On Love’s Gentle Shore – Liz Johnson – Prince Edward Island Dreams #3 – Revell – Published 4 July 2017
When Natalie O’Ryan returns to Prince Edward Island to plan her wedding, she runs into her childhood best friend–and discovers that the love she’s been looking for is right where she left it.
Fifteen years after she left Prince Edward Island, Natalie O’Ryan had no plans to return. But when her fiancé, music producer Russell Jacobs, books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose’s Red Door Inn, she sets out to put the finishing touches on the perfect wedding. But she can’t possibly prepare for a run-in with Justin Kane–the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay.
Justin’s never forgotten Natalie or the music career he always dreamed of pursuing. He’d been prepared to follow her off the island until his dad died and he was left to run the family dairy farm. He’s done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him–but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he’s been missing.
After Natalie’s reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin’s property. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin discover the groundwork for forgiveness–and that there may be more than an old friendship between them.
What fun to return to the shores of Prince Edward Island. This series has continued to delight, and the third book, On Love’s Gentle Shore, share the same mix of love story and characters who yearn to find a place to call home.
For Natalie, returning home to Prince Edward Island only brings back the childhood trauma that she tried to outrun years ago. But her fiancé, music producer Russell Jacobs, decides that PEI is the perfect place to hold their wedding. Before Natalie knows it, she is back home neck deep in wedding preparations and face to face with old memories and people she would rather have never seen again. And then there is Justin. Her childhood best friend, he was her everything until she ran and he never followed. Thrown together with Justin, Natalie will have to face her past if she wants to follow her heart in the future.
On Love’s Gentle Shore starts with a combination of my two favourite love story beginnings – best friends to more and love at first hate, well at if not hate a whole lot of unresolved anger and feelings of betrayal. Natalie and Justin have so much history, but so much of it has been left unresolved. Natalie returning to the island gives them a chance to rekindle their friendship and maybe, finally, explore what might have been. I loved watching their relationship move away from anger and bitterness and back towards the deep friendship they kindled from the age of five. They have a beautiful connection.
The writing is very descriptive in this book. There were times when I just couldn’t take any more detailed descriptions of the delicious delicacies that Caden creates. I get it already, it tastes amazing. Stop it, you’re making me hungry! But there is no doubt that the writing places the reader firmly within the gorgeous setting of PEI and within the middle of the characters’ emotions.
I truly enjoyed Natalie’s story. Everything she has overcome is so heartbreaking and seeing her get her happy ending is wonderful. Justin is equally wonderful. He is a fantastic best friend – every girl needs a Justin. But there is no doubt that they were always destined for more than friendship. As Natalie wrestles with her past, Justin faces his grief over losing Natalie all those years ago, and they both must assess what they want for the future. Faith is an underpinning factor in this story, but doesn’t take much of the focus. Natalie wrestles with a God that could love her, as feeling unloved is something she has struggled with all her life. Justin’s simple faith has always been a comfort to her, but something she didn’t pursue herself.
On Love’s Gentle Shore is a delightful contemporary romance, with charming main characters, a strong romance founded in friendship, and wonderful secondary characters, many of whom are old favourites from the previous two books in the series.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Family, relationships, belonging, home towns, child abuse, neglect, romance, weddings, best friends,
Published: 4 July 2017 by Revell.
Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. 336 pages.