At Wave's End by Patricia Perry Donovan

Setting: New Jersey
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: August 15, 2017

When Hurricane Irene hit Vermont in 2011, the storm left many areas in tatters. You can still see signs of the hurricane's damages when you're driving on some roads and in some towns. Situations were just as bad, if not worse, along much of the East Coast during Hurricane Sandy. At Wave's End: A Novel is based on Hurricane Sandy.

Rising chef Faith Sterling loves her work in an up-and-coming Manhattan restaurant. Her boss may have borrowed money from her to get it off the ground, but the restaurant's starting to thrive. Hurricane Nadine floods the restaurant and leaves her boss figuring out what to do next.

Meanwhile, Faith's headed to Wave's End, New Jersey, to talk some sense into her mom. Her mom wrote an essay and won a bed and breakfast on the Jersey Shore. The same hurricane pummels the area where the bed and breakfast is located. Faith uses her unplanned break from work to pitch in and help out after many residents are stranded and have no place to live.

As Faith dives in, she starts to see her mom in a new light. Secrets are revealed, and Faith finds herself enjoying this beach town but questioning all she's known. Faith's always wanted more. Now that she feels like she's part of a community, she learns that nothing may be as it seems and that the inn's future may be in jeopardy. She's never really believed in her mom's whims. Is this bed and breakfast even worth fighting for?

Strengths and Weaknesses

Faith's not my favorite character and that made it tough to love this book. She's a bit obnoxious honestly. My annoyance with her started quickly with her complaints about her friend's pregnancy and having to find a new apartment. From there, it was "my mom's an idiot" and "great now I have to go save my mom from horrible business decisions." Her attitude bugged me from the start.

With that in mind, why did I keep reading it? I l loved some of the minor characters. Connie, Faith's mom, is a strong woman. I also liked the original owner, Maeve. She may not have been as business savvy as the others, but when it came to an emotional connection, she won me over. I also loved the single mom who moves into the bed and breakfast along with her troubled teen. I felt a connection to all of them and wanted to see how things played out.

RTR's Bottom Line

I've been an advocate for most of the Lake Union Publishing novels to reach my desk. This one is another strong contender. Even with my annoyance with Faith, the setting, minor characters, and the community had me hooked. It's a sweet, easy read that leaves you feeling content.


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