About the book, At the River’s Edge
After taking stock of her life, Sophie Enright has decided it’s time for a break. Between a law career that’s become criminally dull and a two-timing boyfriend she’s done with once and for all, Sophie desperately needs some time to think and some space to breathe. The perfect place to do both is easygoing St. Dennis, Maryland, where Sophie can visit with her brother while she figures out her options. Once in St. Dennis, she discovers a shuttered restaurant and makes a bold move that is also a leap of faith. Sophie buys the fixer-upper in order to finally pursue her dream career.
But Sophie’s labor of love becomes a bone of contention for her new neighbor Jason Bowers. The local landscaper has big plans for growing his business—until Sophie scoops up the property he’s got his eye on. And no amount of buyout offers or badgering from him will get her to budge. It’s hardly the start of a beautiful friendship. But when they’re paired up to work on a community project, they agree to put their differences aside, and sparks begin to fly. Then Sophie’s cheating ex suddenly shows up, looking for a second chance—and threatening to make Jason a third wheel just when his hotheaded feelings about Sophie were turning decidedly warmhearted. All Sophie wants is a new life and a true love. But what are the odds of having both?
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About the author, Mariah Stewart
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and their dogs amid the rolling hills and Amish farms of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she gardens, reads, and enjoys country life.
I was first introduced to Mariah Stewart’s series of novels The Chesapeake Diaries, when I received a box containing the first six books in the series late last year. It was cold and wet, and they were great books for that kind of weather, because they fall into a favorite category of mine: small town, beach novels.
At the River’s Edge is the most recent addition to the series, and like it’s predecessors, it takes place in the same continuity, the same version of life on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, in a small town with cute shops and colorful characters. Having lived in not one, but two, such towns (though not on the Chesapeake), I can assure you that Stewart’s depiction of those two elements, and of small town life in general, is dead-on.
This particular novel was a bit weird for me, only because the man who dumps protagonist Sophie in the beginning (well, actually she dumps him after catching him cheating on her) shares my husband’s first name. Once I got beyond that, and into the meat of the story, I was happily entranced by Sophie’s desire to restore a diner. In fact, in many ways this book could have been about me, because I grew up visiting a family diner owned by my cousins, and when it closed, I would happily have bought it, if I’d had the cash.
I was equally enamored with landscaper and love-interest Jason, and I liked the way their relationship began as one of antagonism before passion turned on both characters and things got warm and cozy between them. Was this a bit predictable? Yes. Does that mean the story isn’t enjoyable? No.
Some people might consider Stewart’s books, and others like them, to be fluff. I disagree. I think that at a time when our science fiction and fantasy are dominated by zombies and post-apocalyptic futures, it’s nice to have books that aren’t afraid of sweetness or sentimentality. Stewart writes fantastic characters in ‘normal’ lives, and she does it in a well that makes her books not merely compelling, but downright addictive. Not to mention, the vast majority of the women in her novels are smart, savvy, and own their own businesses. How empowering!
Goes well with hot pastrami on rye with a side of cole slaw and a vanilla cream soda.
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