The Seaside Library by Brenda Novak
398 pages, Kindle Edition
First published April 11, 2023
Taken from Goodreads: There are secrets that bring friends together, and others that drive them apart…
Mariners Island is barely ten miles long, but when Ivy, Ariana and Cam were teenagers, it was their whole world. Beyond the pristine beaches and iconic lighthouse lies the beautiful old library that belongs to Ivy’s family. While that bound Ivy to the island as an adult, Ariana could not leave Mariners behind fast enough. The town holds too many…memories. Not only her unrequited feelings for Cam, but the tragedy that left a scar on the community.
When a young girl went missing, a teenage Cam was unthinkably the prime suspect. Ariana and Ivy knew he couldn’t have hurt anyone, and they promised to protect him—even if it meant lying on his behalf.
Now, twenty years later, Ariana returns to Mariners just as new evidence emerges on the case, calling into question everything the three friends thought they knew—and everyone they thought they could trust. What really happened that night? Over the course of one eventful summer, Ariana, Ivy and Cam will learn the truth—about their pasts, their futures and the ties that still bind them as closely as the pages of a book…
My Thoughts: Brenda Novak always writes books that pull the reader right into the story. The Seaside Library does just that. I started the book on a rainy morning and never put it down. But as I got to the end, I slowed my reading because I just did not want it to end.
Mariners Island is a fun location. I love that it was a very small island with a small population. Everyone knows everyone and they know that Cam could not have had anything to do with the disappearance of the girl. Yet, even as they knew he was innocent, some of the clues pointed in his direction. His best friends Ivy and Ariana decided to keep his secret to protect him, but after twenty years it is not as easy to do as it once was.
I enjoyed that the romance part of the story took a back seat to the mystery of what happened to the young girl. There were clues given almost from the very beginning of the story and I am proud to say that I had it put together before the author gave it away at the end. I really enjoyed seeing how the detective wanted to believe Cam but was willing to work the clues and question all who could have knowledge of what happened.
Brenda Novak wrote a great book. It was easy to read. The characters were mostly likable, except for the ones not meant to be liked. The setting was quaint and fun. I would love to read more from Mariners Island.
Thank you Harlequin Trade Publishing for a copy of the book via NetGalley.
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Meet Brenda Novak (taken from her website): It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.
“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided I needed to do something from home.”
However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.
Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of twenty in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.
“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”
Brenda sold her first book OF NOBLE BIRTH, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the Rita, the National Reader’s Choice and the Bookseller’s Best, and she now runs a warm and enthusiastic book group on Facebook with over 17,000 members.
Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually raising money for diabetes research. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, playing pickle ball, hiking and biking — she rides an amazing 20 miles several times a week!