Wednesday 16 March 2022

Guest Review: Love Blooms at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Bestselling author Alex Nelson is slowly coming apart at the seams after a failed marriage and an abrupt change in career leave him at a crossroads in life. When an unexpected opportunity arises to escape to the idyllic village of Mermaids Point, he’s hot on the heels of his brother, Tom, who has recently moved there. Buying a rundown bookshop might be just his latest harebrained scheme, but Alex has never been one to do things by halves.

After spending her early years caring for her mother, Ivy Fisher is finally ready to start living her own life. But when the impossibly charming, impossibly good-looking Alex Nelson swoops in and snatches her dream out from under her nose, it really is the last straw. Forced by circumstances to spend more time with him, Ivy finally gets a peek of the real man beneath the confident exterior, and she likes what she sees.

But just when things are starting to come together for them, Ivy is reminded why men can never be trusted. Is Alex who he says he is, or is he using Mermaids Point as nothing more than research fodder for his next bestseller?

Review: This is the fourth book in a series about events in the lives of people living in the lovely seaside town of Mermaids Point. In the first three books, readers have got to know several recurring characters, as well as newcomers, who are always welcomed in by the caring community. All of the books can be read as stand-clones, but I would advise reading them all in order, as they make up an enjoyable and satisfying saga. The author has thoughtfully provided at the beginning of the book a list of characters and their place in the stories as an aide memoire for returning readers and a guide for those new to the series. In common with earlier books in the series, this one has an attractive and inviting cover depicting the story’s setting. As anticipated, I was drawn into this latest story from the very beginning and eagerly followed events therein.

This is the story of writer Alex Nelson, a relatively new visitor to Mermaids Point, and local girl Ivy Fisher, who has just lost her mother after a long illness. Alex has met seamstress and craft enthusiast Ivy on previous visits to the town and has found himself intrigued and attracted to her. He is also drawn to the warm and peaceful atmosphere of Mermaids Point itself. Looking for a new start near to his brother who has taken over as Mermaids Point’s GP, Alex sets his sights on the town’s rundown bookshop, which is currently for sale. However, he has no idea that Ivy had plans for the building. She is disappointed not to be in a position to buy the shop, but she and Alex reach an agreement to run their businesses together there. It looks as though there may be more than a business relationship developing between the pair, but a revelation about Alex’s past makes Ivy suspect that she may not know the real man at all. 

As with the previous three books in this series, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and found it a quick and easy read, not wishing to put it down until its conclusion. Once again, I was pulled into the lives of the characters and attracted to the town itself, with its welcoming feel. The story this time had Alex and Ivy centre stage, with some but not a great deal of involvement from other recurring characters. I felt for Ivy with difficulties caused by her estranged father heaped on top of her grief, but I also felt that Alex would be there to shield her when needed - what a supportive character. Even with lots going on in his life, he was so considerate of her needs. Just as in her other books, Sarah Bennett has succeeded in drawing the reader into the world of her characters, feeling their every emotion. I can’t wait to find out what she has in store next for the inhabitants of Mermaids Point.

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