After tragedy upends her world, Jeannette Mason retreats to the tiny Oregon seaside town of Hope Harbor to create a new life. Vowing to avoid emotional attachments, she focuses on running her lavender farm and tea-room—until a new neighbor with a destructive dog and a forlorn little girl invades her turf. But she needn't worry. Dr. Logan West is too busy coping with an unexpected family, a radical lifestyle change, and an unruly pup to have any interest in his aloof and disagreeable neighbor.
Yet when both Jeanette and Logan find themselves pulled into the life of a tattered Christian family fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria, might they discover that love sometimes comes calling when it's least expected?
Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites readers back to the charming seaside town of Hope Harbor, where they are sure to find peace, healing, and a second chance at happiness.
Irene Hannon, who writes both contemporary romance and romantic suspense, is the author of more than 60 novels. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA awards from Romance Writers of America (the “Oscar” of romance fiction) and she is a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. She has also received a Career Achievement award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. Other awards for individual books include National Readers' Choice, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Retailers Choice, Booksellers' Best, and Reviewers' Choice from RT Book Reviews. She is also a two-time Christy award finalist.
A former corporate communications executive with a Fortune 500 company, Irene now writes full time. To learn more about Irene and her books, visit www.irenehannon.com.
Driftwood Bay returns readers to Hope Harbor, where faith and romance, friendship and community come together to give hope and new beginnings.
Jeanette likes the privacy her little lavender farm and tea rooms in Hope Harbor give her. She is good at shutting out the world and she likes it that way. When Logan West and his niece, along with their boisterous beagle, move next door they, along with the new refugee family in town, threaten the walls Jeanette has built around her heart. Will she let them in and risk her heart again, or will fear keep her from the chance of love and new friends.
I have really enjoyed reading the Hope Harbor series. Each book, with its laidback and charming setting and strong collection of friends, is relaxing and an easy book to sink into. However, I have enjoyed some of the other titles in the series more than I enjoyed this latest instalment. Driftwood Bay, despite a few exciting moments, is a slow-paced book. Complications arise due to the reluctance of each of the characters to integrate with each other. Logan’s niece is unwilling to respond to his care, Jeanette doesn’t want to become entangled with Logan and his niece Molly, nor with the community at large, and members of the Shabos family, a new refugee family recently moved to town, feel isolated and removed from the community.
There are some sweet moments as these characters slowly learn to welcome others in. There are also some familiar moments from previous books with Charley giving sage advice and chatting to his animal friends. However, the romance fell a little flat for me. While Logan can be commended for his care of Molly and his endless desire to help and love her, I did not like the way he goes about convincing Jeanette to give him a chance. A kiss given without warning just after a conversation where she tells him she’s not interested was unexpected. I will be interested to hear what other readers think, but to me the relationship between Logan and Jeanette felt manipulative and lacked true emotional depth. I think I was disappointed by this story because I have loved the previous titles of the Hope Harbor series so much, all of which I can highly recommend.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library
Ahh, I'm so happy right now! Irene Hannon is an incredibly talented author and knows how to weave together a cohesive plot with realistic and loveable characters. It is no wonder she is a seven-time RITA Award finalist and three-time winner. But I will be honest and say that I tend to be skeptical of her works—particularly her romances—as they just aren’t always my cup of tea. But when I saw Driftwood Bay, the synopsis really grabbed my attention, so I thought I’d give another a try. And I am very glad I did!
From chapter one, I fell in love with Logan West’s character. He’s kind and caring and doing his level best to connect with his grieving five-year-old niece, of whom he now has custody. But he’s also insecure and very real in his struggles to care for a little girl, and that just makes him such a relatable character. His niece, Molly, is also a very sweet character, and while the reader only enters her point of view once or twice, you nonetheless quickly fall in love with her as well. Jeannette Mason is also a very solid character, and very relatable, but I didn’t click with her as much as I did the other characters.
While Logan and Jeannette are our main characters, we also enter the point of view of a Christian Syrian family fleeing persecution. I think that subject is a very relevant one right now, and Hannon did a fabulous job weaving that topic into the story. I loved getting into Mariam’s and Thomma’s heads and seeing firsthand some of the tragedies they went through.
The plot maintains a nice pace that keeps you engaged from beginning to end, and these characters will quickly find a place in your heart. As I mentioned briefly above, I didn’t particularly care for the romance, and that’s the reason I docked half a star from my rating, but that is only my personal preference. I did appreciate how the romantic thread played a more backseat role compared to the other storylines.
All in all, I greatly enjoyed this release from Irene Hannon! If you are looking for a romantic, cozy, beachy read, definitely check out Driftwood Bay!
I'm rereading the whole Hope Harbor series via audible editions and am loving Therese Plummer's narration so much! She breathes life into these characters and heart and humour into her interpretation of Hannon's exquisite words.
Rambunctious beagle alert!!!!! Perfect for comic relief, exasperating interruptions and copious warm fuzzies! That right there is enough of a reason to read Driftwood Bay. But there's so much more to this divinely magical story (the whole series, really) that elevate it to the absolute top of my everyone-in-the-world-should-read-this-book-NOW list.
Like taco maker extraordinaire and town sage, Charley. I love that he has more page time in this novel. If you're familiar with the Hope Harbor series, you're probably as crazy about Charley as I am. And as curious about just how he knows the things he knows. I love an air of mystery in a man, but there's an extra sparkly special something about Charley. Seagulls Floyd and Gladys know that to be true and if you can't trust a seagull who can you trust?
I know, I'm not making any sense but all will be made known once you've ventured into Hope Harbor. And if this is your first time with this series, no worries, Driftwood Bay (book 5) reads as a standalone -- all of the books do. But, be forewarned, once you sample the delectable sweetness of Irene Hannon's storytelling you'll have to read the rest of the books too.
Here's one of the reasons why -- Charley sage-isms. Like this:
"God's timing isn't always ours. Sometimes he opens doors we aren't certain we're ready to walk through. And it's fine to be cautious. Not every door that beckons is divinely inspired. But at some point we do have to make a decision because most don't stay open forever." (sorry I can't quote page numbers -- I listened to the audio version.)
Then there's Jeannette and Logan's poignant love story. There's something so fragile about their wary relationship. Certain scenes kept snatching my breath away. So much pain and anguish in their pasts. My innards were twisted up in knots as I read my way through their angst.
And the Syrian refugee family brings another dimension to the overall theme of finding hope after a catastrophic loss. Each character deals with their grief in different ways and it isn't until they find the courage to take risks, drawing strength and support from one another that they can begin to heal.
"Don't let fear stop you from being everything God intended you to be."
Jeannette Mason has moved to the tiny town of Hope Harbor and opened a tea room and lavender farm in Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon. She is hiding from the world after facing tragedy in her home town in Ohio. Her new neighbor, Dr. Logan West faces challenges of a different kind as he is unexpectedly the guardian of a little girl and got a new unruly puppy before moving to Hope Harbor as the new doctor in the urgent care clinic.
Despite their own challenges, they unexpectedly come together to help the new Christian refugee family that the town's churches have been assisting--Miriam, Thomma and Elisa.
Previous to this book, I have only read book one in the Hope Harbor series, but I truly enjoyed Driftwood Bay. I think it could be read as a stand-alone book even though it is the fifth book in the series. However, some of the characters continue in the series from book to book. I enjoyed Charley and his fish tacos once again. . .I can almost smell them! As a tea enthusiast and gardening, I was looking forward to a book with a tea room and an herb farm. I am so glad I was drawn in by those things. It has been a long time since I have read one of her books, but I can see why Hannon is an award winning author. The plot was compelling and I didn't want to put this book down. I enjoyed every one of the characters and the complex story-line. I also liked that she included the Syrian family and including their feelings, frustrations and challenges that seemed so realistic and relevant to me. Only one thing would have made Driftwood Bay better for me--I was hoping for the recipe for the lavender short bread cookies that Jeannette makes and everyone in Hope Harbor raves about. Even better would have been if one of the characters had passed me a sample and the recipe while visiting this place that Hannon makes sound so appealing!
I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.
The cover attracted me to this book. Once I read the story, I was even more captivated by the beautiful cover. It perfectly displayed the distance Jeannette insisted was best for her. I liked that Logan’s family and pooch were also featured on the cover.
This story was truly a love letter to the grieving hearts out there. The grief in this story was real, palpable, and exquisitely expressed in various POVs, from the very young to the aged and a few ages in between. It made me weep on more than one occasion, and I loved the core story so much. I was hooked on Jeannette’s, Logan’s, Molly’s, Thomma’s, Mariam’s, and Elisa’s journeys from the beginning. They were each fascinating characters for their own reasons. From the struggling uncle to the reclusive lavender farmer to the Syrian refugees, the characters in this book brought their own heritages and backgrounds and sorrows to the story. They intertwined and overlapped and crashed into one another in a beautiful display of friendship, tender care, and, ultimately, love. This story was emotional for me, and I loved it for that reason.
Here are the things that drove me bonkers and brought the rating down from five stars to three.
A five-year-old would be in Kindergarten, not preschool, typically. Molly acted much closer to three years old than five, from her struggle with proper speech, clinging to a security blanket, and sticking fingers in her mouth. I also did not appreciate that the preschool director tried for only a few hours to make the situation with Molly work before kicking her out because she had separation anxiety.
The odd “magic” around Charley creeps me out. He communicated with and was understood by sea gulls. He magically showed up anytime anyone needed his “sage advice,” because apparently they weren’t intelligent enough to figure out their issues themselves. He was also magically understood by a man who only spoke Arabic—even though Charley spoke English through the entire book. Not much about Charley is realistic.
Thomma was miraculously able to understand Charley before Thomma had received a single English lesson from the tutor, which made that whole tutoring plot point unnecessary. Then he was not able to understand anyone without a translator. Then his whole family was making such fantastic progress with the tutoring. But then, near the very end of the book, everyone in the family and who they communicated with used very basic, choppy sentence fragments to communicate with one another. I really feel like this whole language barrier issue could have been written much better and more consistently throughout. The progression of their language skills wasn’t shown on the page, which was a disappointment since it was such a significant part of the story. This felt like a missed opportunity.
A little girl was encouraged to believe she could obtain a friend by drawing a picture of one and wishing for that picture to come true… and it “worked” within the story. This was faulty reasoning and misguiding a child. It was awkward and unrealistic.
The epilogue was saturated in so much sexual innuendo that I felt uncomfortable reading it.
Content: a man sat on a bed in his underwear, Catholicism, replacement profanity, sexual innuendo
Irene Hannon takes her readers back to Hope Harbor for this fifth offering in the wonderful series. I love this little town on the Oregon coast and its inhabitants, especially Charley, the fish taco man, who, I'm convinced, is an angel.
Jeannette Mason has come to Hope Harbor after a grievous loss and is determined to shut herself off from every sharing her heart again. She has a wonderful business with her lavender farm and tea room and is completely happy with her life. But is her heart happy? Logan West has moved to Hope Harbor after his mother and brother die and he is left to raise his 5 year old niece alone. He thinks a small town will be best for the little girl, who doesn't seem to have an ounce of happiness in her. Even the beagle puppy he buys for her has upended his life.
Then both Jeannette and Logan find themselves joining the town in making welcome a Syrian Christian family fleeing war torn Syria and begin to discover that love sometimes involves risks and doors God opens need to be walked through.
Once again Hannon has crafted believable and human characters, people with heartaches and fears and struggles with their Christian walk. I am a forever fan. Loved this and finished in one day. Recommended.
*My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book via Net Galley. No review was required. The opinions stated here are expressly my own.
Jeannette Mason has been ignoring everything, and everyone around her, since moving to Hope Harbor, Oregon . . . . ..she has convinced herself that there's safety in loneliness . . . or so she thought. Who could have imagined that a precocious puppy from next door, digging up and absconding her beloved lavender plants, could create such havoc in Jeannette's carefully guarded little corner of the world?
Dr. Logan West impulsively purchased a pet beagle for his grieving niece, hoping it might provide her with some much needed companionship; Molly had lost so much in her young life, and now their move to Hope Harbor has not gone as smoothly as he had hoped. Only so far, Toby has managed to destroy everything in sight. When Logan's elusive neighbor shows up to complain about his trespassing pup, Logan quickly decides that maybe his dog has led them down the right path after all. . . . if Jeannette ever decides to take him at his word.
"Driftwood Bay" is beautifully layered; not only does it feature Jeannette and Logan's incremental journey towards freedom, but the author uses her secondary characters; a family inserted into the Hope Harbor community after fleeing war-torn Syria, to breathe life back into Jeannette's shriveled existence. It's the kind of story that becomes better and better with each turning page.
Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Irene Hannon visits her iconic Hope Harbor with a new-to-him single father and a woman trying to flee her past with her Lavender garden. With a hint of romance, Hannon flows through the pages of Driftwood Bay with flair and hints of love. The predictable plot moved along at a nice rate. I really liked the idea of the community coming together to support a Syrian refugee family who needed to learn English, have a place to stay, and earn their own money. Hope Harbor appears to be a wonderful place to live. If you are a fan of contemporary romance with a feel good ending, then this might be just the book for you. If you are fans of Courtney Walsh, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, or Kara Issac, then Driftwood Bay might be right up your alley.
I received a complimentary copy of Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.
From beginning to end this story tugs at your heart strings, and it doesn’t let go. The author has set this book back in Hope Harbor, and as with the other books in this series, this town seems to be there for one another, and you have to love Charlie, and his seagull friends. This story features two hurting little girls, not yet gone to school, but both have lost their mom’s or grand mom, and are grieving. Adjusting to a new place, and one a new country, they share a universal language and new friendship. I loved that the author gives us and epilogue, it really wraps up the book beyond the ending, and completes the read for me.
I received this book through Net Galley and the Revell Reads Program, and was not required to give a positive review.
Dit blijft zo een heerlijke reeks om te lezen, op en tot ontspanning! En ja je weet wel vanaf hoofdstuk 1 hke het zal eindigen maar dat stoort hier niet omdat het gewoon leuk is om in hope harbor te zijn en de gekende personages weer te ontmoeten. Blij dat er al zeker nog 3 delen op komst zijn.
- Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review - A heartwarming novel about loss, grief and redemption, “Driftwood Bay”, by Irene Hannon, takes us back to the small, tight-knit community of Hope Harbor, introducing new characters and subjects. Paralyzed by fear and sorrow, Jeannette, the heroine, leads a quiet, solitary life centered around her lavender farm, until two young girls, a rambunctious puppy and an handsome doctor make her question whether she should continue isolating. Logan is a selfless, honorable man, and his insecurities when dealing and bonding with his niece, Molly, make him so much more human. The romantic couple’s problems are seen in a new light when confronted with the terrible loss affecting the small Immigrant family welcomed by the small community. I enjoyed reading this story and revisiting with characters from previous books – I hope Charley and the Syrian family will have their own stories -, although I felt the romantic plotline lacked emotions and intensity, making it a bit subdued.
Another enjoyable story set in the lovely Oregon coastal town of Hope Harbor! A cast of characters from young to old come together to live, learn and love following heavy losses. A refugee family receives help to start over, along with a newly arrived doctor struggling with single parenthood, and a neighbor determined to keep people at arms length.
I loved the mix of people in this touching story and how they represented all walks of life. Everyone was grieving a big loss and dealing with major life upheavals. Sweet little Molly and Elisa finding friendship across language and cultural barriers was icing on the cake, along with a tender romance between the adults worked into the story. I was happy to see the return of Charley, the local prophet, who takes center stage in this one, as he doles out his timely words of wisdom at the fish taco stand. Found myself getting a bit impatient for Jeanette's backstory, and for her to open up. Her part of the story was a good reminder to not hold onto fear or keep our gifts bottled up when we are meant to live in community with each other. As Charley said, " Life is a risk...Don't let fear stop you from being everything God intended you to be."
Recommend for readers who enjoy contemporary Christian romances. This book easily reads as a stand alone. 4.5 stars
(An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.)
3.5 stars Let me start by saying that I love this series. Its setting is wonderful and the characters have come to feel like family. Overall, this installment is good and I especially liked the storyline featuring Syrian refugees and their struggles with leaving their own country, learning a new language, and trying to figure out a strange new life. What didn't really work for me was the character of Molly. It's very tough to write a believable child character and this one just didn't do it for me. I thought her vocabulary and astute observations were way too mature for a five-year-old most of the time, even one who had gone through as much as Molly did. And I wasn't thoroughly convinced of Logan and Jeanette's romance. I appreciated their story, I just didn't buy how it developed for the most part. That said, this is a sweet story and it is very worth reading, especially if you have read other books in this series and want to catch up with the familiar characters.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
DRIFTWOOD BAY is Irene Hannon's fifth book in this popular Hope Harbor series, but it easily stands alone. I couldn't help but fall in love with the characters, all suffering from loss--such huge losses--and struggling to find themselves in their new home, their new normal.
Logan is a dear, and going all out to show his niece love, but she wants none of it. But in reality its far different.
Charlie - the fish taco guy - I am convinced is an angel in disguise. So wise. We all need a Charlie in our lives.
The Syrian refugees is another storyline yet ties into the main one. I cried with parts of this story.
DRIFTWOOD BAY is slow-paced, but it held my interest and I had to keep reading. If you like romance you will love DRIFTWOOD BAY.
Driftwood Bay is the latest Hope Harbor novel by author Irene Hannon. Dr. Logan West has relocated to Hope Harbor, Oregon, to take on the task of running the local clinic. He has purchased a nice little house for himself, his niece Molly, and their overactive beagle Toby. The untrained pup is a runner who escapes to the neighbor’s lavender farm and digs up the plants. Jeannette Mason is not amused, and her first contact with the new neighbor is not very pleasant.
Although Logan West has put himself out to be kind and neighborly with Jeannette, she has thwarted his every overture. But when circumstances occur that force Jeannette to examine her heart and rise to the occasion to help her neighbor and the little girl left in his care, she finds herself drawn to do so. As much as Jeannette tries to pull away, something bigger keeps pushing her to do the right thing.
Jeannette has suffered great loss in her few decades. With such heartache, Jeannette had decided to lead a singular existence, protecting her heart yet denying herself life’s experiences. But will the sweet little girl next door, who has also experienced such great losses, show Jeannette how to reclaim her life?
This is a well written multilayered story which investigates great loss, human resilience, and strong relationships. The reader will root for the characters and be rewarded. I did enjoy this book and I do recommend it.
Jeanette Mason moves to Hope Harbor after a horrible family tragedy. She sets up a lavender farm and tea room. She keeps herself extraordinarily busy for a reason. She doesn't want to think about establishing new relationships or getting too close to anyone. Her new neighbor, Dr Logan West, is the family doctor that has just moved to town from San Francisco with his niece and a dog that loves to dig up the lavender bushes at Jeanette's farm. He has his own losses to try and heal and his new responsibilities with the sad niece who just lost her grandmother and the only family she has known, as well as an untrained dog are posing a challenge. Meanwhile, the ministers in town have taken on the challenge and good deed of providing a new life for a family fleeing war torn Syria that have lost many of their family members as well. These people and the town come together to help the new family adjust to a new way of life, learning English and adjusting to a new world. All of the characters have to come together to help each other find a way to move forward despite everything and by helping each other they find a new path. At times very sad but Heartwarming story about doing the right thing and helping others that just might help yourself as well.
Logan West has moved to a small seaside town, making a new life for himself and his five-year-old niece. Molly’s life has been turned upside down with the death of her father and grandmother, and now she must live with an uncle she hardly knows. Even though Logan is determined to do his best with the little girl he clearly loves, somehow he has fallen short and cannot connect with Molly. Their next door neighbor is also struggling with losses of her own, and has built fences and walls, both literally and figuratively, around herself. Add in a refuge family from Syria who also has experieced severe losses, and you have several characters struggling to cope. How they connect, how they grow, and how they learn to accept the past and look forward to the future is wrapped around a very interesting and entertaining storyline. Author Irene Hannon has written a well-crafted tale of endurance and hope, and of faith and love.
This may be my favorite book in the Hope Harbor series so far! SO GOOD.
Entirely loved Logan's and Jeannette's stories, both separately and together; also particularly appreciated Charley (even more than I already do/have in other books in the series), especially that he's a single/unmarried character in a later-ish stage of life. That really resonated with me.
A heartwarming and beautifully written book! Great for the beach or anytime reading. I can see why this author is so popular. This is character-driven with a clean romance. The writing is addictive, and it's easy to get absorbed in the pages.
My favorite character/s: Logan, I love how he's so kind and loving even when he's eh, ignored or rather pushed away. I did feel bad that he almost lost people he cared about!
My Verse for Logan is Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (King James Version.)
My Thoughts: Aw, this story was so sweet! I loved the whole move from the city to a little town and everything. This is my first read by Irene Hannon and I must say I was hooked with the first page. I will be sure to try another book from the author and you should too!
I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review and am truly happy to provide it!
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.
In this touching return to Hope Harbor, our hearts are filled with moving insights on love, loss, hope, and redemption. Featuring richly authentic characters struggling with grief and loss, their lives all unexpectedly converge to show them how to, in fact, live again. While this was my first experience reading this series, I never felt that I was missing anything nor was there any reason to feel that I had to read them in order. Just like the people within the story, you are lovingly welcomed wherever you chose to begin.
"This town is filled with unexpected blessings."
Despite all of the unimaginable heartbreak many of the characters have experienced or are suffering with, there was something so incredibly peaceful drifting through the air of this welcoming community. The beachy atmosphere, Jeanette's lavender farm and tea room, Charley's sage presence, and the reflective inner thoughts and prayers of characters all contributed to tamping down the tension that could otherwise begin to emotionally overwhelm the reader.
Three families are each navigating different stages of their lives while also exploring how the changes they are suddenly faced with will affect the relationships around them. Individual backstories are seamlessly interwoven into the narrative and I was immediately drawn into the story and captivated by the characters from the very beginning. The author's writing style expertly crafted such believable emotions into their development that brought them to life, and many times, I found myself smiling, laughing, empathizing, and crying right along with them. While each individual circumstance of loss is unique, the experience of grief is something that we can all relate to, so it was quite inspiring and such a pleasure to read about complete strangers jumping right in to help and encourage others regardless of whatever pain they themselves might be facing as well. By pulling together to ease the burdens of others when it was least expected, each begins to heal and ultimately finds the peace needed for a fresh start.
"It's easy to get discouraged in the midst of life's storms. But God has our back - and when the raft we're clinging to begins to sink, he's always ready to extend a hand. All we have to do is trust him enough to take it and let go."
This graceful story serves as a gentle reminder to seek out goodness and light no matter how much darkness and despair may surround you. The characters prayers and Christian references became an encouraging beacon of hope and added depth to their emotional understanding and needs.
The romance aspects of the story are slow-burning, subtle, and more conversational in tone rather than being in your face, which I greatly appreciated. The interactions between Jeanette and Logan hint at their vulnerabilities, and as they gradually begin to get to know one another, they open themselves up to an uplifting and adoring relationship. I also enjoyed that the story's focus was predominantly on family, new beginnings, and working to move forward as the past is accepted.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Hope Harbor and look forward to returning to this special community! Perhaps next time, Charley will be the center of attention, and we can discover why his second chance included fish tacos and two seagulls named Floyd and Gladys.
Thank you to the author, Revell, and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me a free book in exchange for my honest and thoughtful opinion. This review and more special features can be found on That's What She's Reading Blog at thatswhatshesreading.com
This book is perfect reading when you want something somewhat light, inspirational, and characters that will endear themselves to you.
Jeannette is running from tragic memories. No one could blame her but God has other plans for her in this world and I enjoyed reading how he spoke to her and gently nudged her to get involved in the community despite her desires to stay on her farm and keep to herself as much as possible. Logan has been thrown into a situation he never expected to find himself, caretaker to his niece who has lost both her father and her grandmother at a young age. A Syrian refugee family ends up in town where they know no one, much less speak the language. Yet these characters are bound to each other in their faith and hope for a better life and their lives intertwine in such a way that each character comes out stronger in the end from the trials and tribulations they experience.
This story filled my heart. I felt a range of emotions throughout the story and found myself pulled into this small Oregon town wanting to be a part of the community where everyone seemed to care for each other. I found myself chuckling at Charley, the fish taco truck proprietor, and his seagull friends, Floyd and Gladys, but at the same admiring Charley's words of wisdom. I felt for Molly having to adjust to life with her Uncle Logan and coming to terms with the loss of her father and grandmother. I can't imagine how hard it is for young children to lose someone they love. It is hard enough as an adult but you expect it to happen one day. The Syrian family had their struggles and watching them adapt to their new home and deal with their own grief reflects how no one is exempt from experiencing tragedy.
Some of my favorite quotes
"God's timing isn't always ours. Sometimes he opens doors we aren't certain we're ready to walk through. And it's fine to be cautious. Not every door that beckons is divinely inspired. But at some point we do have to make a decision - because most don't stay open forever."
This line resonated with me because it is very true. Either you trust that a higher power is looking out for you or you end up full of indecision and in a chaotic world of your own making.
"I can't change the past, but I have hopes for the future. That's the beauty of tomorrow - it offers you the possibility of a better day."
No one can promise us anything in this world, it is up to us to make our way and make it a success and a better place when we leave.
"But people - and animals - die."
"A very real part of the human condition, no question about it. Nothing on this earth lasts forever. Lives are filled with endings - and beginnings. No matter how hard we try to maintain the status quo, the world changes around us...and changes our world in the process."
You have to go with the ebb and flow of life around you because as much as things change they stay the same.
While some of this story may have been predictable, it was the right book at the right time for this reader. We give this book 5 paws up.
Each book can be read on its own but if you start at the beginning you can follow a few characters when they pop up in future books and know more about their history/back story.
Driftwood Bay is a charming story with engaging characters.
While the story line was very intriguing and such, there were a few details that annoyed me, but let’s start with the good things! ;)
The setting of Driftwood Bay... I loved reading about the town of Hope Harbor. Hope Harbor sounds like a beautiful spot with lots of fun people. It is such a great fictional world!
I think my favorite character is Molly. She is such an adorable little five year old, especially at the end of the book. ;) I actually laughed out loud at a few of the things she did! I honestly could not imagine dealing with all that as a five year old though... such a sad situation!
Logan is a confusing character. I’m still not exactly sure what to think about him... he kind of annoyed me. I guess he was just one of those characters. *shrugs* He was pretty sweet to his niece, though, and that was good.
Jeanette was pretty interesting too. It took way too long for me to find out her backstory. Though I’m sure that was on purpose!
I also really enjoyed getting to know the Shabo family as they worked through their grief, got adjusted to living in a new country, and went through the trials of learning a new language and not always being able to understand English.
And Toby, haha! How could I not mention Toby? This rambunctious little puppy definitely played a part in the story. :)
The book cover illustration is just beautiful, more so in real life, I thought. :)
Now, onto the annoying things.
First off, there were a few times where I just stopped reading and thought, “oh my word, who talks like this?!” It wasn’t like that for the entire book, but bigger words seemed to be overused and made everyday conversation between the characters slightly unrealistic. Example: “I had an enlightening conversation with Molly today. I can fill you in if we relocate to the porch once our friend [they were talking about the dog, Toby] here is done digesting his dinner.” Maybe that’s just me, but it felt overly awkward and I don’t think I would talk like that in casual conversation. XP
Secondly, the continuous noticing and romance between the two main characters grew to be repetitive after awhile, and a few of comments, I didn’t think were even necessary.
Lastly, I thought this book could be a little more focused on God. There were scenes where people went to church and all that, but two of the main characters seemed to treat God as more of like a last resource. I felt it got more resolved towards the end of the book though.
**I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. A positive review was not required and all thoughts are my own**
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing through Interviews & Reviews.
(Side note that won’t make any sense unless you read the book: when Logan told Jeanette to burp the baby kitten, Button, after feeding him a bottle, that prodded me to do some research.... Apparently you’re supposed to! Who knew?? I never did that with my cats, haha!)
Note: pronouns were not capitalized when referring to God.
Warmth, wisdom, hope, and fish tacos - that's what you get from reading Irene Hannon's latest Hope Harbor novel Driftwood Bay, and it's a delightful combination that blends wholesome family drama, realistic life transitions and a cute small town with just enough romance to keep things interesting. I must confess, I haven't read the previous four installments in this series, and when I agreed to review this novel, I didn't realize it was a Christian romance. In truth, I'm glad I didn't notice that element because I'm not that into organized religion and it might have kept me from reading this novel. That would have been a big mistake, because Irene Hannon's work is accessible to all, and while the characters in this story both mentioned and took strength from their faith, there was nothing preachy about the book. Faith was a character element and handled as such. The church community was also an integral part of the plot, acting the way the best faith communities should: taking in refugees, and otherwise helping people make useful connections to better their lives. The other elements of the novel were equally well-crafted: lead characters Jeannette Mason ("the lavender lady") and Logan West begin as neighbors brought together by the latter's destructo-dog Toby, and watching their relationship evolve from somewhat prickly 'just neighbors' to an uncertain friendship, to more was both amusing and endearing. Each of these people had baggage in their backstory, but author Hannon managed to make their metaphorical luggage match in. the best way. Similarly, Hannon handled the Syrian refugee family, Mariam, Thomma, and Elisa, with great sensitivity, showing their struggles to overcome the loss of their home and family members, their struggles to learn English, and to acclimate to life in a fishing village rather than a mining town. One thing I particularly appreciated, because I struggle with it in my own writing is the way Hannon depicted the child-characters Elisa and Molly (Logan's young niece). It can be so easy to make little kids into caricatures rather than characters, but these two little girls are as real and dimensional as any of the adults, and the friendship they form is as special as any of the other relationships in the novel. One side character I do want to mention is Charley who runs the taco truck (when he's not off painting). I kept getting the feeling there was meant to be more to him than what we saw, but even if it was just the way I was reading him, I loved him as the person who tells you what you need you hear, when you most need to hear it, even if it's sometimes a bit cryptic. Overall, this is a wholesome, heartwarming novel that leaves you believing that communities can still come together and there is still hope in the world. Goes well with fish tacos and a cold beer. ________________________________________
Hope Harbor is a small town on the Oregon coast where one can go to for a new beginning, become part of a caring community, heal their spirit and find hope. Dr. Logan West and his niece, Molly, are new residents of the town. Logan was living a hectic life as an ER physician in San Francisco until his soldier brother was killed and then their mother died leaving him the sole guardian of Molly. He took the job of physician at the local urgent care center in Hope Harbor for a slower paced life for Molly's sake. She is having a hard time adjusting to life without her Nana. Logan is trying really hard but it is not going well. He even got a rowdy beagle, Toby, hoping to make Molly happy. All it has done is gotten him acquainted with his neighbor, Jeannette, owner of a lavender farm, that Toby has enjoyed destroying. Jeannette is not a stranger to grief either. She is distancing herself from people. If she doesn't care for anyone, she can't get hurt again. Logan would like to get to know her better but she is pushing him away. The caring townspeople have welcomed a refugee family from Syria into their midst, providing them with an apartment, car, belongings and even a job for Thomma, father of Elisa and son to Mariam. The three are all that is left of their family that was killed in a church bomb in their homeland. The family has been Christians for years and persecuted for their beliefs. Mariam is holding the forlorn family together. Thomma misses his wife so much and every time that he looks at his daughter, he sees his wife. Elisa realizes that her father doesn't want anything to do with her. She and Molly become fast friends when Mariam becomes babysitter of Molly and Elisa while Logan is working. This is story of broken hearts that need mending and overcoming the fear of loving again. With God's help and guidance, the characters in the story have to trust and have faith in new beginnings, relationships and healing hurts. Charley, the local taco maker who serves out of his food truck, is very wise and also serves up advice. He seems to be able to see into hearts and give sage advice that is just what is needed at that moment. Hope Harbor is a lovely town that is great to revisit from time to time. Driftwood Bay is a lovely addition to the series. I received a complimentary ARC from Revell through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions stated are mine only.
Title: Driftwood Bay (A Hope Harbor Novel #5) Author: Irene Hannon Pages: 368 Year: 2019 Publisher: Revell My rating: 5 out of 5 stars The titles of the books in the Hope Harbor series are Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, Sandpiper Cove, Pelican Point and Driftwood Bay. The author has done a marvelous job of storytelling the author brings to readers hearts and minds a message of hope. Each novel has characters that are continuations from previous books, while also introducing us to new characters and insights into familiar ones who inhabit Hope Harbor. In the latest tale, I was soon swept into the heart-touching story of a single man trying to raise his niece after the loss of his mother. Alongside that thread is the tale of an immigrant family brought to America from their former Syrian home after the loss of family members and so much more. Keeping both those threads going, we get to “see” how Marci is doing as a newlywed and running the local paper. These are but a few of the threads woven together and show us a masterpiece telling us hope from loss, new paths forged from the rubble of former lives, and of course there are other threads or themes I haven’t shared. Irene Hannon’s touch of reality in the genre of fiction is astounding! The characters and their tales seem so lifelike. I wouldn’t be surprised if some readers have experienced the trials shared in the book. My heart was touched seeing how one particular character named Jeanette was rebuilding her life from ashes after she relocated while shielding herself from others. Readers may enjoy the story more if they read the other tales in books 1-4 first. Whether you read this one first as a stand alone or not, here is a novel sure to uplift your heart! Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.
Every return to Hope Harbor is like going home. Irene Hannon has created a wonderful town that's always a pleasure to visit—it's the hometown you wish you had.
This installment focuses on Jeannette, a woman who runs a lavender farm and tea room, her new neighbors Logan and his niece Molly, and a Syrian refugee family recently relocated to Hope Harbor.
I especially loved Jeanette's story. After a devastating loss, she decides life will be easier if she doesn't let anyone in. But when Logan and Molly move in next door, Jeannette can't help but be drawn to the handsome doctor and his grieving young niece. Then she becomes an English tutor for the Syrian refugee family that just moved to Hope Harbor, and it becomes harder and harder to keep herself walled off.
Jeannette's journey to opening her heart again was really touching ... and, at times, heartbreaking. Hannon wrote a truly beautiful story!
Driftwood Bay is a sweet, gentle small-town romance, perfect for fans of the Mitford or Cedar Cove novels. 4-1/2 stars.
Note: While Driftwood Bay is part of the Hope Harbor series, each book stands alone. Some characters carry through the series (like Charley the taco guy and the delightful clergymen Father Murphy and Reverend Baker), and main characters from previous books often pop up again, but each book works as an entry point to the series.
Disclosure of material connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.
I have read and enjoyed every book in Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor series, but Driftwood Bay is hands down my favorite. One I will come back to read again. Because this story is a powerful and emotional one that deals with the difficult subjects of loss and grief.
Through Logan, Jeanette, Molly, and the three members of the Shabos family, Hannon examines different ways people grieve. And though it would be impossible to cover every reaction to loss, Hannon’s approach is very well-rounded.
For me, the two little girls stole the show (and had me in tears a couple of times while reading). But the adults and their stories were enjoyable, and these characters are people I would befriend in the real world. And, of course, there are appearances from the Hope Harbor residents we’ve gotten to know over the series. (Raise your hand with me if you wish you could visit Charlie for some fish tacos and a dose of his wisdom. Or listen in on the good-natured ribbing between the pastor and the priest).
I’ve said this before, but Hope Harbor is an aptly named town as a place for hurting people to heal, for love to be found, and for the weight of grief to fall away. Kudos to Hannon for tackling hard topics while offering readers a glimmer of hope that lives on the other side.
Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part