Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: Sunset Bridge by Emilie Richards

Sunset Bridge
~Emilie Richards

Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: June 28, 2011
ISBN-10: 0778312380
ISBN-13: 978-0778312383

From the author's website:
Five very different women find friendship–and unexpected love–on the barrier island known as Happiness Key.

Former socialite Tracy Deloche has nothing to her name but five ramshackle beach cottages and the unlikely friendships she's formed with her tenants: Wanda, the wise waitress turned popular pie-shop owner. Janya, the young Indian wife whose arranged marriage surprises her every day. Alice, a widow raising her complex tween-age granddaughter. Maggie, Wanda's daughter, a former Miami cop with a love life as complicated as Tracy's own.

The new man in Tracy's life hasn't mentioned love or commitment–and suddenly Tracy needs a big dose of both. Janya longs to be a mother–and inherits two young siblings to care for. Alice may lose her beloved granddaughter to someone no one expected. Maggie helps out at Wanda's Wonderful Pies, but is the kitchen big enough for both Gray women when one of them is looking for a murderer?

As a tropical storm brews, the wind carries surprises and secrets over the bridge to Happiness Key. Now, more than ever, five friends will discover just how much they need one another.
Sunset Bridge is the third book in a trilogy about the lives of four women living in a small community in Florida:

Tracy Deloche lived a life of luxury until her husband was arrested for fraud and the feds took almost everything they owned. Tracy has been dating Marsh Egan, a conservation activist, for a few months,and has just found out she's pregnant.  She doesn't know yet if Marsh cares for her, but she knows she wants this baby.

WandaGray is an older woman who used to be a waitress but fulfilled her dream of opening her own pie shop. Wanda's daughter, Maggie, has just quit her job as a police officer in Miami and left her long-term boyfriend to come to Happiness Key to help her mother in her pie shop and to think.  Her boyfriend still wants her in his life, and she's also met someone else who might be fun to spend some time with.

Janya Kapur is a young wife from India who loves her husband although it was an arranged marriage. Janya wants children but previously learned her husband is unable to have children.  When a horrible tragedy strikes a young couple they've recently met, their young children are left in the care of Janya and her husband.  But Janya and her husband are sure the tragedy is not what it seems at first glance.

Alice, a grandmother who's unexpectedly raising her teenaged granddaughter. Alice is tired.  She's getting older and is having a hard time keeping up with the demands of being parent to a teenage girl.

These women have formed a close friendship in their tiny community of five homes on the island of Happiness Key. 

My thoughts:
Whew! There's a lot going on in Sunset Bridge! I did not read the first book in this series, Happiness Key, but I did read Book 2, Fortunate Harbor, so I knew who the characters are and where they are in life.

I liked the pacing in this book. With so many stories to keep track of, normally I'd be all over the place trying to keep track of who was where, but with Sunset Bridge that wasn't a problem. It felt like the story was moving slowly but there was so much going on that I stayed interested.  I liked the introduction of Wanda's daughter, Maggie. She's the kind of character that I don't usually see in women's fiction (I have not read too many books in this genre so don't hold me to that) and I really liked her character - tough, self sufficient, stubborn to a fault; but she's also smart, good-hearted and helpful. It was her involvement in Janya's part of the book that I was most interested in.

I liked all the characters except Tracy: Tracy is the character I had a problem with in Fortunate Harbor.  This time around her weight was pretty low-key but her attitude towards Marsh really drove me nuts.  Other than Tracy though, I liked the women and their quiet support of each other.  Their weekly meals together, their willingness to assist, even their occasional snaps at each other, all shows the reader a family, if not in name.

Sunset Bridge ends with a bang - I was flipping pages quickly as the occupants of Happiness Key were cast about in a chain of events that left them (and me) breathless; it was a wonderful end to the trilogy. Oh, and for those who read Fortunate Harbor, there's a nice little blip about the owners of the restaurant that fired Wanda; it was the best thing that ever happened to her!

My Rating:

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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