The Book Worm: Review: That Chesapeake Summer, by Mariah Stewart

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: That Chesapeake Summer, by Mariah Stewart

book review, that Chesapeake summer, Mariah Stewart


Jamie Valentine is the wildly successful author of self-help books advocating transparency in every relationship. But when her widowed mother passes away unexpectedly, Jamie discovers her own life has been based on a lie. Angry and deeply betrayed, she sets out to find the truth—which may be in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay. Cutting her most recent book tour short, Jamie books a room at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point, just outside St. Dennis.

The death of Daniel Sinclair’s father forced him to take over the family inn, and his wife’s death left him a single parent of two children, so there’s little room for anything else in his life. His lovely new guest is intriguing, though, and he’s curious about the secret she’s clearly hiding. But in the end, Jamie and Dan could discover the greatest truth of all: that the search for one thing just might lead to the find of a lifetime—if you keep your heart open.

Genre: contemporary romance

Publishing date: June 2015

Offensive content: nothing to report other than one pretty much subdued sex scene.

This is a light summery ready but which provides an interesting insight into the lives of adopted children - in this case, into the life of Jamie, a famous writer of self help books on how to bring honesty into people's lives and relationships and which suddenly finds out, after her parents' death, that she'd been adopted. When, for the 36 years of her life, there had been absolutely no clue. 

After the first shock wears off, she embarks on a search to find her birth mother. Her quest takes her to St. Dennis, a quaint little town right on Chesapeake bay. There she meets new friends, finds love (with Dan, the owner and manager of the inn she's staying in), and, ultimately, finally identifies her biological mother.

The most interesting part of the book is how Jamie handles the situation, the feelings that she, who advocates truth in everyday life, lived a lie for so long, the anger, the betrayal and, finally, just the curiosity. What will it mean for her career, how can she still write about the same subject without being a hypocrite, and should she or should she not let the public know about the changes in her life. And how, when she identifies her birth mother, she's at loss on how to handle the situation and runs away instead of confronting her, because she realises that her life is not the only one that will be different once the truth becomes common knowledge. This was all, in my opinion, very well portrayed in the story.

However, there were a few details that were a bit off for me. 

The first one was the implication that Grace, Dan's mother, has "the eye" and as such knows and foresees things that no-one else knows about. I realise that That Chesapeake Summer is book 9 in the Chesapeake Diaries series (and, as usual, I grabbed in as soon as it was published and never bothered with the previous books) and probably Grace's abilities have been a constant in the other books, but since this one reads as a stand alone so well barring it, that detail is either redundant for the story or should have been better explained. Having it fall from the sky like that made the story lose a bit of credibility. The book would have flowed perfectly OK without it.

Then, I was a bit disappointed with how things go between Jamie and her birth mother once they finally meet. It is so picture perfect, they are both so happy right from the start, I felt like the author was rushing things a bit. There are no awkward moments, no tricky questions, no laying blame. I would have liked their mother/daughter relationship to have been a bit more developed, and for Jamie's feelings to be more realistically described, as they were in the beginning of the book when she finds out she was adopted, even if the outcome was expected to be a happy one, of course.

And, more importantly, the romance fell a bit flat. I loved both Dan and Jamie and I'm not one to turn away from a happy ending, but I could never feel a real connection between them. And since Dan has teenage children, it would have bee reasonable to have them involved in the happy ending as well and, by then, it was like they had disappeared. Realistically, I could not see a father of two widowed for 8 years to commit to anything without explaining it first to his children. His daughter Diana seems to have a good relationship with Jamie in the beginning, but all but disappears by the end of the book. And DJ, the boy, only meets briefly with Jamie right after she arrives in St. Dennis and then is almost never mentioned, which seems a bit odd taking into account that most of the other secondary characters are pretty well developed.

This is why I really felt a 5-star rating was too much for this book, and I'm sticking with 4 stars instead.

But, all in all, it is a good summer read on an interesting subject that we don't see so often in romance novels, and you will find yourself wishing you could spend your vacation over at St. Dennis too, so I still recommend it!

And I was intrigued enough to go back and check out the previous books in the series, so there may be a few more reviews coming this way...

Have a great week, and happy reading!


  1. Great Review - thanks for joining the book blog hop

  2. This book reminds me of some I have read that Nora Roberts has written.
    Thanks for sharing on the Oh My Heartsie Girls WW this week!
    Hope you have a great week!

    1. Thank you Karren! By the way, do you remember the name of that book by Nora Roberts? I love her books but I can't remember ever reading it and I would love to check it out...

  3. Sounds very interesting. Always love books where children are involved. Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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