After a tough break-up, Ellie returns to the only place she’s ever really felt at home – the coastal town of Sanderson Bay. A year later, she’s living her dream, brewing delicious artisan teas and selling them at her very own café. And when the mysterious and brooding Ben walks into her tearoom, Ellie finally dares to dream of true love.
But then her ex shows up in the Bay, and just as Ellie discovers some tragic truths about her family’s past, she learns Ben might be hiding an unwelcome secret of his own…
Source: NetGalley Rating: 4/5 stars
You know, I have always been something of a sucker for an underdog story and this one really resonated with me. Sanderson Bay is a small town with all the charm and quirky personalities that often in habit such places. After years of living away from her home-away-from-home, Ellie has returned and is living her dream. For the first time in many, many years Ellie is happy and looking forward to her future.
In the wake of her boyfriend just walking away with no explanation, Ellie has done little to cultivate her personal life. She loves her little tea shop and spends nearly every waking hour developing new brews, serving her loyal customers, and hosting theme nights. Ellie loves her life and her circumstances and doesn’t see any real need to change what she’s been doing. Fate is a fickle mistress and often likes to shake things up just when a person thinks all is as it should be. To that end, Fate decides Ellie needs a visit from her rat bastard ex and the mysterious Ben, all within a few days of each other.
The ex really is a first-class jerk and the minute he walks in, Ellie realizes just how lucky she was when he walked out the door. In an effort to not be a jerk herself, Ellie allows her ex to sleep on her couch until he can figure out what and where he wants to be when he grows up. Ben, on the other hand, has a place to stay and what is, apparently, a load of heavy business to deal with while in town. Both Ben and Ellie are immediately attracted to one another, but each has his/her own reasons for remaining aloof. To make things even more awkward, Ellie is trying to start a new relationship with Ben while her ex is making himself at home and even working in her tea shop to help earn his keep.
Ben’s situation is difficult, at best, and downright tragic at worst. He’s trying to find closure related to the loss of his father and he juggles a horrible work schedule with the care of his mother. His current work assignment has taken him home to Sanderson Bay which allows for some of the closure to take place and some sneakiness to occur. While Ellie is unaware of Ben’s reasons for being in town, Ben is painfully aware of his reasons and is actually doing all he can to save what he has started to build with Ellie. Yet again, Fate steps in and yet again, it isn’t pretty.
The Bottom Line: WOW! It seems as if I actually agree with the Goodreads rating for a book 😊 There’s a lot of information that comes with this book and I enjoyed taking in every bit of it. Ellie is a wonderfully sympathetic character and I found myself really rooting for her. Ellie doesn’t have a particularly easy time in this read and one of my favorite aspects of the read, was the response of her family, friends, and the community around her. There is a great deal of support from the entire community and that is something I always appreciate in my reads. I also very much liked Ellie’s response to her ex and the various issues she is presented with; Ellie is tough as nails and her responses always seem to be spot on and just what I wanted out of her. This is another book where I certainly wouldn’t mind a sequel in which I get a glimpse of Ellie’s life a year or two in the future.