Abbie worked on documentaries but after her last project ended in terrible tragedy, she's barely holding it together. Her friend Celeste suggests that she take a break in Stargazey Point, a past its prime coastal resort town in South Carolina, devastated in the last hurricane, but a place that Celeste thinks will help heal Abbie. She arranges for Abbie to stay with her elderly relatives, Marnie, Millie, and Beau Crispin in the once impressive but now distinctively down on its heels, shabby genteel Crispin House. Abbie arrives wanting nothing more than solitude and time to brood over the horrors of her past. She can't see a way forward and she can't see how this small town not far from Myrtle Beach will do anything to mitigate her regret and guilt but, being who she is, she cannot help but get involved in the lives of the people she meets as she spends time in the town.
Cabot Reynolds is a former architect who moved to Stargazey Point after he inherited an old, hurricane battered carousel from his uncle. Tired of the soullessness of the things he's asked to design, Cab is searching for a future in tune with his heart. He remembers the carousel in its prime from his own childhood and he is determined to bring it back to life and to bring Stargazey Point back with it. And he's not going to let a bunch of developers scam the people of his new town so he is very leery of Abbie's arrival and her connection to Crispin House, which sits on prime land on the coast and whose inhabitants are clearly in dire financial straits.
As Abbie comes alive to the people in the community, she and Cab start to acknowledge their attraction to each other and their shared goal for the small town. Abbie starts to care deeply for the children at the rundown community center and takes on the project of making a documentary of the town and the history of the carousel with the endearing crew of kids. She, as is the rest of the town, is captivated by Cab's loving restoration of the carousel, the once proud symbol of Stargazey Point's boardwalk. She makes friends with some of the locals and finds her heart in helping the Crispin siblings. Both Abbie and Cab were bruised by their pasts but together they restore not just the carousel but also hope in their own lives.
This is a great light summer read. There's romance, a beach, and a town slowly waking to revitalization without sacrificing the past that formed its particular character. The town of Stargazey Point is lovingly detailed and appealing. The characters really revolve around the town and aren't as fully rounded though. While they are all sympathetic, they can be a little one-dimensional and the plot in many cases is quite predictable. Abbie's coming to terms with her role in the tragedy on her last documentary is realistically slow but her immersion in the lives of those around her and her investment in their futures is surprisingly quick given how damaged she was when she arrived. In general though, this is a very leisurely summer tale, perfect for a day with sand between your toes, a sweet tea sweating at your side, and the sun glinting off the page.
If you read and enjoy Stargazey Point, Shelley Noble has an e-single called Starcazey Nights that ties into the full length story which you'll want to download.
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Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.