Though I was born on the West Coast of Florida, I was only a baby when my family moved to the West Coast of the United States. I was in my late twenties when I first returned.
My husband and I both had business in Florida, and while we were there, decided to take a drive out to Clearwater Beach. We took off our shoes and rolled up our pant legs and wandered down to the shore. The moment I stuck my toes in the water, I knew we weren’t “in Kansas anymore”. For those of you who have never been to the Gulf, the water is warm. Almost like bathwater. Not like large bodies of water are supposed to be.
As we strolled along the water’s edge, a young boy was playing in the water ahead of us and starting shouting excitedly. When we neared, he asked, “wanna see a sand dollar?” He had a live sand dollar! It was one of the most unusual things I’ve seen.
Second Chance in Paradise
by Jennifer Peel
Publication Date May 4, 2018
Genres: Clean Romance
Setting: Alabama Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
A first love that deserves a second chance.
Doctoral student Holland Reeves may have aced every class she’s ever taken, but when it comes to life outside her lab, she finds she has more meaningful relationships with test tubes and pipettes than she does with people. That all changes when a surprise wedding invitation arrives, forcing her to return to the small coastal town of Paradise and the Clairborne Resort, where she left her first dream of being Mrs. Clairborne to begin the dream of becoming Dr. Reeves. There she must face her past and, to her surprise, the only man she ever loved, Porter Clairborne, the prodigal son who has unexpectedly returned.
Together, Holland and Porter must decide if their love deserves a second chance, and if Paradise will finally live up to its name or forever remain a town of broken dreams.
Holland’s first foray into Paradise was as a teenager when she worked at the Clairborne Resort. When she fell in love with Porter Clairborne. When she had her heart broken right there on the beautiful white sands of the Gulf of Mexico.
What an interesting character Holland was! Most likely because of her tragic childhood, she threw herself wholeheartedly into her studies and was a brilliant student. She had a quirky habit of reciting the Periodic Table of Elements when she got nervous, spouted random facts at the most awkward times (like right before a kiss!), and referred to almost everything by its scientific name. She was the epitome of the stereotypical, geeky, scientific nerd with the exception being that she was beautiful.
Porter was the spoiled rich kid, yet he felt that he could never gain his father’s approval and so he escaped from the family as soon as he was old enough. He was handsome, confident (mostly), and determined to win Holland back. I loved the way he wouldn’t take no for an answer when he tried to get her to spend time with him.
My favorite character, however, was his step-mom, who had a heart of gold. The way she embraced Holland and befriended her was so touching. And the way she pretended she didn’t know the secret her husband and step-son thought they were keeping from her was so cute.
I especially loved the way that not only was Holland and Porter’s story told here, but also the romance between his father and stepmother. The way they were incorporated into the story was perfect.
As with all of Jennifer Peel’s books, there was great conflict, humor, and swoon-worthy romance. Just be aware that the kisses are described in detail and the characters talk about the physical desire they have for one another. Yet as with all her books, there is a determination by the characters to remain pure until marriage and the story is a clean read.