cover image Sea of Love

Sea of Love

Susan Donovan. Signet Select, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-41928-6

The first entry in Donovan’s new series is a lovely blend of romance and women’s fiction. Neither Rowan Flynn nor Ashton Louis Wallace is looking for love. Rowan has slunk home to Bayberry Island—“the Key West of New England,” where locals and tourists alike dress in costumes and there are brawls between rival gangs of fairies and mermaids—after her fiancé turned out to be a con man. Ash is on the island undercover, working for a real estate developer trying to buy the Flynns’ land. When Ashton unwillingly becomes the Mermaid Festival’s bachelor mascot, the magic of the festival and the island works on both of them. Rowan and Ashton’s instant, intense attraction steams up the pages, but Donovan’s real triumph is turning them into complex characters who share a believable connection and are fun without being wacky. As they encourage each other to grow, plausible inner and outer conflicts turn into great chemistry and a satisfying conclusion. (Dec.)