Summer Benson is a flight attendant who is flying to Paris to spend a naughty weekend with her pilot boyfriend. When a fellow flight attendant tells her that Aaron is going to propose in Paris, Summer isn't at all sure that's what she wants. She's always been the good time girl, no strings attached, and she's perfectly happy that way. Or is she? Horrifically, the plane crashes just after take-off and Summer comes to in the hospital, burned and broken from helping passengers escape the plane. But the physical brokenness is nothing compared to the emotional damage when Aaron, sitting at her bedside, tells her that the accident has clarified for him the fact that he loves her but not enough to marry her.
Crushed despite her own ambivalence about the relationship, Summer flees to Black Dog Bay, a small Delaware town she'd read about in a magazine, a town that specializes in helping people recover from breakups. As she drives into town looking for a hotel, she swerves to avoid a turtle and ends up plowing through a trellis and rose bushes in the yard of the good looking but unattainably aloof mayor, Dutch Jansen. It is not an auspicious way to arrive in town. When she finally gets to the Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, her reputation has preceded her. Summer starts to settle into the quaint beach town, befriending the generous locals and putting the more unpleasant residents in their places. She is also determined to have a fling with the delectable Dutch. What she doesn't count on is becoming a role model of sorts for Dutch's teenaged sister, Ingrid, nor on becoming the companion for the town's most irascible citizen, Hattie Huntington, who is still nurturing a hurt decades in the past.
Summer is a fun and flirty character. She is a dominating, take-charge personality and her skills at placating passengers on an airplane certainly come in handy in dealing with the less pleasant people in town. Her relationship with Dutch is fairly predictable but the novel is really more about being brave enough to find a new direction for your life and to have the courage to look into your heart and understand your own fears and how they've shaped you rather than about the romance. The romance is actually like the whipped cream on this sweet and charming sundae. The secondary characters are delightful, sassy, and completely appealing. The concept of the town's purpose is highly entertaining and well integrated into the storyline. And the novel has a refreshingly positive spin on recovering from a breakup, without bitterness or heated anger. It's a fun and light-hearted look at one woman who is afraid to commit her heart until this town and the people in it show her her true capacity for caring.
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Thanks to Janay from Book Sparks PR and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.