When Violet moves to Swallow Beach, she inherits a small Victorian pier in with an empty arcade perched on the end of it, and falls in love immediately. She wants nothing more than to rejuvenate it and make it grand again – but how? When she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes. What if she turned the arcade into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops? Not everyone in the town is happy with the idea, but Violet loves her arcade and business begins to boom. But as tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, life at Swallow Beach becomes tricky. Is it worth staying to ride out the storm? And can Violet find her own happy ending before the swallows fly south for the winter?
Until her grandfather died and left her an apartment and pier(!), Violet knew virtually nothing about the small coastal town of Swallow Beach. Her only real knowledge of the place comes from brief comments from her mother and grandfather; as far as Violet knows, Swallow Beach is just a place her family once lived, long before her own birth.
In her almost thirty years, Violet has never even thought of visiting Swallow Beach let alone moving there, but when her grandfather bequeaths her a small apartment and pier(!) suddenly Swallow Beach sounds like exactly the place Violet needs to be. With more than a bit of trepidation and a healthy does of excitement, Violet packs her van, her business, and what few personal items she can’t live without and drives off towards an uncertain future in a small coastal town.
Swallow Beach is not at all what Violet expected! Her apartment is one of six in a wonderful building filled with an even more wonderful mix of people. Barty is the elder statesman, his granddaughter the feistiest of friends, and Cal is the stunningly handsome artisan across the hall. Violet’s apartment is crazy mix of all the things she loves the most, bright color, strange decorations, and an eclectic mix of style. Violet quickly understands her connection to the apartment and Swallow Beach isn’t through her beloved grandfather, but her free-spirited grandmother she never had the pleasure of meeting.
In addition to getting settled, Violet also has the added pressure of deciding what needs to be done with the pier. The site is amazing, structurally sound, and just waiting for something or someone to fill the space. As so often happens in the most unexpected of places, inspiration strikes and within days, Violet has a plan for the pier that involves herself, her business, and the work of several new friends. Though not everyone in town is thrilled with Violet’s plan, she is determined to see her vision through. Through it all, Violet strengthens her ties to Swallow Beach, discovers stunning secrets from her family’s past, and figures out a future wholly different from what she could have ever envisioned.
The Bottom Line: Thanks to a power outage, I was able to power through this read in a single sitting and while I enjoyed it while in the moment, after I let the read sit overnight, I found I just liked this read and didn’t love it. I think what tipped the scales for me was the ending which seemed so much more dramatic, and therefore out of step, with the rest of the read. As far as the characters go, I generally liked everyone and the part they had to play. The friendships Violet makes, though fast, are genuine and bring so much to her life that she didn’t even realize she was missing. To be sure, there are more than a few obstacles, but overall, the characters kept this book at three solid stars. While the plot waned a bit in the end for me, I generally appreciated the overall writing style to the point, I’m not done with Kat French and feel like I should give her other books the old college try!