Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Review: The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor

The Brighter the Light
by Mary Ellen Taylor

Publisher: Montlake
Pages: 364
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When a shipwreck surfaces, old secrets are sure to follow.

Or so goes the lore in Ivy Neale’s hometown of Nags Head, North Carolina. When Ivy inherits her family’s beachfront cottage upon her grandmother’s death, she knows returning to Nags Head means facing the best friend and the boyfriend who betrayed her years ago.

But then a winter gale uncovers the shipwreck of local legend—and Ivy soon begins to stumble across more skeletons in the closet than just her own. Amid the cottage’s clutter are clues from her grandmother’s past at the enchanting seaside resort her family once owned. One fateful summer in 1950, the arrival of a dazzling singer shook the staff and guests alike—and not everyone made it to fall.

As Ivy contends with broken relationships and a burgeoning romance in the present, the past threatens to sweep her away. But as she uncovers the strength of her grandmother and the women who came before her, she realizes she is like the legendary shipwreck: the sands may shift around her, but she has found her home here by the sea.

Kritters Thoughts:  Two storylines in this one book.  One in 1950 as Ivy's grandmother, Ruth, is living through a tumultuous summer at her family's resort - a shipwreck is uncovered, secrets are revealed and it ends with a dead guy.  The current storyline takes place in 2022, with Ivy back in Nags Head, North Carolina cleaning up the family cottage that is left when Ruth passes and she is at a crossroads of her life and must decide which way to go next.  

Typically when I read a dual narrative storyline, I tend to love the historical one more, but not so in this one.  I loved Ivy so much and loved her story arc - I adore when a character has to return to their childhood to confront things in the past and then decide what they want for their future.  I did like how Ivy uncovering the things from her grandmother easily weaved into the historical storyline unfolding, I just wasn't as in love with that storyline as I usually am when history is involved.  

I loved Mary Ellen Taylor's Union Street Bakery series and I liked this stand alone from her.  I want to prioritize more from her backlist and enjoy these characters that she puts in interesting circumstances.  

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2022 Challenge: 45 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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