The Inn at Eagle Point - Sherryl Woods
It's been years since Abby O'Brien Winters set foot in Chesapeake Shores. The Maryland town her father built has too many sad memories and Abby too few spare moments, thanks to her demanding Wall Street career, the crumbling of her marriage and energetic twin daughters. Then one panicked phone call from her youngest sister brings her racing back home to protect Jess's dream of renovating the charming Inn at Eagle Point.
But saving the inn from foreclosure means dealing not only with her own fractured family, but also with Trace Riley, the man Abby left ten years ago. Trace can be a roadblock to her plans…or proof that second chances happen in the most unexpected ways.
This was my first novel to read from Sherryl Woods. I have to say that I was not disappointed. I got this book through Goodreads swap. I had some books picked out, and then the gal I was getting the books from had over 200 listed so I had to pick some that simply sounded good - to get better shipping rate, of course. So I saw that she had both The Inn at Eagle Point and Harbor Lights, so I pounced on it. And, disappointment did not ensue - I am so excited to find a new good author. Ok, so she's not new - but she's new to me.
The Inn at Eagle Point is the first in the Chesapeake Shores series which revolves around the family of O'Briens. The basic story of the family is that after five kids and basically being a single mom, Megan (the mother) decided to enact a desperate attempt to get her husband's attention by leaving. Mick (the husband) then decided to be stubborn and not compromise or go after her - ending in a divorce that neither of them really wanted but that they were both too stubborn to admit. Fifteen years later, their children (Abby, Kevin, Connor, Bree, and Jess) all have family issues to deal with and have scattered from their home in Chesapeake Shores. The Inn at Eagle Point revolves around Jess and Abby, the youngest and oldest - and how they, together, decide to save Jess's favorite Inn. By remodeling and renovating it, they work to turn it into a profitable business. The romance of the story centers on Abby and a long-lost love interest Trace, who is acting as the manager of the bank who holds the loan on the inn.
Though compared to most families, I live in one large, crazy family, I have to say that I would join this one in an instant. I loved the family dynamics created by Sherryl Woods. Each character has their own personality, quirks, and sense of humor. I realize that you are probably saying, "Well, of course Hannah, they are all different characters." But a lot of times in books with such a large family or a large group of people, the characters either get blurred or the focus is too much on one person or the other, and you don't get the whole picture. Woods did a great job in not favoring one character in a way that sacrifices the family dynamics. Having read all three novels, I can say that each one centers on a different sibling in a way that each person adds to the whole family. And though you do not see all the personalities at once, you get to know each character in the setting that is their family. Woods builds on the foundation already laid in the beginning books with each "main character" from the previous novels also playing a part in the later books. In each novel, you have one more sibling coming home to Chesapeake Shores and staying - so the family gets larger, but the dynamics stay the same. Abby is as much herself in the last novel as she was in the first. To me, that was so enjoyable because the characters I got to know and love in the first novel were still present in the last one (as opposed to the first novel's main characters only being minor characters later).
On to Abby and Trace.... I have to say that Sherryl Woods writes a convincing romance. I enjoyed the concept that these were adults falling in love. As opposed to a lot of young adult fiction that I read (and enjoy), these were people who have lived life. They've loved and lost, and they know what love is. To me, the romance and love made more sense and seemed very realistic. The characters come with baggage - I mean, in real life, who doesn't have baggage? But it is that baggage that I could relate to and that made each character a whole person instead of a one-dimensional view of a person. I loved Abby and Trace - I felt for both of them, and I was routing for them to get together. The story was just a well-written, fun romance.
Ultimately, I gave this novel a 4/5 because I loved it! It was a wonderful romantic comedy that I read in one afternoon. I had to buy the next book (just in time for the read-a-thon) the next day, as I did not want my interaction with the O'Brien family to end. I loved the family dynamics, and the comedy that comes from daily interactions and people's quirks. I believe that if I met this family in the airport, I would be able to pick out who was who and "I've heard so much about you." It did not deserve a rare 5 from me I recommend it to anyone who enjoys romantic comedies. Believe me, it's a whole lot better than the latest chick flick out in theaters. It's like watching You've Got Mail for the first time.