Sweet Salt Air is the latest from New York Times bestselling novelist Barbara Delinsky, who has thirty million+ copies of her books in print and has been published in twenty-eight languages. She holds degrees in psychology and sociology. A lifelong New Englander, she currently resides in Needham, Massachusetts and is fond of knitting, photography, and cats.
About this book: Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.
But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own.
Genre: Fiction/Women’s Fiction
Judge this book by its cover? Loved the cover and so wanted to love the book…
Reminds me of…Elin Hilderbrand
Buy or borrow? Personally, I’d borrow, though I expect many will want to buy.
Why did I read this book? Received it from Wunderkind PR/St. Martin’s Press for review.
Would I read another by this author? Doubt it, though I’d love to be surprised.
My take: I was delighted to receive this luscious-looking beach read to review and saved it for my family’s own summer island vacation in June. I expected it to be a wonderful complement to that experience. I’d read one or two of Delinsky’s novels years ago, and thought them just okay, but lured by the publisher’s promise of a “new” Barbara Delinsky, I was very eager to give this one a try.
Like Delinsky’s other books (at least the ones I’ve read), Sweet Salt Air is character-driven women’s fiction with friendship and romance at its core. As an author with degrees in both psych and sociology, Delinsky is a writer who can do satisfying, deep character dives. She also knows how to pull together an intriguing cast of characters, give them interesting, complicated histories and shoulder them with page-turning problems while gifting them with Twitter-worthy careers. Not only that, she understands the draw of setting them all in a unique, historic locale.
With all that going for it, I should have loved this book. I certainly wanted to.
We all know that evaluating a book is such a very subjective thing. That’s why most of us will read several different reviews before deciding whether a book is right for us. So though this book didn’t send me, I would totally expect it to launch the next reader over the moon. As noted, it has so much in its favor. And yet, for whatever reason, it didn’t click for me. I can call out a few specifics. The dialogue sometimes felt unnatural–a little too explain-y between good friends. I also felt it telegraphed too early the reclusive local’s secret identity.
Knowing that Delinsky is revered as a storyteller who weaves together complex themes into a satisfying whole makes me I fear I’m missing the boat. But there it is. This book didn’t fit my bill, but there’s no reason to think it won’t fit yours.
Thanks to Wunderkind PR and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.