Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book review: Wind Chime Summer by Sophie Moss

Sophie Moss did it again, and it’s no surprise. Her books, especially those in the Wind Chime Café series are beautiful and artfully crafted stories that will hook you from the very start and will take you on a journey filled with emotions so strong and real you can nearly touch them, with tension that will make you hold your breath and root for the characters’ happily-ever-after, and with that feel-good vibe that will wrap you in a warm embrace like a blanket on a chilly day. The small-town setting only serves to add up to the emotional connection you get when you read her books. No matter where you are when you're starting the book—you can be sure you'll end up on Heron Island after a few pages. You'll be able to smell the fish and ocean water, you'll hear seagulls and the sound of the wind chimes carry in the air, and soon enough you'll feel like you're one of the residents. 

Izzy and Ryan's story is as beautiful as it is heart-wrenching. The two characters each have their own problems and their own fears to overcome, and even though Ryan seems the one of the two who would be more inclined to get close and see what could come out of it, there are some boundaries he just can’t cross—not to mention, Izzy doesn’t let anyone within arm’s reach.
The challenge Izzy has to face is a tough one. She isn't just trying to overcome PTSD like the other veterans in the program organized by ex Navy SEALs Will and Colin to help veterans get back into the real world and adjust to their life outside the military—she has to deal with demons that ruined her life and forced her to give up on her dreams. Growing up in a family of immigrants, Izzy has had a tough life since she was a child. Enlisting in the Army as a cook was her best chance at making enough money that would allow her to open a food-related business with her grandmother. But someone took that dream from her and when she’s sent to take part in the program on Heron Island, the last thing she wants is to find new friends and get attached to strangers. She just wants to go through the three months and in the meantime complete her own personal mission of finding other women who suffered because of the person who ruined her life—and finally make him pay for what he did.

Ryan is an intriguing character and a total surprise. After reading the previous two books, which featured strong and broken military men, I wasn’t sure how he would fit in the series. He’s not suffering from PTSD or from missing a limb, like Will and Colin did, and he seems okay on the outside. But he has his own demons, too, demons that have been gnawing at his heart for years, ever since the day his mother walked out on her husband and children. He’s determined to prove his father that he can save the bay, that he can resurrect the oyster farming business so, by offering temporary jobs to the veterans in Will and Colin’s program, he’s hoping to make things right and get his father’s approval at last. He sure wasn’t expecting to be struck by strong feelings upon meeting Izzy. And the fact that she’s pulling back whenever he tries to get near only makes him want to dig deeper, to find out what her demons are and help her get over them.
The way things change, as soon as Izzy pulls down the walls around her and lets people in, is heart-warming. I loved seeing her come out of her hard, I-need-nobody’s-help shell and start trusting people. 

The romance in this novel is a little more subtle than the usual romance novels, with more focus on the heroine’s journey toward getting over her fears and letting another man close again. I’ll be honest, I was a little sad when I saw the words “The End” and realized I wasn’t going to read more about the two of them together. I personally would have loved to read more of Ryan and Izzy as a couple, after they took the final step and decided to let love in. But don’t let this discourage you from picking up the book, because it really is a beautiful story, with a romantic happy ending and some twists that keep it all more entertaining (there are a couple of edge-of-your-seat moments that will have you hold your breath waiting for the next scene).

Just like I expected, I enjoyed reading this book and I had a hard time putting down my Kindle. It was one of those books you can’t put down but at the same time, you don’t want to read too fast because then it will end too soon. I was thrilled to find out there will be a series crossover in the next book, and I can’t wait to read it. I do hope Ryan and Izzy will make an appearance in that book, just like all the characters from the previous books did in this one, because I really want to see more of them together.

If you’ve read the previous books in the series, you will love this one just as much. If you haven’t, this works as a standalone, but I’m pretty sure you will go back and read book 1 and book 2, as soon as you’ve finished Ryan and Izzy’s story. Fans of emotional and sweet romance, will definitely like Wind Chime Summer.

Buy book 1 and 2 
in the Wind Chime Café series


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