I listened to the first book in this series, Mermaid Inn, last week in preparation for reading the ARC for this second book in the series. Since these books could easily be standalone, perhaps I should not have done that…
What it’s about
From the Goodreads description:
Dr. Nora Walsh has just been dumped in spectacular fashion, making it the perfect time for a major life change. She figures taking over the medical practice in tiny Matchmaker Bay for a couple of years will help her get over her broken heart, and then she can head back to the big city. But when the first man she sees looks like a superhero god, she wonders if maybe there’s something to small-town living after all.
Jake Ramsey also has a broken heart — one he never expects to heal. He doesn’t need people anyway and is content hiding out in his secluded cottage on the beach. But after helping Nora with a medical emergency, he finds himself opening up to the witty, warmhearted doctor. Soon the local matchmakers are working overtime to pair them off, and Jake begins to wonder if his campaign to get Nora to stay is for the town or because he can’t bear the thought of her leaving.
This book is a contemporary romance HEA (happily ever after) and we know that going in.
This book was very readable… the story moves along quickly, the characters (especially Jake, who apparently looks like Jason Momoa) are interesting and made me want to know more, and the writing is good. Holiday is great at writing witty banter, and her sex scenes are hot and do not make me cringe. Yay!
The romance in this book is between new-to-town Nora, a city doctor who has just gotten out of a long-term relationship with a cheating jerk, and apparently ridiculously gorgeous Aquaman lookalike Jake, a lifelong resident of the town who is helpful and nice to all, but largely silent and withdrawn since he lost his family years ago. I liked Nora quite a bit and loved Jake. I was absolutely rooting for them from the beginning, and did I mention that the sex scenes in this book are super hot? 😉
As I wrote above, I listened to the first book in the Matchmaker Bay series last week in prep for reading Paradise Cove. While the books are set in the same picturesque Canadian beach town, and feature the same peripheral characters, they can easily be read out of order or as standalone books. I enjoyed Mermaid Inn, but there are some elements that felt too similar to that book in Paradise Cove. For example, both female protagonists come from the city to the small town planning to only stay a limited time before returning to their city lives. Both couples decide to be ‘friends with benefits,’ try to keep their relationship secret from the town full of matchmakers who want them together, and inevitably realize they are in love with each other. The couples themselves are quite different, so it seemed odd to me that their romances would be so similar.
In addition to the steamy romance, Paradise Cove deals a lot with grief—the unresolved grief and guilt that Jake has for his lost baby son and marriage primarily, but Nora also experiences grief in the book. I thought the author handled that aspect well and I really felt for both characters.
There’s a plot device used to ultimately bring the couple together at the end that I really could have done without… I don’t want to go into detail and spoil anything, but it seemed like an odd way to end the story, despite it being a cute happily ever after.
Despite my minor issues with it, Paradise Cove is a good book for the genre, and a fun, easy summer read. I recommend to romance fans who like contemporaries with a healthy dose of steaminess. And I will definitely be looking for the third Matchmaker Bay book!