By Iola Goulton
Another Seaside Romance! Yay!
I’ve read and reread all five of Gayle Roper’s Seaside Christian romance novels, and it’s hard for me to pick a favourite (if asked, I usually pick whichever one I read most recently). My only regret with the series is that the only thing which stays constant is the location and the beachcomber—none of the novels make reference to any of major characters in the other novels. The advantage of this is you can read the novels in any order, but it would be nice to find out what happened to some of the other characters …
While Seaside Gifts is a novella, it takes the same approach as the novels: a romance with a light suspense subplot, but heavily focused on the developing relationship between the hero and heroine, with a heroine who usually has some issues around family to work through (Roper does tend to give her heroines overbearing or problem parents!).
This time the romance is between Nan Patterson, who has recently inherited Present Perfect, a well-known Seaside gift shop, and policeman Roger Eastman. Nan has an unusual problem: leavery. Someone has been sneaking into her store and leaving valuable gifts, such as Royal Doulton figurines. And she expects Roger to solve the mystery. Roger’s more confident with thievery than leavery, but he finds Nan endearingly attractive and wants to help …
Seaside Gifts is a novella, which means it was too short to develop the relationship between Nan and Roger to the degree I would have liked to have seen. It meant the whole romance felt a little rushed—Roger had only known Nan two minutes before he was offering to paint her apartment (well, that might be a slight exaggeration). It simply wasn’t long enough to give enough attention to the romance and the development of the main characters, not to mention the quirky minor characters who seem to inhabit Seaside.
I also thought the number and complexity of the subplots would have been better suited to a full-length novel: there was the main romance plot, the leavery subplot, the Nan-and-her-mother subplot, and another subplot around the store, and I would have liked to have seen them all covered in a little more depth (especially as the subplot added a cozy mystery/light suspense note to the plot, and I’m always a fan of a good romantic suspense).
The result was that while I enjoyed Seaside Gifts, I would have liked it to be longer. (But that’s better than wishing it had been shorter!)
Thanks to Redbud Press for providing a free ebook for review.
I love reading, and read and review around 150 Christian books each year on my blog. I'm a Top 25 Reviewer at Christian Book, in the Top 1% of reviewers at Goodreads, and have an Amazon Reviewer Rank that floats around 2500.