ON SUNSET BEACH                               MARIAH STEWART
Posted:  Aug.  8/21/14

On Sunset Beach by Mariah StewartCarly Summit’s name couldn’t be more fitting, since in life she always lands on top. She grew up wealthy and privileged in a tony Connecticut town, opened her own gallery in New York City, and is about to make art world history displaying previously unknown works by a prominent twentieth-century painter. No wonder she possesses a can-do attitude that can’t be soured. Ford Sinclair is another story. A military career in war-torn Africa, where he witnessed unspeakable violence and suffering, has left him haunted and deeply cynical. Now he’s looking for a way to forget and a place to belong. He hopes to find both back home in St. Dennis.

When Carly is forced to move the premiere of her new exhibition from Manhattan to St. Dennis, and Ford agrees to take charge of the town’s only newspaper, the two cross paths. But it’s hardly the start of a beautiful friendship. While Ford can’t ignore her charms, Carly’s unflappable good cheer only confounds him. Yet beneath Ford’s stormy brooding, Carly sees a man worth caring about—even if her warmest ways can’t thaw his frozen heart. But when a scandal suddenly threatens to destroy Carly’s career, Ford finds himself fighting hard for her—and falling for her even harder.

     This book starts out with an entry into Grace Sinclair’s diary talking about her son Ford being away.  And that he is coming home from Africa.  What he was doing there is still not clear whatever it was has left him haunted, lonely, scarred, scared, and leery.  Yet, he takes nothing for granted, because what he saw and did while he was gone, he will never forget.  Now what he used to call home all seems so foreign to him now.
     Ellie Ryder had found many, many drawings and paintings and different mediums of art in her attic, so she gave them to her friend Carly Summit to look over and see if they were worth anything.  Well, her great-great grandmother paintings are and she wants to sleep on them for now until she can decide whether she needs or wants to sell them to do what she does best exhibit them.
     Then, there’s a monkey wrench that the city council throws out.  They have decided that the Enright house could be better used as an Art Museum to spot light hometown artist such as Grace Sinclair’s friend and Ellie Ryder’s great-great grandmother Carolina Ellis’ artwork which seems to fetch a pretty penny in the art world these days.  Which means Ellie has to tell Carly it’s a No go at her Gallery in New York.  Carly comes to St. Dennis to see if it will meet the needs for the exhibit, conditions, and security.
     While she is there Grace has a welcome home party for Ford, not knowing he really doesn’t want one.  Carly and Ford meet without exchanging names now let’s see what fate brings their way…”You had me from hello,” says it all.  This was a slow budding romance that is tender.  Built on history and family.  Yet, not from the view point of the woman’s history although she is the one learning and loving the lore of it.
     These stories come from Ford, Grace’s son, the one sees basically considers her a wanderer. Yet, really what we the reader find out as well as Carly is that Ford is filled with all kinds of St. Dennis lore and historical tidbits making him the perfect person to take over the newspaper.  If only he would stop fighting Grace.
     I love this couple and how this author allows her characters to unfold at a slow pace and gracefully, without a hard push.  You get a sense of watching it all unfold in front of you.  The way she uses the diary entrees for Grace as a part of the story makes it more personal. 
I give this 5 stars.  Provided by net galley.
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