Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Review: On Love's Gentle Shore

Happy Independence Day, everyone!  And happy release day to Liz Johnson!  On Love's Gentle Shore officially releases today and I can't wait for others to read it so we can all chat about how fantastic it is!  And how we all now want to visit PEI!  :)

Fifteen years after she left Prince Edward Island, Natalie O'Ryan had no plans to return. But when her fiance, music producer Russell Jacobs, books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose's Red Door Inn, she sets out to put the finishing touches on the perfect wedding. But she can't possibly prepare for a run-in with Justin Kane--the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay.

Justin's never forgotten Natalie or the music career he always dreamed of pursuing. He'd been prepared to follow her off the island until his dad died and he was left to run the family dairy farm. He's done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him--but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he's been missing.

After Natalie's reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin's property. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin discover the groundwork for forgiveness--and that there may be more than an old friendship between them.

About the Author:
Liz Johnson fell in love with Prince Edward Island the first time she set foot on it. When she's not plotting her next trip to the island, she works as director of marketing for a Christian radio network. She is the author of several novels including The Red Door Inn and Where Two Hearts Meet, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Tucson, Arizona. 

My Review: (are 10 or 15 stars allowed?)
Okay, I just have to say it - I loved this book!!!  It was fantastic!  Im always a huge fan of Liz Johnsons books, but this one may very well be my favorite!  I was so excited for the opportunity to return to Prince Edward Island and the dear characters Ms. Johnson has created there.  From the quirky Ms. Aretha and Jack, to Marie and Seth, to Caden and Adam, I couldnt wait to see how their stories would continue and meet those who would spend time at the Red Door Inn that started it all.

As always, Ms. Johnson has done a superb job with this story!  I love the unique descriptions she uses and how her words so thoroughly draw me into the story.  I could almost see red cliffs, smell the sea spray as Natalie ventured around the island, and the descriptions of Cadens baking still makes me drool!  But more than that, I felt connected to these characters.  I laughed with them and found myself sharing their heartache, too.  I felt their emotions as though they were dear friends, telling me their stories as tears slid down both our faces, or laughter rang in the air.  I fell in love with these characters and the island they inhabit and I very much want to visit PEI some day and walk down the beach, imagining each of them there, sharing the heart of their home with me.  I loved getting to reconnect with the characters from the previous books (which you dont have to read first, but I very highly recommend!) and seeing their stories continue within this new one.  There is a joy within the pages of this book, despite the sometimes difficult topics it addresses, and I smile just looking at the cover, remembering the story found there.  I didnt want to put it down and I definitely didnt want it to end!  I was almost late, because I was determined to finish the last few pages and then left with tears in my eyes at the ending.  It was so perfect!  And if this is the final book in the series (I dont know if there are plans for others or not) then it ended well, though I definitely will not complain about another book!

As already suggested above, I adored these characters!  Natalie ORyan was definitely something of a surprise and I fell in love with her right away.  She is someone Id just like to hug and promise that she is wanted, she is enough.  Much of the story focuses on her learning those very things and I so enjoyed watching her come out of her protective shell and begin truly living again.  I almost cheered a time or two, when the spitfire hiding away came out and lit into Justin!  I loved seeing Natalie be herself and figure out who she is behind the facade shed perfected.  

"Loving someone is kind of like offering forgiveness. 
There's no guarantee that they're not going to hurt you again.
You can't promise perfection. 
But you choose to love and you choose to forgive,
because living in fear of being hurt again is just a facsimile of life."
- Marie Sloane

And Justin Kane is an excellent hero for Natalie!  He didnt put up with any of her attitude and gave back as good as he got.  I loved how he prodded her on, determined that she be herself with him and calling her out on her dishonesty.  And the dialogue between them!  I found myself laughing out loud more than once and wishing I could be there to see Natalies face when he said something completely outrageous!  I also loved the love between them.  Though they havent seen each other in years and there was quite a bit of misunderstanding in that time, there was still a palpable tension that slowly grew throughout the story.  And goodness did they work to earn that ending!  I was alternately cheering them on and bemoaning the idea that it might not work out the way I had hoped.  There were a few times that I was a bit concerned that the authors idea of a happy ending wouldnt match mine.  And I couldnt resist sharing a happy tear or two with the characters as I turned the final page.
Overall, I loved this story and would happily give it more than 5 stars, if they would let me!  

Thank you so much if you took the time to read my review!  I hope you'll consider checking out this wonderful book, and the other two in the series!  As always, there are links below. :)

Have a great and safe Independence Day!

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