then me.
The age gap doesn’t bother me. My father is 12 years older than my stepmother and my sister’s late husband was almost 10 years older than she was. It does feel different when the woman is the older one but I’m open to it. I’m not crazy about the cliffhanger ending. I’ll wait for several more books to be released and then maybe I’ll try it.
Oddly if the man is older I have no problem, it’s the older woman,younger man thing that trips me up. All of the books are released for this series. I am going to read book two and see how it develops. Thanks Bea 🙂
Eekks! Cliffy! I like reading books with kids as they somehow made the plot lively.
I love small town settings and the whole figuring out what you really want thing but I think I would be concerned for the kids first. This sounds like it does have potential but I might wait until more of the series is published so I can read them together. I don’t like cliffhangers to the point on TV I wait to watch the season finale until the premiere of the next season has come on. It’s a problem!
The books have all been published Katherine. I plan to read book two soon, so I will let you know what I think 🙂 It was an easy, light summer read.
Ugh! Those dreaded cliffhangers. I hate waiting but it looks like this series has been out for awhile so it might not be so bad.
Yes the books are already out, so no waiting 🙂
I hate when there are cliffhangers in stories like this and I wonder if I’ll also have trouble accepting the romance as more beyond a summer fling, but you’ve definitely got me curious about this series! Hopefully I’ll have time to check it out soon. Great review!
Thanks Lauren, I was surprised the romance itself didn’t wrap up, but will try book two to see what develops.
Series sounds like a 80s afternoon soap opera (what’s now called daytime drama). Thanks for the review.
ha, thanks for dating us. I call them soap operas too. This had more substance than those day time shows and I loved the family, small-town happens.
I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers in contemporary romance so if I do read this, I will probably wait for the next book in the series. I’ve noticed that there’s quite a few new books that’s featuring the older woman/younger man relationship which I’m also not a big fan of but I think I just need to read one good book that will make me get over that factor. I don’t know if this is for me, but I will definitely wait for your review of the second book and decide if I’m going to try it out. Great review, Kimba! 🙂
Thankfully the other books are available, and I usually tend to avoid the younger male/older female story-lines. I am curious to see if my opinion changes
I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers ;). Great review!
Me too Paij.
Melissa (Books and Things)
Hm… not sure if this one is for me. I think I would feel the same way about the romance. I might wait to see what you think of the next one because of that dreaded cliffie. Ugh! 🙂
Thankfully the other books are out already. I really think the age thing is my own personal issue, but I am going to read the next one to see how it develops.
Cliffie, what nooo
LOL, Have a good weekend Linda
I enjoy these type of reads every now and then as well. This looks like the perfect kind of adult, summer read.
I’ve never heard about this series but I love the feeling of sand between my toes and I also love the name “Shore Leave Cafe”. The town might become another wonderful setting just like the towns in Debbie Macomber’s or Susan Mallery’s books. I’m not worried about the Cougar relationship because there could be someone new for Joelle in the future. “Summer at the Shore Leave Cafe” sounds like an enjoyable read as a “Thank God it’s not my life.” story. 😀
I haven’t been in a reading mode for romances. I think I will have an issue with their love being forbidden, but it does create a lot of heart-pounding moments and drama. One thing I don’t like about romance books is ending it with a cliffhanger. I only expect that from other genrés, like science fiction. If I read this, I’d probably want to start the next book right away to find out the secret!
All of the books are already published Dre so that is plus!
This sounds like an awesome summer romance, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I like that you mention that there’s a cliffhanger, I kinda like them in romances because then I can come up with lots of what ifs to keep me entertained until the next book in the series.
All of the books are already released so you won’t have to wait too long between cliffies!
Ooh Kimba, cliffhangers love em and hate em. 🙂
thanks for the heads up on this one
Yeah, I have a love/hate thing for them too Debbie 🙂
Ah yes, forbidden romance makes my heart pound too. I love this cover!
I adore the cover too Brandi!
Oh a cliffy, I hope you’ll have your answers in the next one too. It sounds like a nice summer read, I didn’t know this one.
It is often we get cliffhangers with the relationship on main character, especially in small-town series, so I am curious.
Oh I love when summer and all the fun things that happen (or can happen) are in a book. This one sounds pretty good. It’s too bad about the cliffhanger though!
Thankfully all of the books are published..LOL
Carolyn (Book Chick City)
I don’t mind cliffhangers as long as the next book answers some of the questions before asking more. Also it has to be with the same characters, so a proper continuation of the story arc. I haven’t heard of this author before so will definitely check her out, I do love a good small town romance now and then 😉
It looks like it will be, and of course there are side stories we need to know more about. Thanks Carolyn.
I tend to struggle with books where the female character is much older than the younger one male character. I can’t help but think that they aren’t on the same maturity level and whatever relationship that sprouts is not serious in any way. I probably sound horrible saying that, but I’ve seen lots of couples like that crumble.
I’m also not sure how I feel about cliffhanger endings for a contemporary book. I’m glad that there were still moments you enjoyed and that it’s a book that made you think.
Great review, Kim!
I know, it depends on the gap. Less then six years and I am ok with it. I think because my brother-in-law and his wife have a six year difference..but thirteen? It makes me nervous, I am anxious to see how it develops.
I loved this book and the next one in the series is even better.
Really glad to hear the second book is stronger Jonetta. I have it in my tbr pile 🙂
Oh you know me and my love for small town romance, added to my tbr!! Xx
it was a fun red Em, and I love small-towns settings too
Aw, the cover looks perfect for summer based on the cover. I love second chance romances, but it’s a tad.. Idk. I’d love for there to be more of a soul-mate kind of love instead of a summer fling type one. This one seems to have a lot of heart and feels though and it’ll probably turn up the heat even more in the next book, yeah? I’m a little scared of the cliffhanger though and I hope that the secret will be revealed soon. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Kim and hopefully the next one will be even more up your alley 🙂
I think we are going to see it develop more, but maybe it was the age thing but it felt summer fling like to me.