Reading Roundup: “The Shore House” by Heidi Hostetter

I just finished reading “The Shore House: An Emotional and Uplifting Page Turner” from Heidi Hostetter.   This women’s fiction book is set to be published on July 20, 2020 from Bookouture.  It can be purchased from Amazon for $3.99 in Kindle format.

Heidi Hostetter grew up in New Jersey and has spent time in the Pacific Northwest and South Carolina.  Sher and her family currently reside in the DC area. She is the author of five novels including “Things We Keep”, “Things We Surrender”, “The Inheritance”, and “A Light in the Window”.

This is the first book that I have read by Hostetter.  In “The Shore House” her writing style is common to other books in this genre.  Varied sentence structures, and words that flow together seamlessly. The resounding phrase that I come up with reflecting on this book is “chaos turned clarity”. 

This book takes place on Dewberry Beach, New Jersey.  Dewberry Beach is a small coastal community.  From the descriptions I gather that the houses are quaint cottages, and is a town where simplicity is key.  There are several references of “big city” houses or companies and how that type of living doesn’t fit in the community.  I picture this place to be a coastal Mayberry.

This story follows the Bennett family.  Patriarch Chase and his wife, Kaye, as well as their two children Stacy and Brad.  Stacy is joined by her husband Ryan, and their two children.  The Shore House has been in the Bennett family for years and was once the summer home of the family.  However, three years ago, Chase suffered a heart attack that left him clinging to life.   

After all of the doctor appointments, physical therapy and tests needed to treat his condition, it is decided that the summer home be reopened, and the family spend the summer there together.  Kaye and Stacy have a bit of a conflicted relationship, as do Chase and Brad.  Can the summer at the Shore House bring everything back into perspective and help heal the relationships that have been broken?

Each of the characters are integral to the story.  Chase, once a very successful businessman, is dealing with the change his life has taken, and an overbearing wife who is trying desperately to keep him healthy.  He seems to take things in stride but is struggling with the change in who he is.   Kaye is a forced to be reckoned with.  She is stubborn and determined, yet, likeable.  Stacy is handing by a thread as a stay-at-home mom to two, soon to be three children. She has the classic “mom guilt” about every choice she makes and finds that balancing her children’s schedules is her only purpose in life.  Ryan, her husband, is the founder of a start-up.  He is torn between work and his family.  Brad is a free spirit.  He has spent time traveling and is looking for his purpose in life. 

My favorite character is Stacy.  I think I most identify with her.  Many times, while reading her scenes, I felt like I was reading my own feelings on paper.  My least favorite character was a minor character in the story.  She was rude, demanding, manipulative.  I was so thankful to see that her part was short.

I think the character that showed the most growth was Brad.  He went from being a vagabond to someone who has a set plan for the future, connected to his roots. 

The ending of the book left me wanting to know more about the family and how their journey continues.  I noticed on the cover that it is called “Dewberry Beach Book One” which has me wishing that there is a sequel in the works. 

I always try to inform readers about sensitive areas that might be a trigger.  The only sensitive areas that I could find in this story is the heart attack that Chase suffers and how it impacts Kaye, as well as a very brief mention of 9/11. 

Overall, I would rate “The Shore House” with four stars.  I could almost picture this book as a plot in a Hallmark movie that I would enjoy to watch.

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