Sunday, May 22, 2022

Beach House Summer

Beach House Summer
  Beach House Summer
Author:  Sarah Morgan
Publication Information:  HQN. 2022. 384 pages.
ISBN:  133542752X / 978-1335427526

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley and The HTP Books Summer 2022 Beach Reads Blog Tour free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "She slid into his car, hoping this wasn't a mistake."

Favorite Quote:  "There are plenty of people out there who will make you think you're not good enough. That you should think small. Play it safe. Be less than you're capable of being. The important thing is not to believe them. If there's something you badly want to do, if you have a dream, you owe it to yourself to give it a try."

***** BLOG TOUR *****


This is a feel good book that begins sadly with an accident and a violent death. It leads to discoveries of infidelity and abandonment. It leads to the past and what was believed and what actually happened. Ultimately, it leads to the ultimate questions of is forgiveness possible and is it possible to go home again? "... but sometimes when bad things happen it's a wakeup call. You realize what's important. What you turned your back on. You want home."

Joanna left her home town years and years ago and, along with it, her best friend and her love. Why? The reason and the reason believed by others are different. Yet, the connection remains for Joanna's inheritance remains. In the world of the rich, the inheritance, of course, is a secluded house on the ocean with its own private beach. At one time, it was run down. Wealth enabled Joanna to completely redo it, but she has never been back to the small town where everyone knew her. Yet, now, it calls to her as a haven.

Her life, since leaving, has been all about Cliff her husband and then ex-husband who also happens to be a celebrity chef. He was the celebrity. Joanna ran the entire business that made and kept him a celebrity. Even when the marriage broke up, the partnership remained.

Now, he has died under dubious circumstances. A woman - a pregnant woman - was in the car with him. Who is she? Joanna knows the truth behind Ashley.

Looking to escape the press, Joanna decides to run to her beach house. Much to Ashley's surprise, Joanna takes her as well. So blossoms an unlikely friendship between two women who, in many ways, could not be more different, but who find that they both share a common core of strength. Their differences indeed are good for both as pushed out of their comfort zones and forced to demand more of life. Everyone needs a friend like that in life.

This friendship begins in a hospital but takes root in the small hometown that Joanna thought she had left far behind. In that small town wait people - Joanna's best friend and Joanna's childhood love. In that small town is also an entire community.

This is where the beach read kicks into how life ideally should be. The town closes ranks around its own. Joanna and Ashley find a way to reconcile with the past even though anger and worse would have been understandable. Misunderstandings years long are cleared in one conversation. Joanna discovers it is possible to go home again.

Completely believable. Of course not. However, this is a world I would like to believe in, and the way of friendship, love, and community that we would all like to believe possible. The characters and the situations could be real (okay, maybe not the super rich beach house vibe!). That means that the outcome could possibly also be real. We need more of that in the world today. A beautiful oceanside setting, a suspension of reality because life does not work out that easily, and a belief in the happily ever after - a perfect summer beach read.

About the Author

Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of contemporary romance and women's fiction. She has sold more than 21 million copies of her books and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives with her family near London, England, where the rain frequently keeps her trapped in her office. Visit her at

About the Book

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan returns with the ultimate beach read, as one woman forges the most unlikely friendship of all, and embarks on a summer of confrotning her past in order to build the future she wants...

When Joanna Whitman's ex-husband, one of California's most beloved celebrity chefs, dies in a car accident, she doesn't know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, but when she discovers a young woman was with him in the crash--who's now in hospital, on her own, and pregnant --Joanna sees red. How dare he ruin yet another woman's life? More than anyone, Joanna knows the brutal spotlight this girl is going to find herself in...unless she can find a way for them both to disappear?

Ashley can't believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and offers to spirit them both away for the summer to her secluded beach house on the Californian coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But orphaned and pregnant, Ashley can't turn Joanna down. Even though she knows that if Joanna ever discovers the real truth of why Ashley was in her ex's car, their tentative bond would never hold.

Together, they escape to the beach house, nestled high above the sleepy Californian town where Joanna grew up, and left without a backward glance. Joanna's only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return creates waves in the community, not least for the best friend she left behind. Both Joanna and Ashley are hiding secrets, but as they fall under the spell of their summer home - and draw on each other's courage - these unlikely friends realise that to seize the futures they want, they must step out of the shadows and into the sunshine.

Q&A With Sarah Morgan

1) I love the title and synopsis. Where did the inspiration for the book come from?
I’m fascinated by the idea of celebrity, and how it must feel to live in the spotlight. I was pondering on how much I’d hate that when I came up with the character of Joanna, who is an ‘accidental’ celebrity by virtue of her marriage to a high profile celebrity chef who both relishes and relies on media attention. Joanna didn’t just marry him, she married the lifestyle he’d chosen and she was never comfortable with it. As I was writing, I reflected a lot on how someone lives a private life, and how they keep secrets, if their every move is conducted under a spotlight. Those were some of the issues I wanted to explore. It was a fun book to write!

2) What was the best part about writing this book and why?
So many things. I enjoyed exploring the dynamics between the characters who are all quite different, and also being able to give Joanna a second chance at love (I’m a big believer in second chances!). But I confess that one of the best parts of writing this book was the setting. It takes me around six months to write a book, and during that time I’m immersed in the place as well as the people. Beach House Summer is set on the coast of California, which gave me the excuse to research beautiful beach houses. I was transported, and I hope the reader will feel that way too.

3) What was the most difficult part about writing this book and why?
Giving my characters a hard time - in particular subjecting poor Joanna to all the media attention, which she hated and found distressing. I felt so cruel! But writers sometimes have to be cruel to their characters, it’s part of the job, and a story where the characters are all happy in their lives and have no challenges to face would end on page one. But even knowing that, it’s always difficult when you’ve grown to love the people you’ve created. I remind myself that no matter how many obstacles I throw their way, I always, always give them a happy ending. That makes the whole thing easier.

4) Who is your favourite character and why?
That’s a tough question. I love all the characters, but in particular I enjoyed exploring the way that Joanna and Ashley interact, and how they gradually support each other and change over time. I find multigenerational friendships to be intriguing and interesting to write. With Joanna and Ashley, their age difference doesn’t stop them learning from each other and that part was such fun to write.

5) I have your books Sleigh Bells in the Snow, A Wedding in December and a Christmas Escape. Do you prefer writing books set in summer or winter and why? Which is easier or more challenging and why?
I love writing books set in winter and have done so almost every year since I’ve been published, but I wouldn’t want to only write Christmas books. It takes me around six months to write a novel, and by the time I’ve finished I’m ready to move on to a new set of characters, a new set of problems, and a new season! Each comes with its own set of challenges, but I enjoy writing both. In the end, whatever the season and whatever the setting, I aim to deliver and emotional story that will keep readers turning the pages.

6) The characters, plots and settings in your books are so memorable. What are your top tips for creating great characters, plots and settings, especially seasonal (summer, winter) settings?
The most important element is always the story itself. When you’re writing commercial fiction, you want to make your reader feel something. It’s important to create unique characters, with their own strengths and flaws, and to give them a problem or a dilemma that will keep the reader turning the pages. Sometimes you can turn the seasonal element to your advantage, and whenever possible I make sure that the season and the setting is integral to the plot. With a Christmas book, I try and give the reader all the magic of a cosy, snowy winter without any of the reality (freezing fingers and toes, scraping ice from the car etc). With my next book, Snowed in For Christmas, the season plays a big part in bringing the characters together, not just the weather but also the seasonal tradition of family gatherings. With summer books I want readers to feel as if they’ve had their own summer escape. If it’s a beach book (like Beach House Summer!) then I want them to feel the sand under their toes and the sun on their face.

7) Can you give some advice for those writing in the same genre as you?
Write the story that you’re passionate about. If you’re excited to write it, then there’s a good chance someone will be excited to read it. Create characters you really care about and give them a conflict that will keep a reader turning the pages. If you are rooting for that character, then the chances are the reader will be too.

8) Do you have plans for any other novels? When will they be released?
My next Christmas novel is called Snowed in For Christmas, and it will be out in September in the US and Canada. I had so much fun with this book and it includes all the elements I love including in my writing - family dynamics, friendship and romance. I laughed aloud when I wrote it, and I hope it will make readers smile when they read it.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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