As anyone familiar with this blog knows, I’ve been on hiatus for some time. I didn’t actually mean to go on hiatus – it just happened. We went to Shanghai, my daughter went to college, I went on sabbatical, my mom got sick. I’ve certainly been reading – as always, it’s been a huge comfort. But I just couldn’t find the time and energy to share my thoughts. It became stress, and not fun, and that’s exactly what I didn’t want when I started this blog. So I stepped back – and vegged.
Around January, I realized I was getting antsy, and had some things to share. But I held back from jumping back in to the book blogging world – I felt detached from a community I had been part of, and I didn’t know how to jump back in. So I waffled, which is like vegging, but with the addition of conflicted thought.
But then I got an email about a TLC tour that was way off my normal reading radar – a beach romance, for goodness sake. And I thought to myself, “Maybe that’s just the thing. Read something you haven’t read since you were a teenager, and see if it gives you something new to say.”
Which is the long way round to explaining why my usually lit/fic, historical novel and mystery blog is featuring a romance for my return to blogdom. A romance called, The Love Shack, no less. (Cue the B-52s, my favorite 80s band).
All I can say was, it was a reading vacation. It was fun, decadent, and not terribly demanding.
Christie Ridgway gives the reader a story more Georgette Heyer than Nora Roberts. There’s lots of back story, lots of emotion, lots of complications and even a rumored necklace with lots of jewels. Oh, and there’s romance too. But it’s way more cerebral than I thought it would be. Seriously.
The story is as simple at its heart as you might expect. Gage is a photojournalist who books some downtime in the place he happily vacationed as a child – Beach House No. 9. The owner’s little brat of a daughter, Skye, is now the owner of the place – and predictably gorgeous. He’s been working behind enemy lines in the war on terror. She’s been dealing with her own war on peace at home. Both Gage and Skye have incidents in their past that tend to keep them isolated – but they are also absolutely drawn to each other. You know they belong together from the first chapter – it’s a romance, for goodness sake – but Ridgway keeps you wondering if they’re going to figure it out before calamity strikes.
The Love Shack is a good beach book: comfortable and escapist, but just a little unexpected. Ridgway definitely channeled the Regency Romance aesthetic in a contemporary setting. The book was honestly far more restrained than I had expected. If you are looking for a fun, contemporary romance with an interesting set of supporting characters, consider putting The Love Shack in your beach bag this summer. No one is going to confuse it with Anna Karenina -- or The Gulag Archipelago for that matter* – but it’s good, reasonably clean fun.
I was supposed to receive a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion, but had so much trouble with NetGalley that I bought the book myself. Still, many thanks, as always, to Lisa at TLC for including me on this tour. For other opinions about this title, follow this link.
*Deperado Penguin knows this to be true!