From the desk of Katie Jackson:
As summertime meanders through our calendars each year, with its slower pace and often unbearable heat, it is natural to dream of the refreshing breeze and the tranquil sounds of the perpetual waves at the seashore. A Seaside Summer invites readers on a soothing journey to the shore through a trio of sweet romance novellas in the latest addition to the Timeless Romance Anthology® collection from Mirror Press.
“The New Countess” by Josi S. Kilpack explores how open communication and common goals can lead to trust and true companionship. Lord and Lady Avery have entered into a marriage of convenience after their respective spouses’ untimely deaths. The earl needs a countess to manage his household and his reputation and to raise his motherless daughter. His new wife, left penniless by her late husband,
needs security and a father for her sons. Theirs is a cordial and distant relationship, but words left unspoken will eventually erupt. “Distance was something she’d accepted as a normal part of marriage, but discord was very different and she did not want that.” (541) Will a family holiday to a cottage by the sea be the change of scenery they need to create the peaceful life together that they each never dared to hope for?
“Mishaps and Memories” by Martha Keyes illustrates the importance of first impressions as well as the value of thoughtful kindness to others, no matter their status. Judith Jardine, daughter of a vicar, and James Carlisle, son of a wealthy merchant, had an unfortunate and memorable introduction at a society event. “No one had been able to take her seriously after Mr. Carlisle’s mockery.” (1194) Judith’s one chance to make a favorable match had been ruined by his cruel thoughtlessness. When their paths cross again at the seaside, under vastly different circumstances, Judith seizes the opportunity to turn the tables on a now-vulnerable and memory-less James, aiming for some harmless revenge while she teaches the insufferable gentleman a valuable lesson in humility. As they become better acquainted with each other in their simple surroundings, will their increasingly tender feelings change once the truth is revealed?
“Moonlight Summer” by Heather B. Moore demonstrates how challenging times in life can not only strengthen a person’s resolve to live as they wish, while weakening their care for others’ judgments, but also make their pleasant affinities all the more joyful in contrast. Miss Dorothea Atkinson’s life has changed dramatically after the loss of her father. Her mother’s remarriage brings with it a new family and new expectations. Simply put, “Dottie was now an inconvenience.” (2218) Since a society scandal and family tragedy ten years before, Oscar Rosewell has lived in relative seclusion and contentment until the day he meets Dottie on the shore. “Their conversation had been frank, but also friendly. The fact that she’d come to the darkened seashore, like he had, to seek quiet and solace was … intriguing.” (2595) When complications threaten their congenial friendship, will their painful pasts compel them to choose a new path?
My single complaint—as is often the case when I read enjoyable novellas—is that they are not long enough for my liking, but each of these stories was delightful in unique ways. In “The New Countess,” the tentative evolution of the couple’s relationship was made sweeter by their authentic feelings. My favorite part of Josi S. Kilpack’s inspirational tales is always the depth of her relatable characters. “Mishaps and Memories” contained the thought-provoking lessons and witty dialogue that I consider the hallmarks of a fantastic Martha Keyes story. And I enjoyed the contemplative yet realistic feel of the protagonists’ interactions in “Moonlight Summer,” including the subtle historical details that distinguish a Heather B. Moore plot. For each of the tempestuous couples in these stories, “I cannot think of anything more restorative than the sea.” (722)
A Seaside Summer traverses the rocky shore of romantic attachments to reach the serenity of happily-ever-after.
5 out of 5 Stars
- A Seaside Summer: Timeless Regency Collection (Book 17), by Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, and Heather B. Moore
- Mirror Press (August 24, 2021)
- Trade paperback, eBook, and audiobook (307) pages
- ISBN: 978-1952611186
We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image courtesy of Mirror Press © 2021; text Katie Jackson © 2021, austenprose.com