Saturday, August 24, 2019
Review - - The One Who Stays
The One Who Stays
by Toni Blake
A Summer Island Novel - Book 1
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
Summer Island has always been home to Meg Sloan. She runs the Summerbrook Inn, like her grandmother did, and she loves the laid-back pace of life and the close-knit community the island offers. Meg also loves Zack Sheppard, but what she doesn’t love is Zack’s refusal to commit to an exclusive relationship.
Seth Darden arrives on Summer Island in search of summer work, but also in search of something else—his past. There are secrets buried at the Summerbrook Inn, secrets that forged the path of Seth’s life. But he wasn’t counting on falling for the lovely innkeeper, Meg.
When Meg meets Seth, she can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them, even though she feels like her heart has been torn in half. But if Zack won’t commit, should she take the leap with Seth? And can she even have a future with him if he can’t reckon with his past?
Toni Blake is an author whose books I've enjoyed over the years. More than a few sit on my keeper shelves so I was excited to hear that she was embarking upon a new contemporary romance series. The One Who Stays, a slow-paced, small-town story launches her A Summer Island series and left me with mixed feelings. I'm not sure if this book is intended to be a contemporary romance or a women's fiction story so I'll approach it from both perspectives.
As a romance, the story left me wanting more. I knew pretty early on which of the two men in Meg's life I preferred but I was never convinced that Meg's ultimate decision came from a place of deep, genuine, "I can't live without him" love. They have a solid friendship but I wanted more romantic development, more emotional depth between them. I like them both and I'm hopeful that their relationship will continue to evolve throughout the series and that I'll have that certainty by the end.
As a coming of age, women's fiction novel, I enjoyed it very much. Because, even though Meg is almost forty, because of past events that impacted her life, this is in many ways her coming of age. She's just now beginning to figure out what she wants from life, and gathering the courage to go after it. Zack and Seth are both on journeys of their own, and both play critical roles in Meg's journey, as do Meg's close friends on the island, but her main source of guidance comes from the diary that appears during the renovation of her inn. Giving her unexpected insights into her beloved grandmother's life as a young woman, her diary provides both a link to the woman who was so instrumental in Meg's life and a blueprint to aid Meg in figuring out her own life.
Blake does a good job of creating the laid-back environment of Northern Michigan's islands and the close-knit community of individuals who live there year-round. The supporting cast is interesting, with color provided by quirky islanders, and intriguing newcomers with past baggage, and a few secrets, that will undoubtedly be unraveled in the books to come.
Book two in the series, The Giving Heart, is scheduled to be released October 29 and features Meg's sister, Lila and real estate developer, Beck in a Christmas romance. I already have it on pre-order. But the book I'm most intrigued by is The Love We Keep, third in the series and scheduled for release January 28, 2020. I have a suspicion that one will be overflowing with all the "feels."
On which side of the book fence do you fall: Women's Fiction or Contemporary Romance? Or do you enjoy both?
Have you ever read Toni Blake?
How do you feel about love triangles?
One person who comments before 11:00 PM, August 25, will receive a signed, print copy of The One Who Stays. (U.S. addresses only)
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I love Toni Blake. The first book of hers I read was The Red Diary - great book.ReplyDelete
I love contemp romance but do enjoy women's fiction and love triangles.
This one should have everything you love then, Patoct!Delete
I've never read Toni Blake. I usually read historical romances over contemporary. I have read a few women's fiction that I enjoy. Can't say that I've read a book with a triangle in it but it does sound like it would be an interesting read.ReplyDelete
I like to mix things up. Hope you enjoy the book if you give it a try.Delete
I have not read Toni Blake. TY for introducing her to me. I am jotting down all the titles and would love to try this one you highlighted for the giveaway. Fingers crossed. LOL.ReplyDelete
I like contemp romance and women's fiction and have no problem reading a triangle type romance. TY for the chance to win.
You're welcome, Patty. Hope you like it!Delete
I enjoy women's fiction greatly. Love triangles are interesting. I haven't read Toni Blake's novels but would enjoy this story.ReplyDelete
I also highly recommend her Destiny series.Delete
I have not read any of her books. Thanks for the chance to try one. I do like contemp romance and women's fiction as well as suspense. Not sure I have ever read a love triangle, but not opposed to it.ReplyDelete
Karen T. (Natty's mama)
I have never read a book by Toni Blake but am glad to be introduced to her stories which sound captivating. I read women's fiction as it is one of my most favorite fiction. A triangle romance is always appealing.ReplyDelete
I can read both romance and women's fiction. I have many of Toni's books. She writes amazing characters.ReplyDelete
I love women's fiction and devour all the contemporary romance I can but how sad is it that I've never read Toni Blake?😢ReplyDelete
Wonderful review PJ......I'm adding this one to my TBR mountain!
Not sad, you cannot possible read them all, but now you have another good author to add to your list.Delete
I enjoy both contemporary romance as well as women's fiction. I am an equal opportunity reader. Ms Blake is a new to me author. You make me realize that although I am an avid reader, I do not know every author nor have I heard of every book. That is why I thank you for every review I read.ReplyDelete
Me too, I always discover new authors that I enjoy.Delete
I've enjoyed Toni Blake's books but have yet to read her latest. I'm still on the fence about the move to Women's Fiction, not sure it's that different from Contemporary Romance.ReplyDelete
I like both women's fiction and contemporary romance. I look for good character and story development which ever genre it is. I don't believe I have read any of Toni's books. Friend triangles are OK. They can develop into love triangles which can understandably be complicated. A love triangle that doesn't have that history is a bit different and not as acceptable.ReplyDelete
I like contemporary romance more, but I'll read WF.ReplyDelete
I have read books by Toni Blake.