This is not the type of romance I would have normally chosen to read, and it was actually quite by accident that I began this one. I downloaded it a while back when it was a freebie on Amazon. I had been scrolling through my archive list in the Kindle for iPhone when I accidentally touched this one and downloaded it to my phone. When I went to go move it back to the archive, I decided to open it instead and read the first few lines. It had me hooked from the first page.
The first third of the book takes place when the two leads, Kip Stroud and Shelley Ballard are 15. We get a lot of back story about how they had been best friends, as close as two friends can be, since they were 8 years old and met on Block Island, which I've found out, after researching a bit, is a real island off the coast of Rhode Island. The majority of the book takes place on Block Island, and there are many details about the place.
The two characters' families both have summer homes on the Island, and although they do not communicate throughout the rest of the year, each summer when their respective families return to the Island they are inseparable. At 15, the two teenagers are just beginning to get those first tingly hormonal sensations teenagers get when they notice the opposite sex, and they share a pretty steamy kiss just before they are unwillingly separated for many years.
The rest of the book takes place more than a decade later when another tragedy brings Kip back to the Island, only to find that Shelley moved there permanently a few years earlier. Ergo they are brought back together, this time as adults, where they renew their friendship and all of those old childhood lovey feelings are thrust back to the surface.
This book was very sweet. Good sweet, NOT treacly, and not 'squeaky clean' either (there are two sex scenes). It is a tender story about two adults who have both known tragedy and hardship, and who cling to the memories of their carefree childhoods together. They have a deep, solid friendship upon which to build a true adult relationship.
It's not an easy sequence of events for the characters. They spend a lot of time grieving their pasts. Both characters have to overcome certain events in their lives that prevent them from getting and staying together.
There is an unplanned pregnancy, as well, which - among other issues - throws a stumbling block in the path of our hero and heroine in the progression toward their HEA.
I'm very glad I read this. I liked both the hero and heroine very much, and I really wanted them to be together, but they really didn't have an easy time of it.
One of the major issues I had was that I wished there had been a more thorough establishment of their history as childhood friends, and I wish that there had been more time spent on their budding attraction for one another as teenagers. They share one kiss at 15 before they are separated for 12 years, and I would have liked to have seen more of a developing relationship than just one kiss.
I wish the characters had been more forthright with one another about their feelings. They held back even at times when I didn't really feel that had any real reason to do so. But it did make for some great angst, making their ultimate HEA much sweeter.
But, overall, this was a great read. Great writing! Would recommend if you're in the mood for a sweet and tender romance with characters whose friendship turns into true love.