Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Sea of Love

Sea of Love (Bayberry Island - Book 1) by Susan Donovan

Publication Date: 12/03/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Signet Select
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
ISBN-10: 0451419286
ISBN-13: 978-0451419286

(Received for an honest review from Signet Select)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Susan Donovan on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from Sea of Love, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


New York Times bestselling author Susan Donovan welcomes you to Bayberry Island, a special place between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket where a bronze mermaid statue promises to grant true love to anyone who asks with an open heart…

For years Rowan Flynn distanced herself from Bayberry Island and its infamous mermaid legend. But after her investor fiancĂ© lost what was left of her family’s fortune, Rowan reluctantly agreed to run the Safe Haven Bed-and-Breakfast, determined never again to fall for the ridiculous fantasy of the mermaid matchmaker.

Now Rowan is just biding her time until she can return to her “real” life in New York, fixing up the B and B and avoiding neighbors who are angry that the Flynns won’t sell their land to a developer set on turning the island into a glitzy vacation destination.

But when a handsome stranger arrives at the B and B the night before the annual Mermaid Festival, Rowan’s life takes a turn for the interesting. Could it be the divine hand of the town’s patroness? Or is Rowan being set up for another disappointment?


Susan Donovan releases her first book in the new Bayberry Island contemporary romance series, Sea of Love. Set against the backdrop of local legend involving a bronze mermaid statue that can grant true love, Sea of Love is a captivating novel with dynamic storytelling and heartfelt emotions. Donovan's warm sense of humor and memorable characters are sure to ease their way into the hearts and minds of readers. A delightful beginning to a new series!

What I liked:

The legend of Bayberry Island mermaid was both intriguing and made of all the things good legends are made of. The people native to the island have passed down the story of the bronze statue for years and years and it has become a part of the culture of the place. It was a wonder idea for a theme and Donovan does it justice with this novel.

I liked the setting a lot as well. Donovan's descriptions of Bayberry Island make readers want to visit it's shores and stay in little bed and breakfast. A place to get away from it all and maybe even fall in love. Donovan's attention to detail in even the smallest of things makes the setting stand out and take on a life of it's own.

Ash and Rowan make the perfect couple. Not only have they both loved and lost but they have seen what there was to see and now they know what they want, it's just a matter of getting it. Rowan's family has taken a beating and even some of the locals are against them. She is facing a lot and Ash knows he needs a change. His life was going in a direction he wasn't sure he liked. Meeting each other changed their lives... isn't that how love's supposed to be?

I liked the set up for the series and thought Donovan did a great job showing some pretty complex relationships. The relationship between Rowan and Ash is only one. Her relationship with her family. Her families relationship with the other people of Bayberry Island etc. It took a bit of set up, but I'm looking forward to where the next book goes with these ideas and relationships.

What I didn't like: 

There were a few parts that felt a bit rushed. Not just in the pacing but the overall idea of the novel. Yes, I think true love is possible. Yes, I think love at first sight is possible. I think instant attraction certainly happens. But building a relationship on a sexual experience that happens only a few chapters and hours into meeting someone is a bit far fetched. Usually that ends in a one night stand not a lasting romance. 

Bottom Line: 

I could suspend my belief in what it takes to make love work, because of all the humor and just overall good feeling this book produced in me. It's a feel good romance with some great characters and lots of local color and intrigue. A good place to start!

Sea of Love is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Susan Donovan is a New York Times extended list and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen novels and four novellas. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and has worked as a newspaper reporter in Chicago, Albuquerque, and Indianapolis. She lives in Maryland with her teenagers and dogs.