Fresh out of college and newly married, twenty-something Kira plans the perfect future with a house in the suburbs, ski getaways, and fancy dinners. When her husband Jeremy dies in a car accident, loss casts her adrift, but her heart cracks wide open when she uncovers the secrets he left behind.
Despite her dislike for the ocean with the whipping wind and itchy sand, Kira seeks solace in salt: tears, sweat, and the sea, helping her move beyond the myth of perfection, and guiding her toward the truth of who she really is.
She takes surf lessons to overcome her fear of the water and her well of grief. In the local surf scene, she meets sultry Jamie, with a hot Australian accent. He’s eager to spend time with her, but mostly between the sheets. Then there’s soulful Ian, her surf instructor, who helps her get on her feet and ride the waves.
During a transformative trip to South Africa on surfari, she learns the best way to be loved, yet when she returns to the shores of New England, grief continues to haunt her. She must let go, but how? Torn between the tides, Kira discovers strength and courage, navigates loss, lust, and love, taking readers along for the plunge.
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This was not a light-hearted fluffy romance. It starts out with the heroine feeling lonely and only gets worse from there as the life she thought she had disintegrates. I am not usually up for these types of stories as I like to bask in happy feelings rather than depressing ones, but this story balanced things so well that I feel like I have been shortchanging myself by skipping some of the deeper stories that are out there.
The story is mostly about the heroine’s emotional journey. She tried to define herself by her strict vision of perfection and slowly breaks down the mold she has boxed herself into as the story progresses. She develops new friendships, discovers new hobbies, and makes some very difficult decisions. The story straddles the Women’s Fiction/Romance classification as there is quite a bit of personal growth but the romance is sweet and substantive and not to be dismissed.
My favorite aspects of the story are that the true romance doesn’t develop until the heroine is ready to undertake a real relationship and that there are emotional relapses. The author doesn’t paint an overly rosy picture of the heroine trucking along on her journey to happiness. The heroine struggles throughout to not only dig herself out of her funk but stay out of it. I’ve always been a little envious of the surf culture which was part of the book’s draw for me initially but it really provided the perfect counterpoint to the life she had defined for herself. She made a lot of decisions which conflicted with my own innate sense of vindication but were ultimately the best for her mental well-being.
If you are in the mood for a book about self-discovery with a happily ever after and are prepared to endure coping with some pretty devastating circumstances, this is a must read. If not, you should still read this to break up the monotony of mindless fluff (not an insult, I am a big fan of mindless fluff…).
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an HONEST review*
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