Friday, April 21, 2017

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon

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Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities--including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either--but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different--and better--future planned for them than either could imagine.
(excerpt from back of book)

Sandpiper Cove is Irene Hannon's second installment in the Hope Harbor saga.  Hannon does a solid job of creating a new and separate story within the familiar faces and space of Hope Harbor. In fact, I was surprised to find that BJ and Eric were barely mentioned within  Lexie's story but was pleased to see it gave both Lexie and Adam their own space to grow and develop as characters.

Now, don't get me wrong, I was pleased to see personal favourites from Hope Harbor's first installment were back . I was surprised to see how easily Hannon introduces new facets to both Luis and Charley as readers see them through the new eyes of Adam and Lexie (and can I just say, still not a fan of fish but Hannon makes Charley's tacos sound amazing!) It's so gratifying to read further into a series and see secondary characters who were so beloved in previous editions finding their own  ways to grow through the series.

The story itself I found to have a much more  solid pacing than its predecessor. I found Hannon to employ wonderful pacing when it came to unraveling Lexie's history, Adam's growth, and Brian's wrestling. Each of those stories could have easily felt out of place in the predominantly romance based book but Hannon allows the deeper plots to support her central story while also allowing a more natural entry point for discussion on faith.

Unfortunately, the general awkwardness that I found in following BJ and Eric's mental processes in the first book were still present in Lexie and Adam's story. While I felt the characters were more in line with their given age and life experiences, the awkwardness (which in fairness does seem prevalent in the genre) made reading jarring at time and caused me to have difficulty engaging the story until the internal monologue was finished.

Hanon's books are consistently easy reading and show wonderful skill in her ability to build world and environments for her characters. For fans of contemporary romance, Hannon's books are great for curling up with on a rainy, Spring day.  Non-fans of the genre may find themselves struggling with the awkwardness this genre seems to promote.

4 out of 5 stars

"Book has been provided courtesy of Revell and Baker Publishing Group."