Summary from BN.com: Kimberly Tucker's life hasn't turned out the way she thought it would. A divorced mother of two, Kim resents her ex-husband for moving on with his life and living it up while she struggles to understand what went wrong. When her sons end up spending five weeks of summer vacation with their father, Kim's own father suggests a respite in the family vacation home on tiny Cedar Key Island. As Kim revisits her childhood memories and loves, she soon discovers that treasures in life are often buried, and mistakes—both past and present—become redeemable in God's hand.
Sometimes the beach is the best place to escape from life. If the beach is someplace you always go to however, it can bring back lots of memories - both pleasant and painful. That's exactly what Kimberly Tucker does when her divorced husband wins a court order to have her sons stay an extra week with him during summer. Her husband is the type of guy that I hate. He cheated on her, pretty much wants to live a playboy life, and yet still does everything in his power to make her life miserable. When he tells his reasoning for why he did it later on in the book, it comes out flimsy and just shows the type of man he truly is. Truth be told, Kim is better off without him but since he's been a part of her life, he's there and it hurts. It's interesting though that she realizes how much she still wants to have control over that part of her life, including what he does.
When Kim goes to the beach she reunites and meets with several old and new friends. Among the new is an older woman named Patsy who shares a heartbreaking story as well as tips on Facebook. The old involves her childhood friend who gives the cold shoulder to Kim as well as her first love. Steven's story is revealed through flashbacks from both his and Kim's points of view. I felt quite sorry for him when all is told. Their relationship from when they first met to now is handled very well. There's a lot of passion without having to use sex but enough romantic tension to keep it interesting. I also am glad to see that there are more books showing that it's ok for Christians to remarry after divorcing.
I was pleasantly surprised that the topics of addiction, alcoholism and enabling were brought up in this book. These are topics that are rarely seen in Christian fiction because a lot of readers like clean, tidy reads to escape. Realistic topics like these don't allow for pleasant reading. As I have had experience with these topics in my own life, it was very welcomed to read about them. Everson shows all sides of family members who struggle with loved ones who are addicts. There are people like Kim's brother in law who are admitting that their family member has a problem and gets help to treat themselves as well. Then there are people like Kim's father who has put up with it his entire life and still tries to hide it. Then there's people like Kim, who has been in denial all these years and cannot understand the problem. I think all portrayals are done well and it's very sad to see how any type of addiction problem hurts and can destroy an entire family.
If there is anything that I had a problem with in the book is that I felt it ends rather abruptly. I don't know if we will be revisiting again with Kimberly's sisters in the rest of the series but I feel like Heather's story is left hanging. I also want to know more about Patsy's and Rosa's stories as well. I think the next book will feature Patsy so hopefully there will be some closure on that part.
I really enjoyed reading this story. I have always been a big fan of Everson's works and this one is no exception. The publisher has categorized this story as a contemporary romance but it reads more as women's fiction with a splash of romance. There's a lot to talk about in this novel - divorce, addiction, hurtful relationships, enabling - that I feel that it can't really be classified as a true romance. Either way, this is a really good read and I can't wait to get my hands on more of it.
Chasing Sunsets by Eva Marie Everson is published by Revell (2011)
This review copy was provided by the publisher