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Thursday, April 14, 2011

'Turning the Tide' by Christine STOVELL

Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:


All’s fair in love and war? Depends on who’s making the rules.

Matthew Corrigan finds an unspoiled seaside town – and his next big property development deal. He won’t let anything, or anyone, stand in his way.

Including his new neighbor, Harry Watling, and her pledge to keep her father’s boat yard afloat, despite its dying clientele and mystifying debts.

Her boat yard is on the land that Matthew wants – and everything seems to be going his way. He’s got the colorful locals on board, his hard-to-please girlfriend is thawing to the idea and he has the means to force Harry’s hand.

Then a family secret from the past creates heartbreak for Harry, and neither of them is prepared for what happens next ...

Harriet Watling has been fighting an uphill battle ever since her father died. With his passing Harriet ‘Harry’ became the owner and proprietor of his failing boatyard, in the minuscule seaside town of Little Spitmarsh.

Harriet is struggling to keep her father’s business afloat when Little Spitmarsh comes to the attention of real-estate entrepreneur, Matthew Corrigan. Matthew has grand plans to put Spitmarsh on the map by building a first-class restaurant.

All the locals are on board with Matthew’s plan. Floral-shop owners and life partners, Frankie and Trevor, are keen to expand their business. Local flirt and barmaid, Lola, is keen on Matthew sticking around. And even Harry’s right-hand-man, George, is eager to see her get her life back on track with a helping-hand from Corrigan.

The only person who is opposed to the development is Harry . . . she doesn’t want to lose her one remaining tie to her father. And she doesn’t want to be sweet-talked out of her land by smarmy Matthew Corrigan, no matter how devastatingly charming he may seem.

‘Turning the Tide’ is a contemporary romance novel from debut author, Christina Stovell.

The book does have a slow start, but the meandering plot leaks into the Little Spitmarsh atmosphere. Stovell takes the time to tease out characters and write methodical back story for a cachet of quirky local residents. I particularly liked the side-story about Frankie and Trevor, a homosexual couple who are concerned about the potential media furore Matthew Corrigan could bring to Spitmarsh, and which could inadvertently ‘out’ them. The unhurried pace also helps to create a small-town ambience for Spitmarsh; so that you really do get the feeling that this town is suffocated by its own solitude.

By contrast, Matthew Corrigan is a breath of fresh air. He is swift with a grin and keen to chat with the locals, Harry in particular. Matthew quickly gets over his surprise that Harry Watling isn’t a burly sailor, but rather a prickly pixie. Matthew and Harry come to clash on numerous occasions – and their war of wills quickly becomes the sole spark and juicy gossip in Little Spitmarsh. Harry and Matthew imbue their scenes with deliciously hot tension – as an undercurrent of lust runs between them.
“So you want to turn it into a marine metropolis where your urban escapees can carry on shopping just like they do at home. Well, good luck! Whilst you’re busily polishing up the town, mind you don’t polish it off, won’t you?”
“Thanks for the advice,” he said, getting to his feet. “But there’s no danger of that, I can assure you. I'm beginning to realise that there are some things you can’t bring a sparkle to, no matter how hard you try.”
The novel takes a surprising turn when a closely-guarded family secret is revealed. I'd hate to spoil anything; save to say this careening twist provides a brilliant bit of full-circular closure.

Christine Stovell’s debut novel is a gorgeously quaint contemporary romance. It’s a little bit ‘Vicar of Dibley’, with a splash of Lisa Kleypas and plenty of steamy unrequited love.

5/5

'Turning the Tide' is one of many great titles from independent romance publisher, Choc Lit. This little British publishing house has now made their e-book titles available for Aussie readers (yay!), and they are also shipping paperback titles to our shores (double yay!).
Quite frankly, any publishers that recognize the correlation between romance and chocolate is worth checking out, in my book.

1 comment:

  1. It's a great story, and I loved it. I'm sure all Australian lovers of romantic fiction (and of chocolate) will adore it, too.

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