REVIEW: Resting Beach Face by Melanie Summers
Melanie Summers welcomes you back to Paradise Bay for a ridiculously romantic, laugh-out-loud tale of reluctant homecomings, lost loves, and second chances…
Yoga instructor, Hadley Jones, has loved Chase Williams since high school. Fifteen years later, she still does. And while he hasn’t popped the question yet, she knows it’s only a matter of time. Little does Hadley know Chase has been busy making wedding plans—just not with her.
Heath Robinson left the Santa Valentina Islands the first chance he got. He’s about to pull together the biggest aeronautical merger in history when he gets a call that has him boarding a plane home. Now, instead of sipping whiskey sours with the big boys, he’ll be watching his bed-ridden mother sip from a juice box. His plan is to help her recover from her moped accident as quickly as possible so he can get back to his real life—hopefully before he runs into the girl who crushed his heart, Hadley Jones.
Will Hadley realize that Heath is the real man of her dreams? Will Heath forgive Hadley? Will his mum ever ride a moped again?
Find out in this delightfully funny tale of life coming full circle! Resting Beach Face is sure to leave you smiling…
Dear Ms. Summers,
Chalk it up to Amazon that I saw this book title and chuckled even as I was pulling it up to read the blurb. It was the title plus the promise of what sounded like a sweet hero who takes care of his mum that sold me on trying it. It’s a rom-com so of course there are going to be a few “you just have to go with this bit” parts to it but overall, this is the type of rom-com book I’ve been waiting for. Thank you.
Okay before we get started I do have to shake my finger at you just a little about something that is totally unnecessary to the book. In the opening section of text exchanges between many of the main characters done when they are mid-teenagers, is a reference by two of them to one of their teachers who assigns some homework on Friday. The infamous mass murdering WWII person who is mentioned is totally out of proportion to the situation. Yeah, these are kids exaggerating but I’d advise readers to just skip this intro part and let me tell you that it sets up Hadley and Heath as friends, Hadley beginning to date Chase (ie the Wanker), and Heath sadly giving up his dream of dating Hadley because he’ll do what it takes to make her happy even if it’s seeing her happy with another guy.
Twelve years later Hadley is (more impatiently) waiting for her perfect boyfriend Chase (who even her perfectionist mother approves of) to pop the question so they can plan their dream wedding and start their dream life together. Meanwhile Heath, who escaped their (made up) Caribbean island homeland, is about to help arrange a mega money business merger that should seal his position as partner in the New York firm to which he’s given almost 24/7 access to his life for six years. Having to suddenly drop out and return home to help his 72 year old (she had him as a mid-life crisis) born-to-be-bad mother because of her traffic accident pisses off the boss.
When Hadley finds out that Chase has been chasing another woman and Heath gets fired over the phone, they both have to examine their separate lives up until then before they can even think about lives together.
Let’s get the pesky problems out of the way first. Hadley has been taught by her should-have-been-a-nineteen-fifties mother that to keep a handsome, rich, wonderful guy like Chase, she must be sweet and accommodating though not so willing to wait that her eggs dry up. Hadley’s been so “whatever you want, dear” to Chicago based Chase (so they’ve barely seen much of each other) that when she finally discovers he’s been cheating on her for years, it really shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. Still it makes her look like an idiot until she gets mad then gets her own back with Heath cheering her on. Hadley is also briefly described as a woman with curves. Her mother wants her on a diet but Hadley is fine with her figure and Heath appreciates her just as she is.
Heath is an uber beta hero. He’s loved Hadley from afar for years but is willing to let her go if dating Chase is what will make her happy. At times I did want to yell “Grow a pair, Heath.” I managed not to get too mad at him because for the most part he’s not moopy schmoopy. With a mother like his, it would be hard to imagine he could be. Minerva Robinson is a red-hot, no holds barred, tell it like it is person – much, at times, to her son’s chagrin. As he knows her ways, he’s never surprised by what she might say or do. Oh and Hadley and Heath’s first meeting in years has both of them in a situation that makes them cringe instead of it being only the heroine.
Now – on to the good stuff. This book made me laugh and smile a lot. But the humor is more quiet – though spiced with some physical comedy. Over-the-top attempts for laughs are restricted compared to a lot of rom-com books I’ve read. Hadley and Heath both have friends on the island (some of whom were in previous books which I haven’t read – yet) and it’s nice to see them around and interacting with other people. One major thing that stuck out for me in this book is how (pretty much) normal most of the characters are. I could see knowing them and not thinking that they’re weirdos or whackos.
The tone of the story is fairly light with some deeper moments sprinkled in. Heath and Hadley thought they knew what they wanted in life, thought they had what they wanted in life but now have to rethink what they wanted in life when what they wanted goes pear shaped. Hadley comes to some realizations about how she acted, even if she thought that’s how she should act to show her love while Heath faces what he thinks is the end of his romantic hopes and whether he truly wants what his professional life might become.
Still the book knows it’s a rom-com and plays to that using a few tropes though nothing is done with a heavy hand. The dialog is funny with some moments that made me laugh and smile. Of course the timing of their realizations of love is off, of course they decide to give up on a possible relationship for the good of the other one, of course a grand gesture doesn’t go as planned (though it is viewed by millions due to youtube and someone with a phone) but I actually approved of the decision not to give in. There’s a pretty good reason one of them pulls back and it gives the story enough breathing room so that when they do have a final public reunion, I think both of them have thought it through and are ready. It’s a romantic comedy grounded in just enough reality that I didn’t groan or roll my eyes. And that is no mean feat. B+