Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky

Pages: 406
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 18, 2013
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole's coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees. But what both women don't know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own."
Nicole hasn't seen her former best friend, Charlotte, in ten years.  When Nicole, a food blogger, has an opportunity to write a cook book about the local food from her beloved island off of Maine, she asks for Charlotte's help. This is because Charlotte also loves the island and she is a writer herself, jet setting off to various magazine assignments throughout the year.  They are staying at Nicole's parents' summer house and are hoping it will be like summers of the past, but Charlotte has distanced herself from Nicole over the years, not just because of her job assignments, but because of a deep secret.  A secret that she is hoping won't come out this summer.  Both girls are busy with writing their cook book, interviewing locals, and catching up.  Nicole has left her husband back in Philadelphia, as he is busy with his work, but he's also battling MS. She is hoping the time away from each other will do them good as things have been less than stellar.  Charlotte also meets a local, Leo, who captures her interest and reminds her of the protagonist of Salt, a novel both girls are reading and discussing.  Secrets unravel bit by bit in Sweet Salt Air and as both girls spend more time together, these secrets slowly float to the surface.  Sweet Salt Air is a thoughtful beach read; one that is slow moving and gentle, much like a warm tropical breeze.  

Nicole was my least favorite character in Sweet Salt Air, which surprised me since I thought a food blogger would pique my interest.  That wasn't the case. She wallowed in self-pity and claimed she wanted to work on things with her husband, but I never fully got that vibe from her.  I mean they didn't even spend the majority of the summer together and she often didn't say what she needed to say to him.  Nonetheless, I felt for her as she dealt with the secret of Julian's MS; plus, she finds out a secret about his past, one that will directly impact her world.

On the other hand, Charlotte was a fun character in Sweet Salt Air. I was drawn to her storyline a bit more as she is adventurous and fun. She's intrigued by local bad boy, Leo, and finds herself visiting his house quite often with the hopes of learning more about him as well as his mother who cultivated the island's best herb farm.  She learns more about Leo and perhaps he isn't just a bad boy…perhaps there's more to him than the townspeople think.  Charlotte and Leo's blossoming relationship was the best part of the story for me.

Delinsky does a good job of capturing what life is like when you are dealing with someone who is battling a disease. Julian has many doctor appointments and many important decisions to face. It played a bigger role in Sweet Salt Air than I initially thought it would. Plus, there's the fact that he hides his MS from co-workers and family members, including his own kids.  Nicole has to deal with this on a daily basis, which is very tough for her.  Things get even more complicated when Julian wants to pursue experimental procedures, which also sends Nicole for a tailspin.   

I had a few issues with Sweet Salt Air in that it was a s-l-o-w read at times and the characters, especially Nicole, marinated in the same problem or feeling for quite awhile.  She definitely fixated on things.  So, you have to be patient when reading Sweet Salt Air as the drama takes time to unravel.

If you are looking for a thoughtful beach read that focuses on friendship, secrets, and the importance of forgiveness, give Sweet Salt Air a try this summer, but if you are looking for a fast-paced beach read, I urge you to look elsewhere.




12 comments:

  1. You have peaked my interest. I'd like to spend the day on the beach with this book. Thank you.

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    1. It's definitely a beach read, but it's slow at times, so be forewarned. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. Hm. Not sure this is the book for me Christina! I like that it seems solidly character driven, but I think Nicole and her wallowing would drive me crazy at times. As would the very slow pacing. The cover is absolutely gorgeous though, and I"m glad there were a couple aspects of the story that held your interest!

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    1. Nicole sort of drove me nuts. To be honest, what kept me reading was the budding romance between Leo and Charlotte. I adore the cover though…beautiful design! Thanks for visiting, Jenny!

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  3. It's interesting to hear about a deeper sort of beach read. I look for light, fun and uplifting in my summer books, so I'm not sure this is for me, but I do like the overall sound of it - and the romance. Lovely honest review, Christina.

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    1. I wasn't sure if it was for me, but the romance between Leo and Charlotte was "light" enough to keep me turning the pages. Nicole and Julian's romance was definitely a downer though. Thank you for dropping by, Melissa!

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  4. I think I like my beach reads with a little more drama and spice. Ha! This one might just be a little on the slow (tame) side for me!

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    1. Haha. I agree. It was a bit tame for me and slow at times, but the new romance hooked me. Thanks for visiting, Leanna!

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  5. Ugh - characters who wallow in self-pity become frustrating very quickly. Charlotte, at least, sounds like a good character!

    Nice honest review :)

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    1. Yes, very frustrating…I agree! Charlotte was my favorite character, especially her relationship with Leo. Thanks for visiting, Lea!

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  6. I'm not sure if this book is a good pick for me but I thought the premise sounded interesting, especially with Nicole being a food blogger. Thanks for your review and giving readers a good idea of the characters and flow of the novel.

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    1. Yes, you definitely have to have patience and let things flow….perfect if you have a long day at the beach or pool. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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I really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

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