Anyhow, enough grumping, it's time for the ever elusive book review!
So, Stargazey Point by Shelley Noble. You might perhaps remember my gushing over the pretty cover.
See....pretty, right? Anyhow, my brain was apparently washed by all the pretty because I requested this off of Wm Morrow Paperbacks blogger outreach list without any sort of contemplation about whether I would, you know, enjoy things about the book that aren't the cover. After reading the prologue which was so cheesy I may have actually rolled my eyes, I had a few doubts. However, I figured since I am a jerk who apparently chooses her review books based on cover alone and have no one to blame but myself, I supposed I'd better at least give it the fifty pages I owed it. As I suspected, it didn't magically transform into a breathtaking work of literature, but happily, it did turn into a sweet beach read (for the non-beach goer) with lovable characters and a sweet (if predictable) plot.
Documentary filmmaker Abbie Sinclair is deeply damaged after her latest project ended in tragedy. Luckily for her, her best friend stateside has a few elderly relatives who are happy to host Abbie in their crumbling seaside mansion while she figures out what comes next. Cabot Reynolds the Third is a man who gave up a promising career as an architect to return to the down and out South Carolina beach town of Stargazey Point to restore his uncle's carousel and, hopefully, breathe new life into the town before its natives are forced to sell out to developers. The elderly Crispin siblings are Stargazey Point's old money, but their funds are quickly disappearing. The three have fallen to selling off their belongings to pay off their taxes. Despite their troubles Abbie finds a home with Millie, Marnie, and Beau, and before long she finds that she doesn't have to jet around the world to keep up with the deeds of her over-achieving, do-gooder family members, there's plenty of good to be done right in Stargazey Point.
What to say about Stargazey Point? It's a stereotype in the best possible way. It's a town that has been plunged into hard times by a few too many storms, where taxes are still sky-rocketing forcing natives out in favor of soulless, big-money resorts. It's peopled by a pack of well-intentioned, incredibly meddlesome southern ladies who are at the ready when it comes to pushing this damaged stranger to rediscover her purpose. All it takes is a little boost from a guy who favors his small-town roots to his big-city career and a woman who seems to know how to draw out the best in people even when she can only see the worst in herself, to give the struggling natives of Stargazey Point the incentive they need to embrace their town's heritage and make it new again.
The plot is a little too contrived, most of the characters are a little too saccharine, the "deep, dark" secrets are little too close to the surface, and the cynics are a bit too easily won over, but Abbie's story is addictive nonetheless. There's always something compelling about a person finding healing, redemption, and love after tragedy, even more so when she's entwined in a town filled with exaggeratedly loveable characters finding its feet again. The town of Stargazey Point jumps off the page, and Abbie's story is just the sort of easy-reading, satisfying tale that reads best on a lazy summer day.
(Thanks to William Morrow Paperbacks for providing me a with a copy in exchange for my honest review.)