Monday, January 27, 2014

AT THE RIVER'S EDGE by Mariah Stewart

(The Chesapeake Diaries Book 7)
by Mariah Stewart
ARC Review
Published: January 28th, 2014, Ballantine Books

My rating: 3 of 5 ⭐️

Needing a break from her demanding job and to get away from her cheating ex who also works in the Assistant District Attorney's office, Sophie Enright grabs a week's vacation long overdue, and heads out to St. Dennis, Maryland. That's where her -soon to be married- brother Jesse lives and runs the family law firm by himself now, since their grandfather and uncle both retired. Sophie wants a chance to visit with him and her grandfather as well as figure out what direction her life should be going. One thing she knows for sure, the ADA's office is no longer making her happy.

Once there, the small town charm draws Sophie in, as does the closed down building that once housed a restaurant at the edge of town.  A long suppressed dream of hers to run a simple restaurant of her own comes back to life, when she looks at the possibilities the property offers, but not everyone is excited when she voices her ideas. So Sophie bides her time and does some research on her own. In the meantime, she is able to hand in her resignation, pack up her belongings and sell her condo. She is moving to St. Dennis and helping her brother stay on top of things at Enright & Enright. 

Having moved to St. Dennis to be closer to his nephew, the only living family member he has left after the death of his brother, Jason Bowers was glad he finally owned land to expand his landscaping business on. Now if he only could get his hands on the empty brick building adjacent to his land, his dream would be complete. He had some great plans for that building. But with the owner hanging on to it for now, he would just have to be patient. With his friend Jesse's sister Sophie new in town, he had no trouble thinking of a thing or two to keep him occupied!

Before the sparks that are flying between Jason and Sophie can settle into a roaring fire, word gets out that without knowing of each other's interest in the property, Sophie had managed to buy the brick building for her restaurant. Realizing they are neighbours and the objects of each other's irritation, the heat they now ignite is of a different nature entirely. It will take some community involvement and a revisiting of past mistakes to find the path to some much needed compromise.....


I have to admit, this is the first book in the series that I've read, and so I was a bit overwhelmed with the involvement of all the characters, but given that it is a 'typical' small-town series, I can see where you would be attracted to the group of them. 

Sophie is a child from a rather fragmented upbringing, having one brother and other than that step siblings coming out of the woodwork. Only recently having reconnected with her grandfather, she seems to have a loving relationship with her Pops. The whole Enright clan is a lawyer, so Sophie went in that direction as well and she enjoys it, but never quite LOVED it. She is at a point where she wants to make a choice based on what SHE wants to do and not what she thinks is expected of her. I completely appreciate that in a character and a person. She has to disappoint some people in order to take those steps, but the message here is that you have to be true to yourself before you can be true to anyone else.

Jason is a different story altogether, a very tragic one at that. Other than his nephew, he has lost his entire family and will do whatever it takes to keep the connection with his only living relative. Even if it means selling a thriving business in Florida and moving to Maryland. He has been clear on what his dream was for years and can finally taste it, when he sees it slip through his fingers. A tough hit to take,  but the possibility of losing the friendship, new family and perhaps love he realizes he has found would be much harder to lose. St. Dennis has already given him more than he had dared dream for.

The characters are wonderful, their time together rather limited, surprisingly, so I didn't get a real sense of connection. I did enjoy their individual personalities in relationship to others. But most of the story, I found, was spent creating context and relatively little on the romantic development, which left me in a 'waiting' mode for a lot of the story, and a little bit let down. That doesn't take away from the quality of the writing, which is always good in Mariah Stewart's case. The flow and the connection weren't really there for me this time. 

But despite all that, I cannot give this book any less than 3 stars, since it is mostly my own interpretations and expectations that were somewhat disappointed. This is also why I am still offering it as a recommendation on my blog, because I know, armed with this review and perhaps a better idea than I had as to what to expect, you will truly get the best out of this book!!

✨A gentle, small-town, feel-good story with a wink at the paranormal.✨

**ARC provided by NetGalley and Ballantine Books in return for an honest review.**  iTunes Barnes&Noble


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