Title: Summer on Sunshine Bay
By: Debbie Mason
ISBN: 9781538725313 (ISBN10: 1538725312)
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Welcome to Sunshine Bay, where the joys of summer last all year round.
Lila Rosetti Sinclair returns to Sunshine Bay a bundle of nerves. After being gone for years, sharing the news that she’s engaged—to a man her mother has never met—is going to be difficult to navigate. But when her fiancé David surprises her with an engagement party at Windemere, the upscale inn his parents recently purchased and that just may put her family’s restaurant, La Dolce Vita, out of business, Lila’s got a whole new set of problems.
Eva Rosetti is so ecstatic to finally have her daughter home that she pushes aside her misgivings about having to come face-to-face with Lila’s father again. That is until he sweeps into town and feelings Eva thought far behind her resurface….
With a family business to save and a wedding to plan, Eva and Lila’s reunion is more than either bargained for, but with a little luck and a whole lot of support from friends and family, it may just turn out to be the best summer of their lives. (Goodreads)
I must say that Debbie Mason has hit it out of the ball park AGAIN!!! I am always swept up in her story-telling and immersed in the small town being featured as if I were actually there. I love that when I am reading fiction!
Summer on Sunshine Bay is all about Lila Rosetti … of the Rosetti clan. And let me tell you, the Rosetti clan is comprised of a number of strong, independent women who do not believe in happily ever afters and marriage – well – except Lila that is. So when Lila returns to Sunshine Bay to introduce her fiancé David (a Matt Damon look-a-like, if Lila says so herself) to her family – there are fireworks, hugs, and many other emotions from the Rosetti clan. Actually though, as they navigate the introductions, it comes to light that David’s family has just purchased Windermere, an upscale inn that will host the engagement party as well as cause challenges for her family run restaurant, La Dolce Vita – and it may even run it out of business! Oh my goodness!!!!
We also throw into the mix that Lila’s father, James, comes to Sunshine Bay to celebrate this auspicious occasion from an invitation extended by David’s family (and NOT his own daughter). We quickly realize that the relationship between James and Eva (Lila’s mother) is fraught with unresolved emotions… one wonders where that will lead.
As Lila navigates the introduction of families and the engagement party (where the only invited Rosetti is the bride to be and her father), Lila learns of the hard times La Dolce Vita is having and how the Windermere is changing the landscape of Sunshine Bay – and not in a good way. Lila must also sort through her feelings about her upcoming nuptials, which is not an easy task when al old flame enters the picture.
I was captivated by the descriptions of Sunshine Bay. So much so that I would love to take a vacation there! And do not get me started on the MANY instances where we are introduced to the food that is served at La Dolce Vita. I am sure I gained 5 kilograms just reading the story:
“She’d taken care of the appetizers: prosciutto-and-arugula crostini, fried calamari, and fried zucchini blossoms. Eva had already made the lobster-stuffed ravioli and the brandy and plum tomato sauce with piccolo gamberetti for the pasta course. She had the entrée, Pollo Piemonte – breaded chicken breast stuffed with broccoli and goat and mozzarella cheeses with a roasted red pepper cream sauce…”
I had to do research to learn all about Gamberetti -> it is a traditional Italian dish originating from Venice. The dish is usually made with a combination of shrimps, butter, heavy cream, garlic, minced parsley, salt, and pepper. The shrimps are shelled, deveined, seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked over high heat in butter.
So back to the book review. I find that while the number of characters were more than I traditionally like, with a bit of diligence on my part (i.e. keeping a diagram of who is related to whom) – all worked out. I was able to keep track of the characters in the beginning and as the story progressed, I did not need to look at the diagram so often.
The main storyline was predictable, but in a good way. There were a number of side stories which added spice to the story as well as some complexity. Kept me on my toes. All I can say is – those Rosetti women – love it when a family sticks together through thick and thin.
The journey that is Summer in Sunshine Bay is definitely one that is worth taking, especially for those that like contemporary romance stories. If you like to chuckle a bit with your romance, then I highly suggest picking up this latest Debbie Mason story and get reading… you will not regret it.