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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Annette M. Irby’s first book in the Washington Island Romance Series, Finding Love in Friday, Washington, just released. I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of this contemporary romance set on San Juan Island between Seattle and Vancouver.

Ambitious Seattle professor Mikaela Rhodes returns to Friday Harbor, the place she spent her summers growing up, the place she fell in love as a teen, and the place where boat captain Hunter Cahill still lives and operates the endangered family business, Cahill Touring. She’s there to help him, but can’t afford to get too close and risk another rejection.

Hunter still reels from his father’s unexpected death. To add to his troubles, the family business is threatened with closure, and he considers himself a failure. He hopes the group of college students he’ll host on his boat for a summer marine biology program will help alleviate some of the financial worries. Only…

‘Professor M. Rhoades, at your service.’ Her eyes shone as if she knew that’s how Mom had referred to her, and he had to look away. She was the stuffy prof they’d promised him?

His mom had set him up.

He rubbed the back of his neck. To top it off, this hairbrained last-ditch program lasted through the entire season. He was doomed.

And humiliated.

This is a sweet romance between two people whose differing ambitions for their futures led to disappointment, a broken relationship, and years of estrangement. Due to the hurts he’s experienced, Hunter starts off a little gruff, a little harsh with Miki. But I sympathized with him and couldn’t help but root for them to realize they belong together. I liked the twist involving a situation Mikaela has kept hidden that has the potential to ruin any chance of reconciliation with Hunter.

From a spiritual standpoint, Hunter also suffers from a cold relationship with the Lord, while Mikaela has a hard time laying her problems and requests at His feet. Both need to learn to trust—God and each other.

Ms. Irby drew me in with her setting, showing me the beauty of the area, the laid-back lifestyle of a harbor town, and the adventure of whale watching. By the time she was finished, Friday Harbor became a one of those dream, “someday” destinations.

So, if you’re looking for an emotionally satisfying, Hallmark movie type of romantic escape you’ll find it in Finding Love in Friday, Washington.

What is the last novel you read that made you want to book a flight to that destination?

 

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