One of the things that is often overlooked with small towns is that, sometimes, all it takes is one special thing to make that town shine in the memories of anyone who encounters it.
Hope Harbour from Sea Rose Lane is one of those small towns that doesn't just have that one unique thing but a small scattering which endear it, making it shine to all who encounter it - inhabitants and readers alike.
One rebuilding their life after lost relationships and the other after failed career dreams. Now, I should probably tell you this is a contemporary romance novel and these are our star players. I found myself a little confused though.
I though they were both great characters and I love the personal growth they both under went.
I felt their ending was well resolved for the plot (for those of you who don't like too many loose ends when the next book in the series has already been announced).
However, at times, their relationship felt more in line with a high school/college freshman romance than that of professionals in their mid 30's. If you can overlook the awkwardness of their inner dialogue the rest of the romance provides a wonderful background for BJ's healing from her past and Eric's return to faith.
In fact, I found Hannon's approach to Eric interesting. Usually in this style of book there is a mentor or the love interest who are strong in their faith and it leads the other to a point of crises where they find themselves confronting what they believe. I really appreciated how naturally things flowed though in Sea Rose Lane: natural talks with a father, cryptically wise chats with Charley over painting and tacos, the witness of BJ's earnestness, and even the talks with Luis at his lowest. Sometimes it takes one person, more often it's a series of events, questions, and talks and I love how Hannon led Eric on that journey.
Now, on to (in my opinion) the highlight of the book.
The supporting cast!
I'm not sure what it was but between Eleanor, Luis, and Charley I could not read this book fast enough! I loved Charley's quiet wisdom and friendly eccentricity. Honestly, I wish I could sit down at his taco stand and pick his brain even though I'm well aware I hate fish taco's and he's a fictional character :)
Eleanor was so sweet and heart breaking in her struggles of advancing age. I'm sure the fact that I know so many dear ladies in similar situations didn't help my emotions as Eleanor's struggle to find purpose in her life continued to unfold. Elanor and Methuselah were the bringers of many smiles as I saw the ladies of my childhood reflected in this character.
Luis. Oh what to say about this character. Can I say thank you to Hannon for writing a character who struggles the way Luis does with his grief? So often the church glosses over the effects of grief and trauma which makes it so much harder to offer the help required. Luis dignity and gentle spirit helped him steal the scene whenever he enter in and I honestly gave a happy squeal when I realized what Hannon had in store for this wonderful construction worker,
Overall, while the inner dialogue brought an awkwardness to BJ and Eric's developing romance, Hope Harbour and her cast of characters are simply to charming to miss. 4 out of 5 stars
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."