cover image Summer by the Tides

Summer by the Tides

Denise Hunter. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-7852-2270-5

Secrets, forgiveness, and love await three estranged sisters who come together to rescue their grandmother in this pleasant, inspirational tale from Hunter (The Convenient Groom). After Maddy Monroe receives an alarming phone call from her grandmother’s neighbor, she gladly leaves behind her floundering restaurant career and cheating boyfriend for Seahaven, N.C., to figure out why Gram vanished. She is surprised when her sisters arrive shortly thereafter, all of whom had been called by the worried neighbor, handsome dock and restaurant owner Connor Sullivan. Competitive tension between sisters Nora and Emma goes back 20 years, so Maddy leaves them alone and takes on a temporary job helping Connor with his restaurant. Sparks soon fly between the two of them, but Maddy’s recent romantic woes make her gun shy, while Connor is conflicted about dating again after the death of his wife a few years prior. Sorting through and cleaning up the cottage brings back long-buried memories, and the sisters discover that the past isn’t exactly as they remember it. Hunter does an excellent job of using the sisters’ situations to probe the dynamics of family dysfunction and the long-term effects of childhood trauma. While faith elements are subtle, the believable heartaches of Hunter’s characters and the organic plot will please her many fans and win her new ones. (May)