Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Dane has built his life around not relying on anyone but himself. When he travels from New York City to North Carolina at the request of his estranged, incarcerated father, he learns truths he’d rather not know… along with inheriting a share in his grandfather’s inn. But the place comes with complications, including a man he will have to walk away from—but can’t help falling for.
Brook has only known romance through notes left in a mailbox at the end of the beach. When he’s tasked with showing his boss’s gorgeous nephew what makes Sunset Beach and Bird Island special, he’s compelled to take Dane to his favorite place.
Dane never wanted the inn, but when it’s threatened, he steps up to defend it… and keep the man he’s coming to love by his side and in his life. But first they’ll have to clean up Dane’s uncle’s mess.
I am such a sucker for stories like His Kindred Spirit by Sloan Johnson. At its heart, a major element is a mailbox on a beach, one full of notebooks where people come to pour out their hearts and then leave them for others to read, a mailbox who’s beginnings are unknown but is now treasured and a well-known draw for locals and tourists alike.
We hear these “snippets” of the heart as they are read by Dane or Brook, and they grab you, connecting you to the beach, the mailbox, and their story. It’s a perfect format and it certainly worked its magic on me.
I actually wished this story was longer because the characters, Dane’s especially, deserve a bit more widening of his back family history and more from his Dad. Given his father’s incarceration, his involvement at the end was too little for my liking. Dane is too complicated, his personality built on the lack of family and trust, plus the importance of in his life of several other secondary characters would have made an expansion, even a little one, a beneficial one.
As it is, I really enjoyed the story I got. The evolution of Brook and Dane’s relationship, which also included Dane’s rethinking his life and his ties to the Inn, and the beach where the Mailbox lies. The idea of re-establishing relationships with a father newly out of jail and a uncle reappearing in his life? A jumbled mess of emotion that upsets a carefully lived life and Sloan Johnson does a great job in relaying that all through the characters and dialog.
There is a murky element that changes things, provides more drama and suspense, that almost felt out of place here. I thought the rest of the story had plenty of authentic drama with the family, emotional changes, and the father, without this additional aspect to it. The fact that it was resolved almost too cleanly and without more bad feelings seems just not that likely, especially given one man’s attitude towards the inn. Someone who feels entitled will always feel entitled. That dragged the rating down a bit.
Otherwise, I love this story and that Mailbox! Especially that ending.
If you love contemporary romance, and letters from strangers helping people to their HEA, this is a story for you
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht. Love this cover, it’s got everything, including the mailbox. Perfect.
ebook, 1st edition, 131 pages
Expected publication: March 29th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press