Author: Mariah Stewart
Publisher: Pocket Books
Part of a Series: Chesapeake Diaries
Type of book: St. Dennis Maryland, contemporary, sweet slow romance, domestic violence, protection, healing, family, community, secrets, wedding, friendship
Year it was published: 2018
Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.
Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a sous chef at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point just over the bridge in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.
But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever.
Main characters would be Chrissie Jenkins, a young woman who ran away from an abusive relationship to St. Dennis to heal her wounds so to speak. Chrissie is sweet, talented but at the same time a bit reticent and is only starting to get her life back, so to speak. She is also an extremely talented chef and is loyal to her family, although she does tend to be lonely. Jared Chandler is a friend of Owen, who happens to be Chrissie's cousin. Jared is a playboy and is devoted to deep diving, but at the same time he begins to open up and tries to be Chrissie's friend. I really liked him in this story and often wished that more men like him would exist in real life. Other characters would be Ruby, a feisty 101 year old great-grandmother to Chrissie, Owen and his sister Liz. Ruby has a touch of supernatural but isn't afraid and often protects her own. Cass, Owen's love interest as well as Liz also play a big role in the story in helping Chrissie feel good about herself and I loved learning new facts about them, such as the fact that Cass is a makeup junkie.
Its possible to heal
The story is written in third person narrative, mainly from Chrissie's point of view, although Jared also told things from his point of view once in a while. While I wouldn't call most of the stories as lighthearted, they didn't deal with serious topics as this one does: that of domestic violence and its impact. As in previous novels, I imagine that DUNE DRIVE might be a healing novel, a novel of hope for those who have lost hope. The story begins when Chrissie finally starts healing from her wounds and as far as I recall, DUNE DRIVE also heavily focuses a lot on female friendships and how important they are to a woman. The romantic aspect of the story is not the main attraction,but instead the main attraction would be Chrissie's journey to healing thanks to her family and the community of St. Dennis and Cannonball Island.
(From a letter)
Mariah Stewart is the award winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid teh rolling hills fo Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on hefr next novel. Visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.
I don't have words to express on how special DUNE DRIVE became to me; my very first Mariah Stewart book was titled AT THE RIVER'S EDGE, which is about Sophie and her determination to go against her family's wishes in becoming a chef and starting a restaurant titled Blossoms, which is named after the three women with flower names. Revisiting Sophie and Blossoms as well as hearing the familiar tales of gardenia scent and of ghosts haunting a house is such a joy to experience within this wonderful story. Besides the reminiscing aspect, the current story of Chrissie and Jared is indescribable as well; like in previous novels, I loved the slowness of relationship that the two had, loved how Jared took things slowly with Chrissie and never forced her to do what she didn't want to do. Just so the readers know, this book has no shrinking violets that depend on a man to save them. I did feel a bit disappointed that certain plot elements weren't resolved, namely one of the characters' pregnancies, and I felt disappointed that I didn't visit the exclusive illegal restaurant in Cannonball Island. Once I got a little past the first chapter (I felt that there were some mistakes and some repetition,) I fell in love with the quaint and memorable St. Dennis all over again. Just like in previous novels, DUNE DRIVE has amazing women in terms of Chrissie and her great-grandmother Ruby as well as men you'd love to meet. Now some bad news: I have to wait for 2019 to hopefully read her third novel in The Hudson Sisters and even longer to hopefully read the 13th Chesapeake Diary entry.
This is for a book tour arranged by the publicist
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)