Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Driftwood Lane - A Nantucket Love Story
Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: July 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Romance
Year/Setting: Present day, Nantucket
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: None/Negligible
Denise's Website/Blog: www.denisehunterbooks.com
This is an extremely bittersweet review for me to write. The Nantucket Love Story series has been a sheer joy for me over the years. I first read Surrender Bay back in 2007 and, from then on, I was hooked. The Convenient Groom and Seaside Letters followed, and I found myself always hoping for the next one to fall into my hands. This, however, is the final novel in the series. It’s just as good, if not better, than the previous three – but it literally broke my heart that the Nantucket world with its brilliant blue sea, magnificent lighthouses, and beautiful mystique was bidding me farewell.
In this wonderful romance we meet up with Meridith Ward in St. Louis, Missouri. She’s surrounded by frightened people inside a restaurant called Delmonico, and there’s certainly a very good reason why paranoia and anxiety are beaming from their eyes. You see, Meridith is a safety inspector who is finding violation after violation, causing sweat to congeal on the frightened owner’s face. What saves the poor man is a phone call that comes through on Meridith’s cell phone. The caller is an attorney from Nantucket, letting her know that her father and his young wife perished in a boating accident. Not only has Meridith inherited their bed and breakfast, but she’s also won guardianship of her father’s three kids – her siblings.
Not knowing what to do, Meridith rushes to Nantucket and stares up at the B&B that is literally falling apart. There are many things that she will need to pay for in order to get the old monstrosity up to code so she can sell it. Not only that, but she’s engaged back in St. Louis to a slightly boring, uptight accountant, who will most definitely not want his life "messed up" by three kids he’s never even met. The only thing Meridith can do is wait for the children’s uncle to show up so that she can turn over guardianship to him and leave the world of Nantucket behind. She wants nothing more than to get back to her ordered, controlled, safe existence.
The kids heartily agree; they don’t want this strange "sister" anywhere near them. Max, Noelle, and Ben want their uncle to take them, but they can’t get in touch with him because he’s traveling across the country on his Harley. When Meridith finds out about this, she begins to wonder if the uncle could even be a proper "father" to these kids.
Jake Ward stops in his travels, reads his email from his niece, and his heart breaks. He can’t believe his sister is gone and that her kids are all alone. He’s scared for them. He doesn’t think that this woman – Meridith – will be a good parent to them, and he rushes back to Nantucket to straighten everything out. When he arrives, he’s told that the will is iron-clad; his sister and her husband left the guardianship of the kids to this woman from St. Louis, and the only way Jake has a shot to get them is to find out something about the woman to incriminate her – prove to a judge that she’s the wrong choice. Going undercover as a contractor who will "fix up" the B&B so that Meridith can sell it, Jake tries his best to find a reason why the woman can’t take care of his nieces and nephews.
The story that ensues is heartwarming, sweet, funny, and beyond well-written. I felt bad for Meridith. She is a girl whose father "dumped" her and her mother and went on to marry a younger woman. Unfortunately, Meridith’s mom suffered from a mental illness which meant that she had no stability growing up. Her life was so unsettled that she doesn’t want her siblings to have to go through a life like that with a wayward uncle who never even seems to call or check in to see if they’re all right. She’s also a bit worried about Jake, the contractor she hired. There’s something about him that just isn’t right, and the fear that grows inside her over the way he makes her feel scares her to death.
I can’t express to you readers how wonderful this whole series is; from the beauty of the landscape to the big hearted characters – this author has always, from day one and book one, offered us gorgeous tales that make the soul feel good about life. Ms. Hunter, I wish I could tell you personally what your books have meant to me. And, readers…go out and buy this series; set them up right beside the Austen novels that grace your bookshelf. Believe me, that’s where they deserve to be!
Until next time, Amy
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