I seriously loved, the second book in this series, PARADISE COVE, so maybe my expectations were just a little too high for SANDCASTLE BEACH. Jenny Holiday’s writing is undeniably charming, but this book fell a little flat. An enemies to friends to lovers book, SANDCASTLE BEACH follows Maya and Law as they go from bickering pains-in-each-other’s-butts to begrudging friends to lovers.
Starting with what I enjoyed, Ms. Holiday knows how to write an engaging book. Her dialogue and character development always sparkle, and this book was no different. Both main characters had depth and intrigue, which kept me reading even when the plot was plodding. I loved being back in this small, coastal Canadian town with these fantastic characters.
I think the crux of the problem was the repetitive nature of the spats between Maya and Law. They both realized they didn’t completely hate each other pretty early in the book. Still, their arguing continued and seemed petty and juvenile after a while, especially on Maya’s end because it turns out that Law was pretty clueless about their whole argument. I don’t think the slow burn nature of this book helped in that regard; at least if they had added the intimacy to their relationship earlier, it would have given them more to discuss than their weird feud that had flimsy roots, to begin with.
Additionally, this book felt like much more of Maya’s and Law’s journeys as professionals and individuals than an actual romance. As I mentioned, the burn is slow, and much of the character development is accomplished individually, not with the other person, making the chemistry feel off. I also really disliked the addition of the play’s star as a foil/generally crappy guy. I don’t think he added much to the plot and, really, just took away from the romance.
Overall, I thought the book was a fine way to spend a few hours but didn’t knock my socks off by any means. I am still a huge fan of Jenny Holiday, and I hope this isn’t the last we see of this small town!
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**