Author: Mariah Stewart
If there is one instance where you absolutely should not judge a book by its cover, that book is Coming Home by Mariah Stewart. To be completely honest, I’m attracted to book covers. If it doesn’t appeal to me, I’ll often skip reading the synopsis and look for a cover I find attractive. The cover of Coming Home didn’t appeal to me in the least, but I am so glad that I took pause and chose to read the book’s summary. This first in a series about the small town of St. Dennis has all the elements I look for in an engrossing novel: small town life, romance, suspense, and troubled pasts.
After two failed marriages, Vanessa Keaton moved to St. Dennis to reinvent herself. The half-brother she never knew, Beck, and his father, Hal, took her in and gave her the stable family situation she had never known with her mother, Maggie. Now a successful high-end boutique owner, Vanessa does not need or want to rely on a man to provide for her. She shies away from romance, preferring the occasional fling to satisfy her needs.
Her brother Beck’s wedding to Mia brings Mia’s brother, Grady Shields, to St. Dennis to celebrate his sister’s happy day. Grady, a former FBI agent, has not fully recovered from his wife’s murder and has his own issues to sort out. Instantly there is a connection between Vanessa and Grady. The more time they spend together, the harder they both fall for one another. When Maggie returns to St. Dennis uninvited to watch her son get married, the ghosts of Vanessa’s past return in full force to destroy the new life she has built for herself.
Prior to reading this, I had never heard of Mariah Stewart. Now this is an author I will be recommending to my friends and family. What I loved most about this book is it is more than just a romance novel. A few sex scenes grace the pages, but they are sweet and perfectly progress the romance between Vanessa and Grady. All I can say is that Vanessa is one lucky girl; there was nothing at all to dislike about Grady.
This series is called Chesapeake Diaries because of a few diary entries from a St. Dennis resident named Grace. There were only a few diary entries, but they were just as fascinating, if not more, than Vanessa and Grady’s lives. They hint at Grace’s past, which is linked to the woman who previously owned Vanessa’s home. Based on what I know, I suspect that paranormal elements might enter the series at some point. I hope that Grace will get her own book eventually, maybe in the form of a prequel to the series.
If you like romance, murderous villains, estranged parents, second chances, and a potential ghost, then Coming Home is the perfect read for you. This isn’t necessarily a book I would have read, but it was exactly the book I wanted to be reading once I started.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions of the contents within. All of the above text is my exact thoughts regarding the book I just read.