I just loved this book. And I definitely don't hold with simpering, useless female characters, so I certainly didn't read the main character, Alex, that way at all. Sure, she had quite a few insecurities, but who doesn't? She's written as a woman who is very comfortable with her professional life (she's the new harbormaster) but who has had her personal life turned upside down. She lands in a tiny Cornish sea village and is soon intertwined with the local assortment of characters. But the way to long-term happiness is not easy, her past (all of it) catches up with her and she almost loses her future (and her dog!)
I read this book in less than 2 days, it was one of those that I hated to put down at night and that I picked up first thing in the morning. (Thank goodness for a holiday weekend here in the US!) Although I'd recommend this book any time of year, it proved to be a great kickoff to the holiday season for me.
I do have to comment that that there's one nasty review here - clearly the reviewer didn't give the entire book a chance. Or they did, and just didn't like the book. That's OK - but really it's not the end of the world and you don't have to be so nasty. I did not find Alex, the main female character, to be annoying or helpless or useless and I'd encourage other readers to give this book a chance. And no, I don't know Scarlet Bailey, so please no accusations along those lines!
Read this book and Merry Christmas!