When single mother Annie Malone purchases a quirky Main Street cafe on Heron Island, she thinks she's finally turned her dream of opening her own restaurant into a reality. Hearing rumors that a developer is about to build a five-star resort on the sleepy Chesapeake Bay island, she plans to transform the cafe into a premier upscale bistro. But Navy SEAL Will Dozier has no intention of selling his grandparents' property to a developer. Back on Heron Island for the first time in 10 years and secretly struggling with PTSD, Will decides that a fling with the new girl is the perfect way to help him get his head straight. The last thing Will expects is to fall in love... with his hometown and with Annie. But Will's life and career are in San Diego with the SEALs. Can Annie's love and the healing magic of the island be enough to convince him to stay?
©2014 Sophie Moss (P)2015 Sophie Moss
Obsessive reader of at least 5 kindle books a week. Only use audiobooks to survive my daily 90 minute walk to work.
This had all the ingredients of a good romance: Single mum working hard to start new life and help her daughter get over a traumatic school shooting, meets PTSD suffering Navy Seal. But it was a “join the dots” romance with nothing to make it stand out and too many factual errors.
The h was a waitress, with no cooking skills or college education, who decides to open an expensive French restaurant. While her 8 yr old daughter is struggling to cope with the murder of 17 classmates, she manages somehow to find a small café in a new town, get a mortgage, obtain a new business loan, finalise the purchase, quit her current job and flat, pack up her life and move into the new place, all in three weeks! We are expected to believe that someone with no relevant experience or collateral, obtains a mortgage and business loan solely based on potential customers from a new resort that was only in the planning stages.
She moves to a small island community where all the locals are stereotypically perfect and welcoming, and don’t seem to mind that she intends to open a restaurant that none of them can afford to eat at, for clientele of a resort none of them want built. When the resort idea is delayed she decides to open a café, and conveniently finds a local woman who not only is a fabulous cook, but is also willing to work long hours with no job security and an uncertain pay cheque.
Special mention must go to the chapter where many of the locals turn up at the café, curious to see the h, because they all know she had sex with the H the night before. Was I the only reader who found this really creepy?!
Navy Seal H owns the land targeted for the resort. A major part of the plot is based on the legally incorrect premise that once sold, he would actually have some control over what was done with the land. Unless he added complicated legal caveats to the title deeds, this is simply impossible. This sloppy plot research runs through the whole book and assumes the reader is not intelligent enough to notice. The H is suffering from PTSD which gives him an emotional connection to the daughter, something which could have been very touching but was never fully explored. Meanwhile, with constant references to the sacrifice and suffering of the armed forces, I felt like the writer was trying to guilt me into liking this book, even more so once the environmental and conservation lectures started.
The depiction of PTSD of both the daughter and the H was simplistic and patronising. Both characters failed to demonstrate the serious emotional toll that this affliction can cause and I thought the ease with which they both recovered from their trauma was insulting to genuine sufferers. Conveniently, the daughter recovered fast enough to enable her to “spend the night with friends” when the h wanted to sleep with the H, and the H happily enjoyed a meal in a crowded noisy restaurant only a few weeks after we get long pages describing his need to avoid crowds and noise. Furthermore, we are supposed to believe that a Navy Seal does not recognise the symptoms of PTSD? This was like a Disney movie simplification of serious issues. We fail to get a real impact of what the 8 yr old endured, while the H thinks about his PTSD a lot but never seems to be really inhibited by it. Eventually he returns to work without having actually dealt with the issue in any way - it just disappeared from the story. Meanwhile the h is so sugary sweet, and unrealistically perfect in every way that the sex scenes actually made me feel uncomfortable.
The writing is highly descriptive. There are pages of intricate scenery descriptions in great detail, lots of imagery about wind chimes and butterflies, and endless internal musings of the lead characters. It all got a bit repetitive and felt more like a book written to impress, rather than to enjoy, while the actual plot moved at a snail’s pace.
Incidentally, I am amazed at the mass of 4 and 5* reviews that this book has accumulated on Amazon. I think my criticisms are genuine and not unreasonable. This has the promise of a really good story, let down by the overly saccharine treatment of serious emotional issues, characters that display no real depth, factual errors and too much focus on vivid and detailed imagery and scenery descriptions. I read the reviews of others and I feel so much in the minority opinion that I have carefully edited my review several times. I am starting to feel increasingly suspicious about the validity of reviews when they are so overwhelmingly positive with a book that, to me, has such obvious flaws.
In summary (finally!) this is not an awful book. It just felt a bit like something written for a creative writing class. I guess I can say this book was a bit like one of the butterflies I read so much about – very beautiful, but intellectually lacking in depth.
"Cute story full of hope!"
Loved this book so much, it had a lot of aspects I enjoy in a romance in it! This story had a strong heroine, Annie, overcoming great odds who was also relatable and real, a darling yet strong little girl, Taylor, who has an awesome mother to show her how to make it through her tough situation, Riley, the 4 legged companion for Taylor was a great addition, and then Will, the sweet hero who seemed like a man you could truly find in the real world! Will was the perfect hero to come in and complete their little family! It had just enough angst to be believable and was overcome with hardly any crazy drama. I am looking forward to seeing some of the side characters stories!
The performance of the narrator was good as well, easy to understand and she followed the flow of the story nicely.
"I Believe I'm on Love"
I loved this story it was one of the best books by far this year that I have listened too. This book will touch your heart and leave you breathless. If you only buy one book this year I recommend it be this one. I guarantee you will not want to stop listening once you start. This author knows how to draw you in and leave you hooked and I hope that there is more to come in this series because I can't wait to read the next one.
"A Touching Must Read"
Heartfelt Love Story
I dont think I can pick one thing. I enjoyed the entire story.
If I had to pick one, I think it would be Taylor. She had be through so much yet still had the ability to trust and love.
I actually had the privilege of listening to this book on audiable.com I absolutely loved it. The story is one that will touch every person’s heart and make them smile. There was love, heart break, suspense and the spirit of living again. This is definitely a must read.
The characters were all so likeable as if you knew them all personality. And Heron Island is a place that you want to move too and raise your family. Everyone knows everyone and is willing to help you out with any projects or issues that you may have.
Annie Malone is a single mom with dreams of opening her own French café. After purchasing a diner on Main Street on Heron Island; she starts to realize that maybe her dreams are changing; Wind Chime Café is more reality than she realizes. Annie’s daughter is the soul survivor of a school tragedy in DC. Annie believes living her on the island will help her daughter deal with this.
Will Dozier, Navy Seal, is home to settle the estate of his grandparents and sell the Inn that they owned. He is only her for 6 weeks to get it ready but once he is home, the memories of growing up on this island and the love that is in the house, start to unravel Will’s desire to sell. But what would he do with this place when his home is in San Francisco, across the states?
But once Will sees Annie, he wants to know her better. But Annie is very guarded with her heart and does not want to allow just any man into her life for the sake of her daughter and her heart. Will has away of getting what he wants; in no time Will has formed a special friendship with Annie’s daughter Taylor. This maybe just what Taylor needs to over come her fears.
As the weeks continue to countdown, Annie’s past shows up. She is not sure what to do. How will Taylor react? And Will? Will takes the news without letting Annie explain deciding to leave before his leave is up. He has to get back to his life; not the life he thought he could have on Heron Island.
While I was listening to this story, I had tears coming down my face in the car. I cried for Annie, Taylor and Will. The journey that they all have to take to find peace is incredible. And to think that the sound of wind chimes seemed to make it all go away.
I was given a copy of this audiobook for a honest review.
This is a very down to earth story. It deals with several problems going on in the real world right now.
It's about Annie, her daughter Taylor, and Will. Taylor has PTSD from her 2nd grade elementary school which someone came in and shot her whole class room except her, because she was hiding in a broom closet. Will is a Navy Seal who secretly also is dealing with PTSD from a battle in Afganistan.
Annie packed her daughter up from Washington DC and moves to Heron Island, in order to live out her dream of owning a restaurant and to help Taylor heal. Annie's success depends on the future resort to be built in the area.
Will is back home in Heron Island for the first time in 10 years in order to sell his recently deceased Grand Parents inn. When Will finds out the person wanting to buy the inn is a cooperation wanting to tear it down and turn it into a resort. He decides he can't have that and wants his realitor to only sell to someone who will keep it as a inn.
When Will and Annie meet though there is almost an instant connection. Annie is very doubtful though since Will is in the military and lives in California. Grab a copy of this book to fill in all the blanks I have left open. It's worth the read. It will drag you in and take you through a torrent of emotions with the characters and in the end leave you wanting more.
"OK book, horrible narration.."
Ok, I absolutely hate the word predictable but I KNEW the minute Blake Hadley went into his father’s office that Blake was going to be on his way to Maryland to make Annie and Taylor’s lives miserable. And I really wasn’t sure I could put up with that arrogant, egotistical jerk. Between him and Spencer, another jerk, I wasn’t sure which one was worse so I wasn’t even sure I wanted to finish this book. And it was hard to finish. I couldn’t stand Blake, and Annie did everything she could to please him. She became an absolute coward for a while.
I did like Will and Taylor’s back story, both stories were just horrendous. One could certainly see where Will and Taylor’s PTSD came from, and why Annie was always so concerned about Taylor, especially since she was only 8 years old. However, there were times when Annie was so worried about Taylor it became ridiculous. I liked Della, too. She was a great mother-figure for Annie, whose real mother seemed to have been a flake.
There was not an iota of sexual attraction, no thoughts, no feelings, no nothing. But there was a sex scene, which was all too vanilla. Another author who was told “sex sells” so dropped a sex scene in where she thought it would be good. Jeeeez!
And there were the usual swearwords, but not much. Seriously, this author should stick to fantasy. This book wasn’t nearly as good as her Selkie series. I loved all three of those books.
I’m so glad to be done with this book. There was just nothing to it. Other than Blake being in it too long. What a scumbag!
As to the narrator: WOW! She was just awful at doing the men’s voices. It was like there was nothing but women in the story. She did read with some emotion occasionally but that did not make up for the men sounding like girls. And, sometimes she would be so dramatic one second then whispering the next, then so robotic. And, OMG, she did a horrible southern accent for the scumbag Blake. She was pretty awful. Needless to say, I will NOT be listening to this narrator again.
I READ the Selkie trilogy and I’m so glad. If I had listened to the first one I wouldn’t have gone any further. It was a great trilogy, just to READ.
"Love In Highly Unbelievable Circumstances"
Annie Malone, a single mother purchases a café on Heron Island. She intends to make it a high scale restaurant – given the information that a resort is going to be built on this sleepy Island. She also hopes that this quiet, tiny island will be the perfect place for her daughter to recover from a school shooting she survived, on the outskirts of Washington DC.
After the purchase, there is a snafu. The land on which the resort is to be built is family land owned by Will Dozier, a Navy SEAL.
This story is about Will, who would enjoy a summer fling with the new lady in town and Annie, who does not want to have a parade of men coming in and out of her life and affecting her daughter in the way that Annie's mother did.
I found this book very enjoyable. It is a clean romance that touches on topics that are, unfortunately, relevant to our current times. This includes PTSD and others.
Hollis J McCarthy is a solid performer and very talented. I appreciated her narration and will look for her work in the future.
Notes: Nothing to warn about in this book.
*I was given a copy of this book to listen to in exchange for the review above. If you found that my review was helpful in deciding whether this book interests you, would you select "YES" immediately following this paragraph? Also, please consider following me here on audible.com. I have had the privilege of reviewing some excellent books in many genres. Thank you!
Real, Sweet, Love
I loved the tie in to the military and veterans.
Yes. I usually listen while at work, but I had to take it home and finish!
First time I've read/listened to anything from this author and I will buy her next!
"Delightfully simple romance"
No overblown plot, seriously vulgar language or too much sex. This was just a simple romance with decent characters, a couple dogs and a happy ending. Just what I was in the mood for!
Loved the story, the characters of Will,Annie and Taylor and the rest of the residents of Heron Island. Can't wait for the next Wind Chime Book. Sophie Moss is a wonderful author!
"Great story! Hits the mark on current issues."
Sophie Moss wrote a wonderful story. Wanted to keep listening well into the night. Hollis McCarthy's voice was good but occasionally she lost the character's inflections so I had to rewind to see who was speaking.
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