Sweet Salt Air - Barbara Delinsky
Release Date - June 2013
St. Martin's Press
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
Barbara Delinsky is not only one of my favorite authors, I also hold great deal of respect for her. More than a decade ago, a friend of the family, someone who was like a second mother to me growing up, lost a long battle with breast cancer. Her family was stunned when they received a condolence card from Ms. Delinsky. They were also thrilled when they learned that some of Sarah's tips were in the non-fiction book Uplift. Each of her daughters cherishes their copy of that book.
Anyway, I was delighted to see her new book, Sweet Salt Air, held a setting that is very dear to me, and also to Sarah's family, as the family owns a summer home on one of the islands off the coast of Maine.
Charlotte and Nicole grew up together on the island of Quinnipeague. Since Nicole's marriage, they've stayed in touch, but haven't gotten together. Charlotte travels everywhere as a journalist, and Nicole's been a devoted wife and step-mother. Nicole's food has taken off over the past few years, and she wants to reunite with Nicole to create a book about the herbs and recipes associated with their island.
Charlotte holds a secret. One that she knows would destroy her friendship with Nicole. Nicole, too, is hiding things and fears what will happen if Charlotte finds out. The longer they work together, the more they risk revealing their long-hidden secret.
Meanwhile, Charlotte finds herself drawn to the town's recluse. He's not exactly a stranger, she knew of him when they were kids, but he and his mother never welcomed people onto their land. Charlotte's curiosity gets the better of her, and she finds herself falling for this man. It's the first time she's truly loved a man, and it's all new to her. He's battling his own demons too, and that doesn't make for an easy relationship.
I loved Sweet Salt Air. It is so clear that Ms. Delinsky has been to some of the islands on Maine. There's a little haven I know of, and as I read the novel, I wondered if she'd stayed at the same cottage. The description of a beach house with all the bedrooms upstairs, the beach just down the steps, and then the huge great room that combined the living room/dining area, overseen by a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, that was so totally Nezinscot cottage. I know her fictional Quinnipeague is farther north than Bailey Island, but the setting and characters seemed so similar.
This book made me laugh, cry, and simply fall in love with the characters, especially Leo and Charlotte. I was sad when it ended, mainly because I wanted to stay part of their world forever!