Summer Breeze
by Courtni Wright, contemporary (2004)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-431-5

I've read enough books by Courtni Wright to safely assume that this is one author whose likeable quirkiness and sassy heroine are often much better than the total package that is the book. The author's best works result when she's marching to a different beat, although "best" in this case is damning praise at best. Summer Breeze is one of those books that lean more towards women's fiction than straightforward romance. Like nearly everything this author has ever written, the premise and potential far outweigh the quality of the actual product.

Eve Turner is offered an opportunity to move to Bermuda and teach under a one-year contract. She leaves behind a man who is too wrapped up in work to probably miss her - or so she thinks. David Scott is a local who predictably rants and foams about how tourists are besmirching the beauty of Bermuda, blah blah blah, until he realizes that Eve is different from the other women. But when Eve and David are close to making love a real deal between them, Eve's boyfriend pops up to ruin the party.

This book has only 280 pages and even so, there is a heavy sense of padding in this story, with secondary characters often taking up space with scenes that add nothing but scenery chewing to the story. In the meantime, David is a total bore and a stick-in-the-mud as well, incessantly whining and moaning about supposedly evil and heartless tourists. Someone please pass him the memo reminding him that Bermuda needs the tourism industry to flourish. His change of mind regarding Eve may be more convincing if it doesn't happen only after two days of knowing her.

Eve has the potential to be an interesting heroine. Stories about women discovering parts of themselves that they aren't aware of and figuring out what they want to do with their lives can make interesting reading, or at least decent Lifetime material. But Eve is paired up with a dull-as-dishwater hero and her ex isn't any better for a workaholic stereotype. Ms Wright makes things worse by inserting plenty of stilted conversations while keeping the story moving at the pace of a nearly-dead snail.

On the bright side, the descriptions of an idealized sunny and so-romantic Bermuda are excellent. This book will make a wonderful sleeping aid, and a plus, it may even give the reader a nice dream or two of sandy beaches, hot sun, and hotter guys during her sojourn in la-la land.

Rating: 64

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