Format: Bound (provided by publisher)
Release Date: March 26, 2013
In a trade-off she’s lived to regret, Emily Castle left home years ago to become an interior designer. The youngest of three sisters, Emily desperately wanted to prove herself. Success, though, came at the cost of leaving behind the man she loved.
For Boone Dorsett, losing Emily left his heart shattered, but another woman was waiting in the wings. Now a widower with a young son, Boone has a second chance with Emily when a storm brings her home. But with his former in-laws threatening a custody suit, the stakes of loving her are higher than ever.
Will fate once again separate them—or is the time finally right for these two star-crossed lovers?
The first in a new trilogy by author Sherryl Woods was sort of "Back to the Beginning" for me. Sand Castle Bay reminds me of the romance novels I started off reading. The kind that melted your heart with the emotional connection between two people and left you with a smile on your face. It is a heartfelt story about second chances and new beginnings.
Sand Castle Bay is a romance novel that is more concerned about the emotional relationship rather than a physical one, so don't expect any sex scenes, they're implied and left to the readers' imagination. The lack of graphic sex scenes doesn't impact the overall story though,
The characters are entertaining and flawed, which makes for an interesting and amusing read. Emily Castle is back in her home town to help her grandmother after a hurricane maims the family restaurant. Unfortunately coming home means that she'll be seeing a lot of the man she once loved and left behind.
Boone Dorsett never truly got over Emily but he did marry and make a life with a good woman. When his wife dies, Boone is left to care for his son while his mother-in-law continually threatens him with a custody suit. Complicating matters is Emily's return and the resurfacing of the feelings he thought he'd left behind.
Boone and Emily have so many obstacles against them from the very moment they see each other again. Old hurts and resentments keep Boone from opening up to Emily, and now he has his son to consider. He's a great father, not perfect but every thing he does is out of love for his son. His guilt over his marriage stops him from truly moving on and is the one of the weaknesses his mother-in-law feeds on.
The pace of Boone and Emily's relationship is quite slow, and in this situation it works. Both characters have changed drastically in the span of ten years and they need to get to know each other as if they were strangers. There are some set backs in their relationship, particularly whenever Emily has to fly out to different locations to work. Boone doesn't seem very supportive or understanding, he allows his old fears to dictate his reactions but Emily is patient with him, she even shares his doubts and fears that their relationship will work.
My only real complaint about Sand Castle Bay is the way Emily is seemingly judged for having chosen her career over Boone when they were younger. It seemed as if everyone expected her to sacrifice her dreams of a career in exchange for young love. The judgmental comments from her own family began to grate on me after a while, especially whenever Cora Jane referred to Emily's leaving as "running off" and basically minimizing her achievements because she was "alone." However, in the end, her family redeemed themselves in my eyes by being supportive of Emily when she's offered an amazing job opportunity. I would have also liked to have seen a more solid resolution to Boone's problems with his mother-in-law.
Overall, Sand Castle Bay is a sweet, story about loving someone enough to accept them as they are and meeting them halfway.