I wanted to love this book, y’all. It has a gorgeous cover, and the synopsis seemed right in my wheelhouse—
All that Meghan Gray has left of her beloved Pappy is his cottage on the edge of the shimmering Atlantic Ocean. Longing to feel close to her grandfather, she returns to the golden sands of Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks for the summer, clutching the manilla envelope he gifted her tightly in her hand.
On her first night on the sun-drenched island, she meets brooding Toby Meyers, a local businessman. She might feel lost without Pappy, but looking into Toby’s sparkling blue eyes feels like coming home.
The beach house where she spent her childhood is just how she remembers: a shingled bungalow with two rocking chairs on the porch and shutters on the windows. As Meghan strolls along the sand with Toby, breathing in the salty air, she realizes she is making new memories…
When Meghan opens the envelope, she finds a black-and-white photograph of someone she doesn’t recognize. If she can find out its meaning, and why Pappy gave it to her, she’ll unlock a secret that has been hidden for decades. The truth has the power to change everything Meghan and Toby thought they knew about their lives—and it will either bring them together, or break their hearts…
First of all, whomever wrote the blurb has obviously not read the book, because the black and white photograph in the envelope is of Meghan herself and her beloved grandfather. It is a photo she has never SEEN, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t recognize herself.
Unfortunately, the rest of the book is full of contradictory nonsense just like that. Couple examples—
- Megan is summering in Cape Hatteras with her best friend since she was ten. Her entire childhood was spent with her grandfather teaching her how to cook. She wants to open a restaurant, and plans to use her grandfather’s recipes. So why when they are making dinner does the best friend say “Wow—your grandfather has a lot of tools in his kitchen. With all these gadgets, I’m guessing he shared your love of cooking.” Her best friend since she was ten—how would she not know that her grandfather taught her to cook?
- There is a sentence where they pull an already-open bottle of wine out of the refrigerator, then grab a corkscrew to open it.
- There is a paragraph where they let the dog out, he runs up to them “tail wagging” then they all sit down on the porch and reach back to open the door for the dog. Who is sitting next to them. On the porch.
- There is a dog toy on the beach, which is sliding toward the water in the undertow. The undertow is in the water—not on the beach.
Look, this was a cool story, a light romance with a twisty mystery, but it was so poorly executed that I kept getting pulled out off the story by error after error. In the hands of a more skilled writer, or a team of better editors, this could have been really special. As it was, it was just a mess.
While I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, I have downloaded the published book and all errors I discussed above are also present in the final, published copy.