Author: Jenny Hale
Goodness, what a read! Jenny Hale has managed to make this book, a heart-warming, must read for summer. This book is an emotional rollercoaster of family, friendships and love. It felt like I read a hallmark movie.
What’s the story?
Where to even begin? This story is more than a romance read. It’s really a family story about healing and finding yourself with a subplot of romance between childhood friends who discover their feelings might be more than friendship. Hallie’s beloved Aunt Clara had passed away, and while her mother and sister Sydney have received their inheritance, Hallie must earn hers by completing a childhood bucket list she created when she was twelve.
Hallie Flynn is our protagonist. Hallie seems to flounder in life. She broke off her engagement (for reasons she holds onto for most of the book.) She’s unhappy in her career, and she is filled with self-doubt. Along with Hallie is her mother and her sister, Sydney, who is a single mom to seven-year-old Robby, and their Uncle Hank, Clara’s husband. The family, along with Hallies childhood best friend Ben, have packed up to spend two weeks at their family home out on Firefly beach.
When they arrive at the family beach estate they discover uncle Hank is grieving hard and has become a lost soul without their family matriarch. Hallie must overcome her own grief in order to help bring the family back together and begin to heal. Over the two weeks Hallie starts to accomplish some of the tasks on her list and she rediscovers her love of photography. She’s never been brave enough to make anything of it, until she meets a local artist/gallery owner Gavin. Gavin encourages her to find her passion and is willing to help her when she discovers she has a natural talent, much like her famous designer aunt Clara.
Ben, Hallie, and Gavin have the beginning of a love triangle, except Hallie is in denial about her growing feelings for Ben. When her sister notices things might be more than just friends, she cautions her against making the plunge. Being a single mom, who went down the same road of friends to lovers with Robby’s dad, she projects her own feeling into the situation out of fear of losing Ben, (who has become a significant male figure in Robby’s life.) Ben ultimately confesses his long standing love to Hallie, who tries to deny her feelings out of guilt and advice from her sister.
The good, bad and meh…
The good: So, so many things. The entire family. The dynamics between them, they love and respect they have. There is such an emotional pull in this story that you feel it all.
The scenary. This is the epitome of a beach read. A small coastal town set around Firefly beach that comes with everything with it. (Reminds of the town in the movie Safe Harbour.) Jenny Hale has down an amazing job pulling you into the book and making you feel like you are seeing everything vividly. Claras letter add side storylines that keep you intrigued.
The bad: The naiveness of Hallie. The sister projecting her own feelings onto the situation and ultimately influencing how things go with her and Ben.
The meh: I found the beginning of the book a little slow. It certainly picks up but it did take me longer to get into. Ben, he is too sweet! Like give you a toothache sweet. He needed a little bit more sternness.
“Your life is a blank slate. Dream it up just the way you want it, and then go get it.”Aunt Clara
Author website: http://www.itsjennyhale.com