The Summer of Second Chances
by Miranda Liasson
Seashell Harbor - Book 3
Release Date: July 11, 2023
Reviewed by PJ
Sometimes, couples who marry young go the distance. Other times, life's challenges send them in opposite directions. But occasionally, if they're lucky, they get a second chance with the one who never left their heart.
I've been waiting for this final chapter of Miranda Liasson's Seashell Harbor series since first meeting Nick and Darla in book one and it did not disappoint. I love when a couple gets a second chance to make better decisions. It's been ten years since Nick and Darla divorced. They've each moved on but as hard as they try the love that first flickered in grade school and matured in high school still simmers. They can't - really, they shouldn't - go back but Liasson gives them the chance to move forward, to create something new, something better.
Both Nick and Darla have significant emotional baggage to conquer before they can claim their second chance. The author guides them carefully through a series of emotional obstacles in their journey of growth. Nick, in particular, has evolved a great deal over the past decade. I enjoyed watching the "new and improved" man show through his actions - rather than words - how much he's matured. Darla, on the other hand, still has work to do. Her journey is one of fear, vulnerability, forgiveness, and acceptance. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to move forward in life knowing the cancer you defeated has the ability to return at any time. There are many layers within Darla (broken family, trust issues, obsessive independence, fear) that are addressed with realistic and relatable compassion that drew me into her journey, cheering her on and feeling every emotion right alongside her.
Friendship is once again a key facet of this third Seashell Harbor book with both couples from books one and two front and center, lending support, offering unsolicited - but wise - advice, and showing, again, the importance of solid and unwavering friendship/family. While emotional topics are central to this book, rest assured you will find plenty of humor, endearing characters, poignant moments, hope, happiness, and romantic chemistry to keep it from becoming too heavy. Darla's young nieces and nephew, in particular, had me laughing out loud more than once. And, the sigh-worthy happy ending is a fitting farewell to a group of friends who captured my heart. You could enjoy The Summer of Second Chances as a standalone but I believe you'll have a much better understanding of the characters and deeper appreciation for their journeys if you read the three books in order.
Have you read any of the Seashell Harbor books yet?
Darla and Nick pinch hit for another couple at their pre-wedding cake tasting. What's your favorite cake flavor? Cheesecake totally counts, by the way.
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