Barbara Delinsky – Sweet Salt Air: A Novel

36. Sweet Salt Air: A Novel by Barbara Delinsky (2013)
Length: 404 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 13 July 2016
Finished: 18 July 2016
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 July 2016
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

On Quinnipeague Island – just off the coast of Maine – hearts open up under the summer stars and secrets float in the sweet salt air. Nicole and Charlotte had once been the best of friends. Spending summers together at Nicole’s island home off the coast of Maine was an idyllic time for both of them, but sometimes memories – no matter how sweet they are – cannot last. Too many years and too many secrets have begun to color the women’s friendship and have succeeded in keeping them apart.

Charlotte is a successful travel writer who spends most of her time on the road. She is single, but is happy living as she does – on the road and out of a suitcase. Nicole is a food blogger who keeps house in Philadelphia; and she has been happily married to her surgeon husband Julian for the past ten years. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she decides to invite Charlotte back for one final summer, to the place where the women had spent so many idyllic summers together – Quinnipeague, Maine.

To Nicole’s mind, this could prove to be the perfect partnership between them. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for engaging people – talking to them and making friends with everyone she meets. Nicole could use her own expertise to interview the locals. So, dearly missing a genuine connection with her former best friend, Charlotte eagerly accepts Nicole’s invitation.

Yet what both women don’t realize is that they are each holding on to secrets that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could possibly destroy her marriage, but it could also help save her husband’s life. For Charlotte, the truth could ultimately cost her Nicole’s friendship, but the revelation could also give her a second chance to find love again. And Charlotte’s second chance for love may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own.

First of all, let me say that I genuinely enjoy reading anything by Barbara Delinsky – she certainly can write an intriguing story and creates well-developed, sympathetic characters. Having said that, I must also admit that Ms. Delinsky has a tendency to be a bit of a hit-or-miss author for me. Perhaps I have mentioned this before, but some of her work seems slightly over-written and tremendously – if minutely – detailed.

This particular story was certainly interesting and an enjoyable reading experience for me. However, I would also say that it was slightly longer than I thought that it needed to be to tell the story. In my opinion though, this story was still well worth reading. I would still give this book a definite A!

A! – (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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Barbara Delinsky – The Secret Between Us

12. The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky (2008)
Length: 431 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 7 February 2015
Finished: 9 February 2015
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 2 February 2015
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

As Deborah Monroe and her teenage daughter, Grace, are driving home from a party that Grace attended; the unthinkable happens. Their car is in an accident; striking a man who is running in the dark. Although sixteen-year-old Grace was the one at the wheel, Deborah sends her daughter home before the police arrive, determined to shoulder the blame for the accident herself.

Deborah’s rash decision, made in an attempt to protect Grace, quickly takes on a life of its own. Her decision soon morphs into a deception, one that ultimately threatens the special bond between mother and daughter. In The Secret Between Us, Barbara Delinsky explores the limits of personal responsibility – responsibility of a mother to a daughter, of a daughter to a father, and of a husband to a wife.

Once again, Ms. Delinsky has delivered a riveting, superbly crafted family story. This book was absolutely great. I find that Ms. Delinsky is wonderful at creating nuanced family relationships and dramatic plots. I do like reading books that deal with secrets and deceptions, and how such things can detrimentally affect the family dynamics. I give The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky an A+!

A+! – (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Barbara Delinsky – Suddenly

92. Suddenly by Barbara Delinsky (1993)
Length: 438 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 24 September 2014
Finished: 26 September 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 16 August 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past. 

In the idyllic little town of Tucker, Vermont, life flows at a slower pace for everyone. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the lives of thirty-nine-year-old pediatrician Paige Pfeiffer and her colleagues. However when Mara O’Neill, Paige’s medical partner and best friend since college, inexplicably takes her own life, the consequences of that one irrevocable act shatters Paige’s peaceful life, and throws the lives of the three other doctors who practiced with her into absolute chaos. 

For Angie Bigelow, grieving Mara’s death becomes the final straw in the disintegration of her once well-organized – and ostensibly happy – home and marriage. Peter Grace, whose relationship with Mara was much more complicated than he admits publicly, is left with a sense of desolation at her death. He has difficulty coping with his feelings of grief and feels a growing discontentment with life; a feeling which has its roots in his youth. 

Paige deals with her own feelings of loss and deep sadness by temporarily caring for Mara’s newly-adopted baby daughter. As she slowly comes to terms with her grief, Paige clings to the hope that, in due time, she’ll understand why Mara chose to end her life. And that her orderly life will eventually return. 

What Paige hadn’t counted on were the unexpected pleasures that often come with change. In the wake of such a tragedy, Paige never realized that she would ultimately discover true meaning and purpose in her own life; including the touch of a man who offers Paige things she never thought she wanted. But before she can allow herself to fully embrace a future she never imagined, Paige must let go of the past and learn to trust her new found happiness. 

Overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book. It was a relatively quick read for me, and was very well-written. The story featured a wide variety of well-developed characters, and was written with a true understanding of the complexities of human nature and the intricacies of relationships. 

This wasn’t necessarily my favorite book by Barbara Delinsky, but it certainly was well worth reading anyway. I give Suddenly an A!  

A! – (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Barbara Delinsky – While my Sister Sleeps

46. While my Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky (2009)
Length: 326 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 12 April 2014
Finished: 15 April 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 9 April 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

The Snow sisters – Molly and Robin – are as close as two sisters can possibly be. Like most sisters, the women share a bond that has sustained them through the good times and the bad. Throughout their childhood, and now as adults, the women’s love for each other and their friendship has endured, and is just as strong as ever. 

Their careers are flourishing – Molly is a horticulturist and Robin is a world-class runner – and they are both in the prime of their lives. So when Molly receives the news that Robin has suffered a massive heart attack, she couldn’t be more shocked. At the hospital, the Snow family is given the grim prognosis: Robin may never regain consciousness.

As Robin’s parents and siblings struggle to cope, the complex nature of their relationship is put to the ultimate test. Molly has always lived in Robin’s shadow and her feelings for her sister have run the gamut, from love to resentment and back again. In fact, the last time the sisters spoke, they argued. Now, however, there is so much more at stake. 

Under such devastating circumstances, Molly’s parents begin to fold, and her brother retreats into a cool reserve that threatens his own family. So, it’s up to Molly to make the tough decisions, and she soon makes discoveries that shatter some of her most cherished beliefs about the sister she thought she knew.

Once again, New York Times bestselling author Barbara Delinsky has created a masterful family portrait, filled with thought-provoking ideas about the nature of life itself, how emotions influence the decisions we make, and how letting go can sometimes be the hardest thing to do and also the greatest expression of love all at the same time.

While I will admit that a few of Barbara Delinsky’s books that I’ve read in the past may not have been her best work – at least in my opinion – I would give While my Sister Sleeps a definite A+! I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In my opinion, Barbara Delinsky has once again created characters that are absolutely realistic and easy to relate to, people who the reader can’t help but care for as they suffer through their various trials and tribulations. I’m certainly looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.  

A+! – (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Barbara Delinsky – The Summer I Dared: A Novel

117. The Summer I Dared: A Novel by Barbara Delinsky (2004)
The Canaan Trilogy Book 1
Length: 605 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 25 December 2013
Finished: 28 December 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 22 August 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

What happens after the moment when your life is forever changed? This is the question that haunts Julia, Noah, and Kim – the only survivors of a devastating boating accident off the coast of Maine, that claimed the lives of nine other people. What follows is an emotionally intricate story of three lives irrevocably changed by a single tragic accident.

Julia, a forty-year-old wife and mother, has always taken the path of least resistance. Careful to never shake up the status quo, she has always done exactly what others expected of her. Characterized by her controlling family and increasingly distant husband as “loyal” and “obedient”; in the aftermath of her brush with death, Julia suddenly realizes that there is more to her – and to the world around her – than she ever imagined.

Feeling strangely connected to Noah, the brooding, divorced lobsterman who helped save her life, and to Kim, a twenty-one-year-old whose role in the accident and subsequent muteness are a mystery, Julia begins to explore the unique possibilities offered by the quiet island of Big Sawyer, Maine. Suddenly, the things that once seemed so critical lose significance, and things that seemed inconsequential, now take on a whole new meaning and importance. With each passing moment, each fresh discovery, Julia grows ever more sure that – after coming face-to-face with death – she deserves more from life.

Overall, I found this book to be quite good. The story was somewhat predictable – and I may have learned much more than I actually ever wanted to know about certain subjects – but other than that, I liked it. I give this book an A! and hope to read more from Barbara Delinsky in the future.

A! – (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Barbara Delinsky – First Things First

46. First Things First by Barbara Delinsky (1985)
Harlequin Temptation Series Book 87
Length: 219 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 3 June 2013
Finished: 5 June 2013
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 25 May 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Barbara Delinsky as an author.

Chelsea Ross was devoted to finding missing children. When she is hired by wealthy socialite Beatrice London to locate Beatrice’s son, she is initially very surprised. Samuel Prescott London is not Chelsea’s typical runaway, he is a forty-year-old business executive! 

Discovering Samuel’s hideaway outside Cancun, Mexico, was easy for Chelsea. Dealing with love at first sight was not. Samuel’s tanned and muscular physique, his easy-going manner, his unmistakable virility instantly captivates Chelsea. And when he touches her, Chelsea knows she has finally found what she has been looking for all her life. But love is easy…when you’re in paradise.

I have to say that I usually like Barbara Delinsky as an author. She is perhaps one of my favorite authors. However, I found that First Things First by Barbara Delinsky was not really my cup of tea. 

I realize that this book was perhaps one of Barbara Delinsky’s earlier books, and that it was written under the Harlequin Temptation Series as well – however, the plot was definitely more romantic than I expected. I’m not generally a ‘strictly romance’ reader – and I’ve never read any Harlequin romances before – however, I will give First Things First by Barbara Delinsky a strong B+! I will certainly read more by this author in the future, but perhaps not right away.

B+! – (89-94%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Barbara Delinsky – Looking For Peyton Place

36. Looking For Peyton Place by Barbara Delinsky (2005)

Length: 358 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 27 April 2012
Finished: 2 May 2012
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 26 April 2012
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Barbara Delinsky is a very good author in my opinion.

For Annie Barnes, going back to her hometown of Middle River, New Hampshire, meant facing truths long buried in the past; some of which she had buried herself. But it is a journey that she knows she must make, if she is ever to put to rest, once and for all, her misgivings about her mother’s recent death.

To the outsider, Middle River is a picture-perfect New Hampshire town. But not to Annie Barnes. She grew up there and knows all its secrets; as did her idol Grace Metalious – author of the shocking novel Peyton Place, which laid bare a small town’s sexual secrets for all to see. Although Grace had actually lived in a nearby town, the residents of Middle River had always believed that she had used them and their their little town as the inspiration for her revolutionary novel. Some even insisted that Annie’s own grandmother served as the model for Grace’s most scandalous character. With those rumors and whispers about Peyton Place haunting her childhood, Annie found herself identifying so closely with Grace that she picked up everything and moved out of Middle River in order to start a whole new life for herself in Washington, D. C.

It’s a good life too. Annie Barnes is now a bestselling author, reaching that level on the strength of only three novels. It has given Annie a confidence that she never believed she had growing up in Middle River, New Hampshire. Her attitude has the townspeople on edge when they learn she has come back into town for a rather lengthy visit. Everyone; including Annie’s two sisters, believes that she has come back specifically to write about them.

Although she is amused by the discomfort that her return causes the town, Annie has no intention of writing a novel about the town or its people. It is her mother’s death -under suspicious circumstances – that has drawn Annie back. Soon her probing investigations begin to make people nervous, and when she discovers evidence of harmful pollutants emanating from the local paper mill – she finds herself at odds with almost all the townspeople. She is amazed at how unfazed they, as well as members of her own family are by the possiblity that toxins are seeping through the town. Because the mill is the town’s only employer, they are frightened of what could happen if Annie digs any deeper. That fear ultimately turns ugly. But Annie is on a mission; and with the legacy of Grace Metalious to guide her, she will come face-to-face with the decades of secrets and lies that Middle River hides. Annie will eventually find the strength to help heal the wounded town, as well as her own wounded family.

I did enjoy this book; it was very well-written and quite lyrical in places; however, I thought that it focused a bit too much on Grace Metalious and the writing of Peyton Place, so that it was slightly rushed towards the end. I give this book a B+!

B+! – (89-94%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight