Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.
Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.
I have throughly enjoyed the previous books in this series and did not expect this one to be any different. I was not disappointed. Ms. Warren tends to tackle the core of humanity in her books, and keeps you interested for the next one with characters that interwoven throughout each book. The Christiansen family is one that comes in many shapes and sizes. Grace is different than some of the other siblings in that, I didn’t see her as brash or outgoing like the rest, but instead, she seems more like her mom or that is how I felt.
Without giving any spoilers, I felt this book really talked about the hard part that someone might face if they knew they had a disease that would disable them in the future. The romantic side of me said “Awwww…” and then the practical side of me that lives with a spouse with a mentally debilitating disease said “Wow. I know it is not as romantic as all that. It can be a trail of tears for sure.”
I found that maybe the most ironic of all, was that the sentence that touched me the most from this whole book was in Ms. Warren’s Note from the Author. She states two stories about friends of hers. One that nursed her young husband through early onset Alzheimer’s, cared for him until she couldn’t anymore, divorced him and married someone else and how it haunted her.
Then another woman that married a man with brain cancer, nursed him through it, until he died three years later. She commented how the second woman felt robbed.
I read that and stopped to think. The one woman only lived with it for three years and felt positively, while the other, it was a long process.
As someone that it is a long, slow process of watching your spouse go downhill mentally, I know what that woman felt that left her husband for someone else. I also, know that it would not be easier to leave and find someone else.
All that to say, this book is not just a happy story, but one that you will set down and think. It has some romance in it, and it geared with topics that are more appropriate for an adult audience, not teens. I found that it really walked you through the emotional turmoil of the characters without seeming overly dramatic.
One of my favorite parts of this story was the talk of the food. I am not a seafood lover, but I love cooking, so it was amazing to me to read about the food!
If you visit this site now, there is a contest going on with your own food creations. You could win a kitchen aid mixer.