First Lines: "It was hard to come back again. This time, for some reason, it was harder than usual."
Summary: Jessica Warwick is returning to Cape Light, a small village on the coast of Massachusetts. This is where she grew up, but she left as soon as she could. She needed to get away and make a fresh start. She has been living in Boston and loves city life, or so she tells herself. Lillian Warwick, Jessica's mother has been ill and Jessica has returned to help care for her. Emily Warwick, Jessica's sister and the mayor of Cape Light has been shouldering the burden of caring for their mother. Lillian is not the easiest person to deal with. She is often negative and difficult to please. But both Emily and Jessica do the best they can.
"The Warwick family helped found the village back in the mid-1600's and had earned their first fortune as the leading shipbuilders along the nearby stretch of coast. Several generations had lived in a large house in town, near the harbor."
But after a scandal involving Mr. Warwick, the family was forced to move from the house. It was a humiliating time and is much of the reason Jessica needed to leave the area. However, most of the people of Cape Light welcome her back. Gus and Sophie Potter are hosting their annual party on Memorial Day weekend. Jessica arrives in town just in time to attend.
As Jessica spends more time in Cape Light and less time in the big city, she begins to question whether she truly wants to return to Boston. Especially when she is reacquainted with Sam Morgan and begins spending time with him. Her relationship with her sister has also grown and she realizes she will really miss her when she leaves. In Boston she doesn't have many friends, but here she shares history with many of the people in town. Can she give all of that up to return to Boston? Should she?
My thoughts: The cover of this book is absolutely beautiful! Of course it is one of Thomas Kinkade's paintings. He says he wrote this series because he was often asked about the people that lived in the houses and villages that he painted. This series is his answer.
The story is primarily told through the perspective of Jessica, but there are several storylines involving other members of the village.
Charlie and Lucy Bates own the Clam Box, a local restaurant famous for their clam rolls and blueberry pancakes. Charlie cooks while Lucy waits tables. A new coffee shop, The Beanery, has just opened and Charlie is not happy about it.
Sara Franklin has come to town for a visit. She did some research on her birth mother and discovered she lives in Cape Light. She would like to watch her from a distance to see what kind of a person she is before she decides whether or not to introduce herself. As the days pass and she finds herself still in town, she decides she needs to find a job. She checks with Lucy at the Clam Box and is put to work immediately.
Reverend Ben Lewis and his wife Carolyn are soon to become grandparents. However, there is a damper on their excitement, because their son Mark has been away for a while and they are not sure where to contact him. When he left, he was bitter and upset. Carolyn and Ben would love to be reunited with him again.
There is an election coming up for mayor and Charlie Bates has announced he will be running against current Mayor Emily Warwick.
I was immediately drawn into the story and the town. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters along with their joys and struggles. The main storyline involving Jessica is the only one that was really finalized in this book. Several others were left unresolved and I assume (and hope) that they will be picked up in the next book in the series.
Cape Light sounds like a lovely place to visit. The descriptions of the town and some of the homes were delightful.
"The small colonial-style house looked quite old - maybe it was even a historic house - with bay windows on the first floor, flanking a covered entry, and a row of small, rectangular-shaped windows upstairs."
"...the house was a sedate gray-blue with cream-colored trim, dark blue shutters, and a brick-red door. Window boxes overflowed with flowers and trailing vines, and tall rosebushes tumbled over a white picket fence."
The Warwick Estate - Lilac Hall:
"...planned the building of Lilac Hall, in the style of great houses he had seen on a grand tour of Europe. The stone, along with the stone masons, had been imported from Europe. Intricate carvings surrounded the windows and entrances. The house had over forty rooms in all..."
I recommend this book if you enjoy stories about life in a small town, stories that take place in New England, or stories about strong families and friendships.