Eighteen months ago, Sophia Jones finally walked out on her unhappy life.
With a tricky divorce ongoing, money is tight and so when friends offer her a housekeeping job while they’re away travelling, she accepts.
Nate McKinley is hesitant when his brother, Gabe, offers him the use of their home in the picturesque village of Wishington Bay. But he has a book to a write and an imploded marriage to recover from, so maybe a change of scene is exactly what he needs.
As Wishington Bay works its magic, friendship blossoms between Sophia and Nate. For Nate, finally feeling able to be himself with someone who is honest and down to earth is a revelation.
But Sophia has a secret and a jealous colleague is determined to blow her cover. Can she really keep her old life in the past or is it destined to destroy this new, happy one too?
Take a trip back to Wishington Bay this winter and find out…
A deliciously heart-warming and romantic read, perfect for a cosy winter’s evening, from the author of the bestselling Winter’s Fairytale.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set in the idyllic community of Wishington Bay Sophia is healing and starting enjoy her new life. She has friends, a job, but still keeps a secret that could destroy it all. Looking after Nate for her friend Holly makes her feel good until she meets him.
This is an enemy to lover second chance romance for Nate and Sophia. The characters are flawed, realistic and easy to empathise. Honesty and trust are important to Nate. He values this in his fledgeling relationship with Sophia. She knows her secrets may damage what they have, but Nate has unfinished business with his soon to be ex-wife too.
This is character-driven reliant on dialogue interchanges between the protagonists to move the story forward. This adds to the realism but slows the pace a little.
The ending, whilst not a shock, does ramp up the external conflict. The ending shows how much the two characters have developed positively.
Extract From Winter at Wishington Bay – Maxine Morrey
‘Morning, Sophia!’ Ernie raised a hand being kept toasty by a thick sheepskin glove. ‘Bit nippy today.’
I waved back and nodded in agreement, the bobble on my woolly hat bouncing as I did so. ‘Just a little!’ I grinned at both him and the typically British understatements. It was absolutely bloody freezing.
Wrapping my coat a little tighter, I dug my hands into my pockets and hurried along the cobbled village streets. Now that the bulk of the tourists had gone for the winter, it was easier to do without having to negotiate round the shuffling window shoppers of summer who filled the narrow pavements during the high season. Not that Wishington Bay ever entirely closed. Its renowned beauty, and relatively sheltered position, made it popular even out of season, and of course the brilliant reputation of Ned’s restaurant, where I worked as a waitress, brought people from miles away all through the year.
I took extra shifts at the restaurant whenever I could, which on many occasions was over a weekend thanks to one particular colleague, Corinne. She’d been hired by Ned as a favour to old friends and was apparently there more for the ‘life experience’ rather than any need to earn a decent income. The latter part was covered most indulgently by her father, allowing Corinne to be far more concerned with fitting work around her social life, rather than the other way round. My own circumstances, however, dictated that I would never turn down the opportunity to earn a little extra cash, and why I was now hurrying along the road that led towards the edge of the village.
The idea that I would ever be in a position to need to earn money at all was still one that occasionally took some getting used to but I had, in general, adjusted fairly well to this new circumstance, and thanks to Carrie and her sister-in-law, Holly, I was on my way to the first day of another new venture.
As I turned into the private lane that led down to Holly and Gabe’s house, I looked across from the raised position and took in the curve of the bay, the pale sand today edged with a sea of bright turquoise. Above it, puffy white clouds chased each other quickly across the blue sky. The sun shone, although there was little warmth from it, but the rays caught the tops of the white horses as they danced across the water before breaking onto the shore. I took a deep lungful of the cold, sharp air, tasting the salt in it, and smiled to myself, realising that despite my reduced circumstances I was lucky to have ended up at Wishington Bay. Pulling my phone from my pocket, I snapped a couple of pictures of the beautiful scenery to upload onto my Instagram later before heading on down the lane towards the house.
Maxine Morrey is a bestselling romantic comedy author with eight books to her name including Winter’s Fairytale and the top ten hit The Christmas Project. She lives in West Sussex. Her first novel for Boldwood, #No Filter, was published in November 2019.