There's a reason why Mariah Stewart's Chesapeake Diaries books make the New York Times bestseller lists. They're addicting. All of the women in my family read this series, and I think I may actually have been the last one to finish the latest romance, At the River's Edge. This seventh book in the series is just as compelling as the earlier books. They're hard to put down.
Each book opens and closes with Grace Sinclair's diary entries. The owner and editor of the St. Dennis Gazette chronicles the arrivals, business openings, and romances in St. Dennis, Maryland, a tourist town on Chesapeake Bay. The townspeople are awaiting the wedding of Jesse Enright and Brooke Bowers. The engaged couple is pleased when Jesse's sister Sophie shows up in town. A lawyer like the others in her family, she flees to St. Dennis after she catches her boyfriend in the backseat of his car with another woman. Once she arrives in town, her brother and grandfather urge her to stay and join the family practice, Enright & Enright. But, Sophie has her eye on a rundown building. It had always been her dream to run a restaurant.
However, Jason Bowers had his eye on that same building. After his brother's death in Iraq, Jason sold his landscaping business in Florida, and moved to St. Dennis to be near his sister-in-law Brooke and her son. He's started another landscaping company, and even has a major project recreating the gardens at Sophie's grandfather's. He likes the looks of the latest Enright to show up in town, and thinks he finally met the woman of his dreams. But, neither Jason nor Sophie know they're trying to buy the same property in St. Dennis.
Mariah Stewart's St. Dennis is a charming town that continues to draw tourists, and readers. The townspeople and new arrivals, all the local shops, are appealing and welcoming. Each time a new novel comes out, it's a return to a comfortable community and old friends. The romances are always between strong independent women and equally strong interesting men. Maybe St. Dennis is a little like Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average". And, really? That's not so bad in a comfortable romantic series.
Because I'm participating in a TLC Blog tour for At the River's Edge, one lucky reader can win a copy of the book. Email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read "Win At the River's Edge." Please include your name and mailing address. Let's make this a Valentine's Day giveaway, and I'll announce the winner on Friday morning. You'll have just until 5 a.m. on Feb. 14 to enter the giveaway. Entries from the U.S. only, please.
Mariah Stewart's website is www.mariahstewart.com
At the River's Edge by Mariah Stewart. Ballantine Books. 2014. ISBN 9780345538420 (paperback), 423p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received a copy in order to participate in a TLC blog tour.