Wednesday 19 July 2023

Guest Review: Escape to Starshine Cove by Debbie Johnson

Ella steps through the gate, and within seconds is standing at the edge of the most perfect beach she’s ever seen – a small horseshoe of sand fringing a rolling blanket of sparkling turquoise sea. Breathing in the fresh, salty air, she wipes the tears from her cheeks. Surely, in a place as beautiful as this, she can finally be happy?

Ella Farrell has reached breaking point. Shattered by her job and her boyfriend’s recent betrayal, she grabs her stuff and flees down the coast. When her car breaks down a few miles short of Cornwall, she’s astonished by where she’s ended up. Not on any map, the tiny seaside village of Starshine Cove is almost too perfect for words. A cobbled lane lined with pretty, thatched cottages slopes towards a pristine white beach… has she finally lost it, or is this place for real?

Spotting a little café on the edge of the cove, Ella settles in. It’s not long before – with a wedge of homemade raspberry cheesecake in front of her – Ella finds herself promising Connie, the café’s Dolly Parton-lookalike owner, that she might just stick around.

As days turn into weeks, Ella warms to the quirky little village and the people who live there. Particularly Jake, the broad-shouldered, dark-haired landlord of the Starshine Inn. As they sip cocktails together at sundown, Ella feels they’ve been friends for years… except that her heart does a little flip-flop whenever their eyes meet. Jake also came to Starshine Cove by chance – was he too trying to run away from something?

Just as Ella begins to feel the tension she’s carried for so long beginning to ease, the past comes knocking on her rustic, driftwood door. Will Ella find the strength to embrace this place and forge a new path, or is Starshine Cove – and her growing connection with Jake – simply too good a dream to last?

Review: This is the first book in a new series from Debbie Johnson that centres on Starshine Cove, a beautiful and magical bay and community in Dorset that I wished was real by the end of this story.

The tale concerns doctor Ella Farrell who has reached a crisis in her life, which has finally culminated in her fleeing home after catching her long-term partner cheating on her. After travelling around aimlessly for a few days, her car breaks down and, seeking help, she wanders down a path that opens out onto the most perfect beach she has ever seen. Further exploration reveals a village of small dwellings and businesses and a collection of truly warm and welcoming people who persuade her to stay for a while. At the Starshine Inn, she meets strikingly handsome landlord Jake, who also wandered into the Cove by chance and decided to stay. As the days and weeks go by, Ella gradually begins to feel part of the community and that maybe this is where she belongs. She also feels more and more attracted to Jake. However, a near tragedy has her realising that perhaps she should rethink her future and that Starshine Cove and her relationship with Jake could be just too good to be true.

I absolutely loved this charming, heart-warming and romantic story, with its incredible setting and amazing characters. There is a lot of the trademark Debbie Johnson comedy throughout the story, but also some very serious and heartbreaking back stories and moments for all the characters. Ella herself has had a hard few years and deserves a large dose of TLC, but others in the little village have also suffered hard times that had tears running down my cheeks as they were related. The stories of cafe owner Connie and elderly resident George are particularly poignant. It would be remiss of me not to mention perhaps the most important character of all - Larry, a stray dog befriended by Ella as she arrived at Starshine Cove, who became her faithful companion through thick and thin. This is a book that I recommend to all. Fans of Debbie Johnson will probably, like me, recognise echoes of her Comfort Food Cafe series which I also enjoyed immensely. I am already looking forward to the next book in this series, a taster for which is included at the end of this book.

To order your copy now, just click here!

No comments:

Post a Comment