Joe Cantrell, owner of the Gansett Island Ferry Company, has been in love with Janey McCarthy for as long as he can remember. At the same time, Janey has been dating or engaged to doctor-in-training David Lawrence. When things go horribly wrong between David and Janey, she calls her “fifth brother” Joe, one of the few people in her close circle who lives on the mainland. Janey decides a few days with Joe is just what she needs before she goes home to the island to face her parents and family with the news of her broken engagement. It was bad enough for Joe loving Janey from afar, but having her in his house is pure torture. Will he take advantage of this opportunity to show her what they could have together? And what will Joe’s best friend and Janey’s protective older brother Mac have to say about it?
Second in the "McCarthys of Gansett Island" series, this novel tells the story of the youngest McCarthy sibling, the "baby sister" and the young woman who has been patiently and systematically building her life and future around the hopes and dreams and plans of her fiance, doctor-to-be David Lawrence. She is shocked, however, when she makes a surprise visit to her man--on the occasion of a special anniversary of their engagement--and finds that he is having an energetic romp with someone else in his apartment and subsequently tries to convince her that it was just a little "stress relief" for an overworked medical resident. Janey has to face the fact that the relationship has been over for a long time, that she has put her dreams on hold for David, and now she is at emotional loose ends. It is here that Joe Cantrell, close friend of her brothers--a fifth brother, if you will--and owner of the Gansett Island Ferry company steps in as "shoulder to cry on." Little does Janey realize that Joe has been in love with her for years, has just been nursing his broken heart as he sees her planning a life with her doctor.
This is a compelling love story that is complicated by the fact that Janey's view of Joe has always been one of deep friendship as a sort-of sibling to him. Now she begins to pick up on the sparks of his deep and long time love for her, sees Joe in a different light, and has to analyze her attachment to David, her own sense of deep disappointment over putting her own dreams on "hold" and how her future is going to play out. Add in the fact that Joe and her brothers have been close for years and you have the added stresses of working out how to deal with all those feelings.
Perhaps the deeper "story behind the story" here is that we often get involved in emotional entanglements that we think are one thing--romantic love leading to marriage--when in truth the relationship can't sustain that kind of longevity. In Janey's case she had taken so much for granted, the relationship had to bear the burden of long absences between her and David, and the deeply buried disappointments she carried inside of her over putting her future on hold in favor of David's plans. There are some surprises in this novel that keep the reader wondering what will happen next, but through it all runs the strands and bonds of deep family connection, this family's connection to the island itself, and the small but vibrant community of year round residents that make up Gansett Island. It's a compelling love story that is a stand alone novel, but reading book one will give the reader greater understanding of the dynamics that enrich and spice up this love story.
Released in mid-2011, this book is a wonderful piece of romance fiction and is worthy of being read and enjoyed. I hope you will give it a look. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.
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