“Mandy Monroe was cowering behind a ficus tree near the hostess station when her cell phone rang. Her hands shook as she silenced the phone before it drew the attention of the staff.”

First lines of Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter

A new Denise Hunter is always a treat and Summer by the Tides doesn’t disappoint! Our leading lady, Maddy, begins the book distraught about a break up with her boyfriend and her week gets worse when her dear grandmother goes missing! Compassionate and emotional, Maddy is easy to empathize with and connect to.

Her two sisters join Maddy at her grandmother’s home at the sea and the family tension crackles as they attempt to overcome past betrayals and grief. Family is never simple and it’s intricacies are elegantly handled in this novel. There is no black and white merely perspective and Maddy can see all the different viewpoints so she gets stuck mediating! The reader uncovers the history of the family as it becomes relevant to the modern day story. Blame, guilt and forgiveness are complex topics to be tackled by Christianity but Denise conveys the principles beautifully.

There’s romance in the air but as the back cover gives nothing away neither will I! It is a delight though, full of humour and vulnerability. Each character brought into the story is fleshed out and interesting. At the end, I was sad it isn’t the beginning of a series (as far as I know…)!

From the start, this is a wonderful escape into a seascape full of family drama and love! I thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s five out of five on the en-JOY-ment and I highly recommend it!

From the back cover

When her grandmother goes missing from the family beach house, Maddy and her estranged sisters converge in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma in the home where their family broke apart is a struggle Maddy is not in the mood to face, especially since she’s recovering from her ex-boyfriend’s betrayal.

As the sisters wait for word of their grandmother, they begin to pack up the family belongings—and unpack memories of the idyllic summers of their childhood. But with those memories come long-buried secrets, and Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven. Meanwhile, Gram’s neighbor, Connor Sullivan, seems overly interested in Gram’s whereabouts. Maddy is drawn in by his quick smile and steady gaze in spite of herself.

Undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the family under again, maybe for good this time. As tensions rise, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they’ve become—and Maddy must decide if falling in love again is worth the potential heartbreak.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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