Published by St. Martin's Press on 6/18/2013
Source: ARC obtained by Wunderkind PR
Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole's coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.
But what both women don't know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own.
Bestselling author and master storyteller Barbara Delinsky invites you come away to Quinnipeague…
~ Of the two main characters, I found it easiest to relate to Nicole. I’m no food blogger, and I can’t create yummy dishes, nor am I married to a brilliant doctor with a secret, or have a gorgeous beach house… or a contract to write a book. But, I do take pictures of my food, and I often make my friends or Hubs wait before eating in order to get that perfect, unbitten first pic. And I loved the fact that she was a blogger.
~ Charlotte has a pretty enviable job as a freelance writer. She’s always traveling to exotic locations, or pretty much wherever she wants to go. And she makes money doing this.
~ I really enjoyed the friendship between Nicole and Charlotte, how despite the secrets they were keeping from one another, and the time they had spent apart, they fell back fairly easily into their past relationship. I think with good friends, the best kind, you can go years between contact and still instantly connect.
~ The island!! The island of Quinnipeague, off the coast of Maine, was easily my favorite “character”. I don’t get to go to the beach until August, and we just stay near the border of Delaware, but this book and it’s description of the island, had me longing to go there. I could totally live in a resort town. And I would happily live on an island. So if someone wants to Kickstarter fund my dream of living on the water…
~ So, Charlotte is keeping a secret from Nicole. And it’s a doozy. It was not the one I was expecting though, and it kind of broke my heart a bit for Nicole. I guessed the secret Nicole was keeping fairly quickly, and I thought it added a nice tension to the story.
~ The book within a book! Both Nicole and Charlotte are all atwitter about a book called Salt. Which made me want to read it. Of course, Salt is a fictional book set inside a fictional book, so the chances are I never will. This is not the first time that I have fallen in love with a fake book.
~ I also liked that Salt was originally self-published before it gets picked up by a major publisher. That part felt very trendy.
~ Although there is romance, Leo- *swoon*, this book is primarily about friendship. Nicole and Charlotte make each other better, they compliment each other’s weaknesses and add to each other’s strengths. Just like a solid romantic relationship, the best friendships are well balanced. Sweet Salt Air starts with relationships out of balance, and is all about the journey back to center.
~ I couldn’t help but think of Nicole’s farm-to-food table blog to be a bit like Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog, because let’s face it, it’s really easy to eat well and fresh if you have tons of money. It makes me sad to think that five dollars at McDonalds will get you more food then five dollars at your local farmer’s market.
~ Nicole and Julian’s relationship is complex. I thought that I would hate Julian, very early on in the book I found out something about him that made me dislike him, but Delinsky does a great job of showing his humanity. The struggles he faces in the book made it easier to empathize with him. I won’t say more that that, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m glad that I was able to get past the dislike. Of course, I disliked him for quite a bit of the book before my feelings began to change.
~ There were parts of this book that were heartbreaking, and it’s probably why I don’t read this kind of book more often. Usually I prefer my characters to have to deal with serial killers out to get them, or vengeful mythical gods trying to send their souls to hell. It’s easier to deal with conflict that I know I’ll never personally experience. Some of the things that come up in this book made me uncomfortable, but I think it’s important to step out of our comfort zone and confront issues that make us think.
~ Sometimes, in order to fix something, you have to completely break it. A lot of that goes on in this book.
~ I have a feeling I’ll be seeing a lot of this book on the beach in August. It’s an easy read, but it’s complex and atmospheric. And there’s a summer-y feel to it that will go well with sun, sand and meals by the sea.
Nicole– sweet, rich and trusting.
Charlotte– more of a scrapper, confident and self-reliant.
Julian– brilliant and secretive. Nicole’s husband.
Leo– brilliant and secretive. Charlotte’s love interest. Also, he’s a writer so he scores major hot points.
Cecily– she’s actually dead when this book begins, but her legend looms large.
Angie– Nicole’s mother.
Quinnipeague– the fictional island where the book largely takes place. I know it’s fictional, because I totally googled it to see if the Hubs and I could vacation there. I wish it were real, so will you!
When Charlotte and Nicole reveal their secrets. It’s heart-wrenching and emotional, and Delinsky hits the perfect combination of dialogue and private thoughts that make it so real.
Stop The Clock:
Although this not my typical genre of choice, I would definitely read more of Delinsky novels. I will also read Salt if she ever comes out with it. 😉 Also, I love the beauty and simplicity of this cover!
Barbara Delinsky — Website |Barbara Delinsky
Sweet Salt Air gets a Midnight Book Rating of: