As any good author knows, the clearest path to getting their books recognized and their names on the Bestsellers List is to bring in more fans. An author’s fan is part of their livelihood, their main reason to why they craft their words so ingeniously. But in order for an author to keep and grow their fanbase, the stories must be compelling, gripping, and their characters come alive in your mind. Thus is the case with Mariah Stewart, and the books she writes help readers become a part of her literary world.
In the 11th book of the Chesapeake Diaries series by Mariah Stewart, The Chesapeake Bride tells the tale of two individuals who couldn’t be more different on the surface. Cassie is a well-known architect working on a new development project for her father’s company and Owen is the prodigal and carefree great-grandson of the town’s famous matriarch. And while neither one of them have the desire to settle down with that “special” someone anytime soon, circumstances bring them together immediately and a growing friendship develops. Cass and Owen are not your typical insta-love heroine and hero in The Chesapeake Bride, but the chemistry is there albeit a bit of animosity in the most friendly of ways.
Whether you’ve read the Chesapeake Diaries or not, The Chesapeake Bride can be read as a standalone with familiar characters from previous series woven into the story. I didn’t instantly like Owen, the main male lead, as I usually try to do in contemporary romance novels. But like most other cocky, sure-of-themselves alpha males, their hidden softness and vulnerability slowly shines through, like peeling away years of tough camouflage. Owen’s character is that typical male, where letting their defenses down is unspeakable until an intelligent, sensitive, yet spunky woman breaks down those layers. There is a certain mystery to Owen that slowly reveals itself towards the end of the story and I am left with a satisfactory resolution to Owen’s personality.
While Owen wasn’t instantly likeable (although he was supposed to be a “ladies man”), I really enjoyed Cassie’s tenacity, and her way of not letting anyone undermine her own values and beliefs. Ms. Stewart has a clever way of writing her heroines in a way that makes you cheer for them yet also relate to their hardships and triumphs. What made Cassie even more amiable was her determination to be herself and not fall into Owen’s charms. While Owen wasn’t a womanizer by any means, he was perplexed as to why Cassie didn’t immediately fall into him, and that’s what made the story even more enjoyable to read.
Mariah Stewart is an accomplished writer, being able to masterly weave her characters into each other’s lives yet never feeling it was forced. The Chesapeake Bride is rich with history and folklore. I felt like I was right there at Chesapeake Bay with all of the funny, quirky, and endearing characters. When you pick up Ms. Stewart’s books, you are enriched with historical knowledge and you find the townsfolk in The Chesapeake Bride are as interesting as your own neighbors.
*** The Chesapeake Bride is a Simon and Schuster imprint and is currently on sale wherever books are sold. The Chesapeake Bride is a clean contemporary romance novel set in current times but intersperses with historical data and artifacts set in between the US States of Maryland and Virginia. There is a HEA ending with a tiny bit of controversy between Owen and another character but overall I believe you will enjoy this light, fun, and entertaining story.
*** New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis with THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (Pocket Books; August 29, 2017; $7.99), the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.
Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.
Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens. Visit her website at mariahstewart.com, like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram at mariah_stewart_books.
Check out some of the other bloggers who are also on this blog tour: http://hardlyagoddess.com/; http://reviewsbycacb.blogspot.com/; http://freshfiction.com/book.php?id=90906
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Publishing and Mariah Stewart for the ARC.
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