Thursday, June 3, 2021

Message in the Sand by Hannah McKinnon

Wendell Combs is as local as they come. Born and raised in the small town of Saybrook, Connecticut, his venture into the larger world was met with heartbreak. Now, middle-aged and a confirmed bachelor, he seeks solitude from his tour of duty as a soldier back in his hometown, working as head caretaker for wealthy Alan Lancaster’s forty-acre estate, White Pines, a place he has come to love for its beauty, peace, and quiet.

Alan’s eldest daughter, fifteen-year-old Julia, also loves White Pines, but for very different reasons. She and her little sister spend their days riding horses, swimming in the lake, and painting landscapes inspired by the property they adore. While her parents prepare to host their annual summer gala fundraiser, Julia’s eyes are set to the simpler joys of summer: she’s fallen in love with the boy-next-door and longs for their next encounter.

But as the last guests leave on that magical summer night, a tragedy no one could have predicted suddenly occurs, shaking the entire town to its core. Wendell and Julia now face an uncertain future. At the height of their grief, two very different women return to Saybrook: Ginny Foster, Wendell’s first love, who cannot stay away any longer, and Candace Lancaster, Julia’s estranged aunt who wants nothing to do with the town or the family estate she escaped decades earlier. Now, the only familiar things Julia has to cling to are Wendell and White Pines, but it looks like she’s about to lose both...

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Expected publication: June 15th 2021
by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
4/5 stars

I surprised myself on how much I enjoyed this book, I mean that in a good way.  It's a genre I don't usually read a lot of and sometimes it pays to follow a gut instinct.

Message in the Sand is a heartbreaking story that showed the determination in the mist of grief to stand up and well, take a stand.  I was drawn in right away with the writing and the characters.  It's not often that I like most, if not all the players in a book. Here is a cast of characters, each with baggage, heart and afraid to let anyone in. While it might have been a little predictable I enjoyed the journeys that were taken. 

With multiple layers this book was written with feeling and flowed smoothly. There were also a number of different POV's that just rounded this book nicely.

Hannah McKinnon is a new author for me, I'll definitely be on the lookout for more.

My thanks to the publisher (via Netgalley) for a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.

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