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Turning The Tide (Choc Lit) (Little Spitmarsh Book 1) Kindle Edition
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The arrival of property developer Matthew Corrigan with his plans to regenerate the area and the seemingly support of the local townspeople only serve to take Harry's sense of her against the world to a new level.
Harry takes an instant dislike to Matthew for what he represents but can't help feeling attracted to him. Matthew appears to be having the same problem. Harry is a pain in the backside but there's something about her that causes his mind to wander back to her time and again in a way that is definitely not conducive to the success of his business plans.
The story allows time for the characters to develop and for the reader to get to know and understand them. Matthew is sexy without being flash, business like but with compassion and you can't help but admire his patience and persistence. Harry with her tomboy ways, strops and bloody-mindedness, forever trying to live up to the memory of her father, can leave you feeling empathy and frustration all at the same time.
The plot moves the story along continually and brings into play other delightful and funny characters, each with their own little journey to make.
I loved the cover of Turning the Tide, it reflects the gentleness of the way the story unfolds. Rather than racing off into a stormy sea of ups and downs at a breakneck speed, the plot glides and bobs along to a clement breeze with a mixture of intrigue, humour, mystery and romance, enticing you to read on and on.
Harriet is struggling to keep her father's business afloat when Little Spitmarsh comes to the attention of real-estate entrepreneur, Matthew Corrigan. Matthew has grand plans to put Spitmarsh on the map by building a first-class restaurant.
All the locals are on board with Matthew's plan. Floral-shop owners and life partners, Frankie and Trevor, are keen to expand their business. Local flirt and barmaid, Lola, is keen on Matthew sticking around. And even Harry's right-hand-man, Geroge, is eager to see her get her life back on track with a helping-hand from Corrigan.
The only person who is opposed to the development is Harry . . . she doesn't want to lose her one remaining tie to her father. And she doesn't want to be sweet-talked out of her land by smarmy Matthew Corrigan, no matter how devastatingly charming he may seem.
`Turning the Tide' is a contemporary romance novel from debut author, Christina Stovell.
The book does have a slow start, but the meandering plot leaks into the Little Spitmarsh atmosphere. Stovell takes the time to tease out characters and write methodical back story for a cachet of quirky local residents. I particularly liked the side-story about Frankie and Trevor, a homosexual couple who are concerned about the potential media furore Matthew Corrigan could bring to Spitmarsh, and which could inadvertently `out' them. The unhurried pace also helps to create a small-town ambience for Spitmarsh; so that you really do get the feeling that this town is suffocated by its own solitude.
By contrast, Matthew Corrigan is a breath of fresh air. He is swift with a grin and keen to chat with the locals, Harry in particular. Matthew quickly gets over his surprise that Harry Watling isn't a burly sailor, but rather a prickly pixie. Matthew and Harry come to clash on numerous occasions - and their war of wills quickly becomes the sole spark and juicy gossip in Little Spitmarsh. Harry and Matthew imbue their scenes with deliciously hot tension - as an undercurrent of lust runs between them.
The novel takes a surprising turn when a closely-guarded family secret is revealed. I'd hate to spoil anything; save to say this careening twist provides a brilliant bit of full-circular closure.
Christine Stovell's debut novel is a gorgeously quaint contemporary romance. It's a little bit `Vicar of Dibley', with a splash of Lisa Kleypas and plenty of steamy unrequited love.
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