Nov 23 2018
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Blog Tour & Review: Winter at the Beach by Sheila Roberts

Posted by Jennifer in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Excerpt, Review, Women's Literature / Leave a Comment

WINTER AT THE BEACH by Sheila Roberts, Women’s Fiction, 384pp., $5.98 (paperback) $6.99 (kindle)

 

Title: WINTER AT THE BEACH
Author: Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin/Mira
Pages: 384
Genre: Women’s Fiction
 
Jenna Jones, manager of the Driftwood Inn, a vintage motel in the Washington beach town of Moonlight Harbor, is convinced that a winter festival would be a great way to draw visitors (and tourist business) to
town during those off-season months. Everyone in the local chamber of commerce is on board with her Seaside with Santa festival idea except one naysayer, local sour lemon, Susan Frank, who owns a women’s clothing boutique in town. The beach gets hit with storms in the winter, no one will come, too close to Christmas. Blah, blah. What does Susan know?It turns out that Susan knows a lot. A big storm hits during the weekend of the festival, wreaking havoc with the parade and producing power outages all over town. Including at the Driftwood Inn.Jenna finds herself with a motel filled with people, all with no power. What to do? Enlist the help of friends, of course. Her friends take in many of the stranded visitors, and Jenna and her Aunt Edie take
in the others, stuffing them into Aunt Edie’s house next door to the Driftwood.All the guests come with their own unique stories. The last thing Taylor Marsh wanted was a getaway with her husband. His refusal to give up on his dying business is taking them down financially and killing
their marriage. But her sister Sarah (she who has her financial act together and never lets her sister forget it) insists this will be fun for both their families. It will only be fun for Taylor if her husband gets eaten by a giant squid. Then there’s Darrel Wilson, who planned the perfect anniversary getaway for his wife, who’s been undergoing chemo. So much for the perfect anniversary. And the sisters, Lisa and Karen, who can’t seem to go on a sister outing without it turning into a Lucy and Ethel adventure.  Unlikely roommates, all of them. But perhaps each one has a valuable lesson to share with the others. And perhaps, what looked like a disaster will prove to be the best holiday adventure of all.

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Jenna Jones, who manages a vintage motel, the Driftwood Inn, is sure her
idea for a holiday festival will bring business to her Washington
coast beach town of Moonlight
Harbor. Let’s see how her proposal goes over with the Moonlight Harbor Chamber
of Commerce…

“Okay, that takes care of old
business,” Brody said. “Now, I think Jenna has some new business.”

Oh, boy. She could hardly wait to see what Susan would have to say about
this.

She cleared her throat. “Actually, I have a suggestion for a way to bring
down more visitors during our slow time.”

“We’re all for that,” said Patricia Whiteside.

Susan clamped her thin lips together and gave Jenna a look that dared her,
the newbie, to come up with something.

Jenna’s nervous twitch put in an appearance. Don’t blink. She blinked
one last time and cleared her throat again. “Well, I was just thinking about
other towns I’ve visited in the past and one that came to mind was Icicle
Falls.”

Susan rolled her eyes. “The cheesy German town.”

“A lot of people find it charming,” Jenna said. “It’s awfully pretty, and
they’ve done a great job of making themselves as authentic as possible. They
always have something going to get people up there. In fact, I did some
research online. They have festivals all year long, including a chocolate
festival. Their tree-lighting ceremonies on the weekends in December bring in
thou- sands of people.”

“So, are you proposing we have a tree-lighting ceremony?” Susan mocked.

“No, but I am proposing we have a holiday festival.”

“We just had a festival in August in case you forgot,” Susan said snidely.

What was with this woman anyway? The town had done a good deed by putting on
a festival to help Jenna raise money to restore the Driftwood after she
experienced a financial setback. It had been such a success that the chamber
had decided to make the Blue Moon Festival a tradition, with proceeds going to
help other businesses in town in need of assistance. Jenna had benefited and
other local businesses would as well, and Susan resented it? She was a crab in
the pot. If she couldn’t succeed, she didn’t want anyone else to, either. And
everyone knew her shop wasn’t doing that well, especially now that Courtney was
selling her own designs over at the Oyster Inn.

Well, pooh on her. Jenna handed papers to both Tyrella and Brody to start
passing around the table.

“People love festivals. Remember how
many came down for the Blue Moon one?”

“That was in the summer,” Susan reminded her.

“I know. But people also love holiday festivals. We’re looking for ways to
get visitors down here in the winter. Why not put together a giant holiday
party in Moonlight Harbor?”

Patricia Whiteside was reading Jenna’s handout. “Seaside
with Santa, that’s cute. And I like all the suggestions you’ve made for
activities. I really like the idea of making use of the pier.”

“The weekend before Christmas?” Susan objected, frowning at her handout.
“Who’s going to want to come to something then? People will be getting ready to
go see family, and they’ll be finishing up their shopping.”

“Why shouldn’t they finish it here?” Jenna argued. “We have all kinds of
cute shops. We have great places for them to stay while they shop and plenty of
restau- rants where they can eat. They may even want to stay here for the
holidays. All we need is an event to lure them down. A festival could do it.
And who doesn’t like a parade? Look how many people turn out for the Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day parade.”

“Look at the floats they have in that parade,” Susan countered. “What sort
of floats would we be able to put together down here?”

“Okay, maybe not the most impressive parade ever,” Jenna admitted, “but I
bet we could come up with some- thing.”

“I could get some of my employees to dress up as mermaids,” said Kiki, “and
stick ’em on a flatbed truck strung with fake seaweed.” She grinned, clearly
taken with her idea.

“We need more for our Moonlight Harbor Queen and her princesses to do,” put
in Nora. “They love riding in those old convertibles. You’ll let us use your
vintage Caddy, right, Ellis?”

“Well…” Ellis hesitated. “If it rains…”

“Which it probably will,” said Susan. “Come on, people, be practical. You
know what it’s like down here in the winter, all wind and rain.”

Patricia pooh-poohed that objection. “We’ve survived plenty of storms.”

“Well, I think it’s a bad idea,” Susan said, scowling across the table at
Jenna.

Maybe it was. Jenna’s left eye began to twitch.

“I think it sounds great,” said Elizabeth MacDowell. She and her twin
sister, K.J., were new members of the chamber. They’d opened their arts and
crafts store, Crafty Just Cuz, in September, and it was already one of Jenna’s
favorite places to hang out.

“We do need more business in the winter,” said Cindy Redmond. “There’s no
getting around it. And doing something for the holidays could be fun. I say we
give it a try,” she added, and Jenna’s eye stopped twitching.

“We’d have to get moving right away,” Nora said, pulling another sheet of
paper from her yellow tablet. “Who can help?”

“I can,” said Ellis.

“Me, too,” Brody said, smiling at Jenna. “Jenna, it’s your idea. You’ll have
to chair the committee.”

“Me?” she squeaked. Not that she couldn’t take charge. She was a firstborn,
and Responsibility was her middle name. (Although her sister, Celeste, would
probably argue that her middle name was Bossy.) She didn’t have a problem with rolling
up her sleeves and getting to work, but she also didn’t want to offend old-
timers like Susan Frank. “I’m sure someone else…” she began.

“Your idea, you have to do it,” Susan goaded.

Jenna raised her chin. “I can do it.” She’d survived rehabbing the Driftwood
Inn. How much harder could it be to organize a festival?

In three months. Blink. Blink, blink, blink.

“Do I have a motion that we sponsor a Seaside
with Santa Festival for the weekend before Christmas?” Brody asked.

“So moved,” said Ellis. “I’m with you, kid,” he told Jenna.

“I’ll second,” Nora said and reached across the back of Tyrella’s chair to
give Jenna’s shoulder an encouraging pat.

“All in favor?” Brody asked.
“Aye,” chorused almost everyone.
“Opposed?”
“Nay,” Susan Frank said. “I’m telling you all, this is a bad idea. Make sure
you put that in the minutes,” she told Cindy.

“Motion carries,” said Brody. He smiled down at Jenna. “Looks like we’re
going to be putting on a holiday bash.”

“Holiday disaster,” Susan grumbled from her side of
the table.

What did Susan know? Blink, blink, blink.

 

 

 

 

 

USA Today best-selling author Sheila Roberts has seen over fifty books, both fiction and non-fiction in print. Her novels have appeared in many different languages and been made into movies for both the Lifetime and Hallmark Channels. She writes about things near and dear to women’s hearts – love,  friendship, family and chocolate.Her latest book is the women’s fiction, Winter at the Beach.

Website Link: http://www.sheilasplace.com

Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/_Sheila_Roberts?lang=en

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/funwithsheila/

 

Review of Winter at the Beach

Review (4.5 Stars):  Winter at the Beach is a delightfully charming story set in the wonderful town of Moonlight Harbor.  We met Jenna and the gang in the first book, Welcome to Moonlight Harbor, and this is the perfect series to cozy up to during these cold winter months.  Jenna is having a hard time getting reservations at her hotel, The Driftwood Inn and comes up with the idea to start a winter festival to bring tourists back to this lovely community.  Things don’t go quite as planned and Jenna believes that she may lose everything when things seems to turn into a great big disaster.

I loved seeing how Jenna and her daughter were adjusting to life in Moonlight Harbor and the struggles that they faced being on their own.  Jenna is one of those characters that you can instantly connect with and I definitely understood what it feels like to navigate the difficult role of raising a teenage daughter.  My heart went out to her for this.  The story was well-written, filled with laughter and tears, and you will enjoy spending time with the wonderful characters of Moonlight Harbor.  I always enjoy my visits to this sweet community and I can’t wait to read the next book in this great series.

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