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White Sand, Blue Sea: A St. Barts Love Story Paperback – April 11, 2017
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“A fabulous escape.”
“How OOC could a family drama that’s set in sandy St. Barts get? Very.”
“Anita Hughes has a knack for taking us on a journey to a far-off place and making us feel like we're on vacation...Get swept away in this story of love and adventure, and don't forget the SPF!” ―PopSugar
“This is escape reading at its most lush and exotic. Anita Hughes hits all the right notes in WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA–glamour, intrigue, adventure, and a sweep-you-away love story that feels like a mini-vacation to the Caribbean, no matter where you are. Indulge yourself!” ―Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Family Tree
“In WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA, Anita Hughes enchants us with a beautiful family vacationing on a gorgeous Caribbean island. Then a charming and infuriating man comes along to spice up the mix. I couldn’t imagine how it would all turn out, but I savored each delectable page.” ―Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author of Secrets in Summer
“Let Anita Hughes whisk you away to the glamorous island of St. Bart’s... A love story filled with amazing adventures, exotic settings, and of course, romance, Hughes’s latest novel is sure to delight.” ―Brenda Janowitz, author of The Dinner Party
“Hughes has done it again with this wonderful...read! Beautifully described glamorous locales and characters who feel like friends.” ―Kim Gruenenfelder, author of Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink
“Family intrigue, romance, and yet another luscious setting from Anita Hughes. For any reader who hopes to kick back and escape into sun, sand, and drama, look no further.” ―Jamie Brenner, author of The Forever Summer
About the Author
ANITA HUGHES is the author of Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, and Christmas in Paris. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and lives in Dana Point, California, where she is at work on her next novel.
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Olivia Miller is eagerly anticipating her twenty-fifth birthday celebration at her family’s vacation home on St. Bart’s when a stranger arrives. Not immediately realizing who the surprise visitor is, she is absolutely delighted to discover he is none other than her long absent dad, Sebastian. After he walked out on her and her mother Hadley twenty years ago, Olivia’s only contact with him over the years has been through sporadic letters. Will Hadley and her husband Felix London welcome Sebastian with open arms? Will Olivia’s longtime boyfriend Finn be supportive of her need to reconnect with her father? And, perhaps most important of all, what is behind Sebastian’s sudden reappearance in his daughter’s life?
Despite her father’s abandonment, Olivia has led a pretty charmed life and she comes across as a little naive and entirely too trusting. Olivia is deliriously happy with Finn and she is eagerly looking forward to taking their relationship to the next level. While Olivia’s desire to have her father in her life is completely understandable, Felix has always been a doting stepfather who cherished and nurtured her throughout her life. This close relationship with Felix makes Olivia’s blind devotion to Sebastian an absolute mystery. She never even brings up the fact that he walked away from her without a second thought. She seems completely unaffected by the fact that he was NEVER involved in her life at all beyond a few letters. Instead, Olivia eagerly hangs on his every word and enthusiastically agrees with every harebrained suggestion he makes.
Sebastian is so laughably superficial and obviously self-absorbed that it is completely mystifying that everyone immediately falls under his spell. He spins quite a few incredulous yarns about his travels and everyone accepts his rather outlandish claims without blinking an eye. Sebastian might be charming and good looking, but he is so glib and manipulative that it is impossible to believe that not a single person beyond ex-wife Hadley is suspicious about the reason he is inserting himself into their lives.
Hadley tries to give Sebastian the benefit of the doubt, but her past experiences with him are a harsh reality check. She is rightfully angry at his unwelcome observations and self-serving proclamations about their daughter. To her credit, Hadley attempts to remain impartial so as to not influence Olivia’s relationship with Sebastian. However, even with their somewhat tempestuous past, Hadley is not completely immune to Sebastian’s (dubious) charms. He manages to find her weaknesses and he does everything he can to exploit them (which makes him even MORE unlikable).
Not even Felix and Finn are safe from Sebastian’s appeal and in a stunning turn of events, Felix’s objections over his wife’s ex-husband staying with them disappear almost immediately. However, Finn has a few reservations about Sebastian and his unhappiness over Sebastian’s interference in their lives puts him at odds with Olivia. The once happy couple is facing the first rough patch in their relationship and it is anyone’s guess whether or not they will smooth over the differences.
The one area where Anita Hughes consistently excels is her ability to bring the locations of her novels vibrantly to life. In White Sand, Blue Sea, St. Barts serves as a lush backdrop for the conflict and tension within the family and the island provides a nice escape for them when things become a little too intense between them. Flashbacks of Hadley and Sebastian’s relationship provide much needed context for what went wrong between them so many years earlier. Sebastian’s constant recounting of his adventures quickly becomes tiresome since;they are so obviously embellished they are unbelievable. The absolute best part of the novel is Felix’s relationship with Olivia and his easy acceptance of her need to get to know her father. While a bit unrealistic and a little frustrating at times, the various story arcs are completely wrapped up by the novel’s conclusion.
I received a complimentary copy for review.
Hughes paints such a pretty picture, the setting is definitely the strong point of this book. I could feel the sand between my toes, smell the flowers mixed with salty air and gorgeous scents of exotic food, it was so easy to conjure up an image of St. Bart. I had heard that a Hughes book was comparable to Elin Hilderbrand’s books and I’m a huge fan of her work, but besides the beach setting, I’m not really thinking that’s entirely accurate, this book lacked even a bit of the substance that Hilderbrand’s have.
The characters were pretty unlikable, and not in a, are they good or bad type of way. More like a, they’re all pretentious, spoiled snobs type of way. Olivia is turning 25 and she’s extremely immature and naive. She comes across as selfish and vulnerable, but not in an endearing way, it was annoying. Her dad, Sebastian is awful, he’s flighty, pampered and egotistic and I found him utterly boring. I did like Felix, Olivia’s stepfather though, he wasn’t as pompous as the rest.
This wasn’t a bad book, I actually did like it in a weird way, the location was amazing and Hughes is an excellent writer in terms of creating and capturing a fantastic atmosphere. I expected a little bit more romance and excitement and instead was thrust into the lives of some vapid, shallow characters who I couldn’t relate to at all. I would read another book by Hughes though, next time it’ll be on a beach while I’m drinking though so I can overlook the lack of substance and just take it for what it is.
Olivia Miller (daughter, Vassar), answered the door & a strange man was there.
After a few remarks he finally told her he was her father Sebastian Miller she had not seen in 20 yrs.
It was soon to be her 25th. birthday.
She was hoping Finn (Olivia’s BF, attorney, Princeton) would give her a wedding ring.
Hadley (Olivia’s mother) & Felix (Olivia’s stepfather), were shocked also, but after a few moments offered to let him stay at their place.
Esther tried to accommodate a wide assortment cuisine for everyone’s taste buds.
Olivia & Sebastian spent a lot of time getting to know each other.
He also shared his life with Finn.
What did Robert Hunter (art appraiser), let the family know about 1 of their art paintings?
Why was Olivia in Anguilla?
Later what did Finn reveal to Olivia?
I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review. Only an honest one.
A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written romance book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great romantic adventure movie, or better yet a mini TV series. A very easy rating of 5 stars.
Thank you for the free Goodreads; MakingConnections; St. Martin’s Press Griffin (MacMillian); AUCP; paperback book
Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)