on 20 April 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Series: Sea Glass Cove #1
Published by Sunset Rose Books
Copy for review provided by Author in exchange for an honest review.
Newly single mom Hope St. Cloud decides a summer in her family's cottage in Sea Glass Cove is exactly what she and her daughter need to find a new rhythm after the divorce. The last thing she expects is the tantalizing attraction to local shop owner Owen McKinney.
It's been three years since the accident that stole everything Owen held dear. He's ready to move on with his life, but Hope's divorce is fresh, and she still isn't sure she made the right decision. Then a rare abalone shell washes up on the beach and changes everything.
The Abalone Shell left me in awe. The scenery of Sea Glass Cove, the incredibly self-reflective and emotionally vulnerable characters and O’Connell’s familiar, comfy writing style combined perfectly to leave me breathless.
The Abalone Shell embodies O’Connell’s greatest strength, her ability to craft heroes and heroines who are just resurfacing after fighting through their darkest days. O’Connell explored that strength in depth throughout her Northstar Angel series and I was delighted to see her continue that exploration in this first installment of her new Sea Glass Cove series. In The Abalone Shell, we meet Owen and Hope. Hope has just divorced her husband and is visiting her family’s cottage in Sea Glass Cove with her young daughter. Owen lives and works as an artist in the area and is ready to move forward after grieving the death of his son and wife for the last three years.
In The Abalone Shell readers get introduced to O’Connell’s newest picturesque small-town, Sea Glass Cove. Like all of O’Connell’s other small towns, Sea Glass Cove has a homey feeling that pervades each page. The best part? Just like O’Connell’s other books, the setting is not the focus of this book! I like small-town romances, really I do, but sometimes I want to read a romance set in a small-town that doesn’t focus on the secondary characters or a town crisis. If you like small-town romances that keep a tight focus on the hero and heroine, then O’Connell’s work is perfect for you.
More often than not, widower romances are not my thing. In widower romances, I always feel like there is some reason the heroine is “better” than the hero’s first wife (the heroine is better suited for him, or the hero didn’t actually love his first wife). That pitting of women against one another, especially when one is dead, bothers me. Owen though, I actually completely and thoroughly loved Owen as a widower. What set Owen apart was that he loved his wife, Sam. Since her passing three years ago he’s mourned her and he made the decision, prior to the start of The Abalone Shell, to move on and find happiness. Hope isn’t replacing Sam and that’s made explicitly clear by O’Connell and through Owen’s actions.
This book, sadly, ended with an HFN (happy for now) instead of an HEA (happily ever after). These two deserve to be happy with each other FOREVER. In my mind, I’ve been glossing over the HFN and replacing it with an HEA honestly.
This book is everything I’ve been waiting for from Suzie O’Connell’s newest release; there were emotional highs and lows, a deep exploration of grief and incredibly lifelike characters. I’m pretty sure I would consider moving to Sea Glass Cove if it was a real place. I’d probably weasel my way into being friends with Hope and Owen too! 4.5 stars for The Abalone Shell!