An emotional story of three estranged sisters... Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter (Review)

Welcome! I've been a fan of this author for some time and have been
anticipating this newest release from her. Read my full review below...

Summer by the Tides
By Denise Hunter
Christian Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 302 Pages
May 21st 2019 by Thomas Nelson


From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom (now a beloved Hallmark Original movie) comes a heartfelt story of family secrets, forgiveness, and unexpected romance.

Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe's love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram's maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.

As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven--nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy's heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they've become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.

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My Review

SUMMER BY THE TIDES is a highly anticipated release for Christian romance fans. Hunter does an excellent job with her fully-fleshed, complex characters and a story that will pull on readers' hearts from beginning to end.

I knew after the first chapter that this story was going to be quite an emotional ride. The story mostly focuses on Maddy and Connor and the romance that develops between them (with plenty of chemistry and swoon-worthy moments), but it's about so much more than that. It's about fear, mistakes, forgiveness, and family. Maddy is stuck in the middle of her two older and estranged sisters. With all three of them staying at their grandmother's beach house where all the trouble started, they end up rehashing old grudges. The hope is that somehow they can find reconciliation, but it's a long ways off.

I really liked these characters, particularly Connor. He easily won me over and was the bright spot in all the mess. The other sisters had so many issues and fears and it was hard sometimes to always feel empathy for them when they were acting so childish and giving in to anger and fear so easily. A lot of it was hypocritical too - they were so judgmental of each other but not willing to change themselves. I particularly had issues with Emma (did she ever think that maybe her sister saved her from a cheater and terrible husband - and she's remarried, but can't seem to focus on that instead of her past?), and with Maddy who was so afraid and in denial that she was always sabotaging herself. I think the story felt heavy and more dramatic with these sisters than what I was expecting, which made it feel a tad overdone. Thank goodness for Connor and for the girls' grandma. I really enjoyed the romance and the inspirational aspects that lightened the story and brought some good introspective moments.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I enjoyed this book, particularly the romantic storyline, and am looking forward to more from this author.

Content: Some innuendo and references to affairs, but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JustReadTours, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.

About the Author

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest.

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