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Cape May Paperback – July 28, 2015
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From Kirkus Reviews
A New Yorker in her late 50s makes some major changes in her life in this debut novel.
Fifty-nine-year-old Joanna Matthews seems reasonably happy, except for the fact she hates her job as an associate managing editor at a medical education company and is tired of Manhattan. In possession of a small inheritance, she wants to leave the city and fulfill her lifelong dream of running a bed and breakfast. Her husband, freelance accountant Brian, grudgingly agrees to her plan. Months of property visits in New England fail to yield any good prospects, so she decides to direct her search southward. She is captivated by Cape May, New Jersey, even before she visits, and meeting freelance writer Michael, a bona fide aficionado of the town, on the bus ride down turns out to be an unbelievable stroke of luck. He promises to share his extensive knowledge of the seaside resort, and when Brian is delayed in joining her, Joanna accepts Michael’s offer to accompany her on house tours. Not only does Joanna fall in love with a charmingly named bed and breakfast, Tea and Scones, she also finds herself attracted to her helpful tour guide, Michael. Brian shows up moments after Michael and Joanna have shared their first passionate kiss, and her guilt makes her physically ill. Hoping to escape her feelings for Michael by fleeing Cape May, she realizes when she returns to Manhattan how difficult it is to avoid a spouse in a tiny apartment. Joanna nearly allows her self-loathing to destroy three lives before she finally makes a decision about her future. This is women’s fiction that transcends the clichés. Caster, a professional writer, deftly keeps all the characters in the love triangle sympathetic, avoiding the easy solution of creating a villain. Joanna, the least blameless, shows such remorse for the situation she finds herself in that the reader pities her. Caster’s greatest gift lies in the unflinching honesty of her writing—both the characters and the settings. Rather than lauding Manhattan, the author illustrates all the reasons Joanna yearns to leave—the crowds, the tourists, the small apartments. Caster is somewhat less effective in evoking the full charm of Cape May.
A beautiful setting and intelligent characters grace this tale that proves it’s never too late to fulfill a longtime dream.
"Cape May by Holly Caster is a heart-warming, realistic romance novel with middle-aged characters. Cape May by Holly Caster is the perfect read for adults who enjoy realistic fiction and romance stories. What I liked about this book is that the focus is on characters that are past their youth and yet are fully open to the idea of love, sex, and romance just as anyone younger would be. In this sense, the story is inspirational and hopefully inspires people of any age to follow their dreams. The three main characters are well drawn and the writing style is simple, straightforward, and engaging in a very realistic way. Overall, this is a great book and I would highly recommend it." (Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite)
"Cape May is a beautifully crafted story...[demonstrating] that love does not have an age restriction, and romance is not only for the young but for the older generation too. It had a very realistic, appealing theme in a lovely seaside setting. Cape May is a women’s fiction novel that is well worth reading." (Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite)
"Caster painted a beautiful picture... I like reading this type of story because I am never sure how it will end. It can go a bunch of different ways and finding the perfect ending is hard. Caster did a good job with the ending of this story. If you like to read romance stories that are not too mushy, then this is the perfect book." (Jessyca Garcia for Readers’ Favorite)
Top customer reviews
Joanna Matthews lives in New York City and is 20 years into a comfortable, if unfulfilled marriage. Her career is routine and unexciting. When she finally asks herself at age 59 if she is happy, the answer is not resounding a yes. She decides to make changes in her life, beginning with opening a B&B in nearby Cape May, New Jersey, America’s Oldest Seaside Resort.
But with that one decision, many changes come quickly. On a bus ride down to Cape May, Joanna meets Michael, and a friendly Scrabble game turns into a dinner. As she spends more time with Michael, Joanna suddenly realizes what is missing from her marriage. This knowledge makes her look at her life as a whole: her marriage, her career, her family and more. Will she finally have the courage to choose happiness?
Author Holly Caster captures the tension, suspense and heartbreak that come with any love triangle. Her vivid descriptions of Cape May provide a real sense of place. And, her choice to make Joanna a mature woman who is almost 60 years old, makes this an interesting and satisfying read.
What was most interesting, and a good reason a story like this is important, is the age of the characters -- people approaching 60, older adults who have made life decisions in the past that cause great soul searching and a need for changes. As I read the story, I kept visualizing them as younger people -- in their mid-30's or so, and then kept being brought back to reality when I was reminded of how old they really were.
Know that I myself am over 70, so it goes to show how we think of romantic stories as for the young. Considering the ageism that is rampant in our society, this book is quite wonderful in its rich characterizations of older people.
I am hopeful this is only a first book for Holly Caster and that we will see more books from her.
and the theme of finding love at any age and that it is complex and that all hell/heaven
breaks loose. The dialogue and details are authentic and funny, but not in a forced way.
I love the depiction of Cape May, a place I love. It made me feel like I was there! I enjoyed
Joanna's journey and felt like I was along for the ride.
I think her next novel should be about Scrabble!!! or maybe how Brian gets on...