Wednesday, April 8, 2009


by Julie Carobini
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There is nothing left. Nothing left for Tara in Dexton, Missouri. When on his deathbed, Tara’s father said to her, “Take the girls home, Tara. Take the girls, and say hello to Otter Bay for me, will you Princess?” Tara’s Dad always called her Princess and as the older sister, she thought of his words now and realized it was her duty to follow through with his last words. Her cousin, Camille, who was like the youngest sister to Camille and her sister Liz, since Camille had lived with them from such a young age, was part of the “girls” her dad was talking about. Liz, however, was set on going to New York. She was going to find work there and come back for her things once she was settled.

So with Tara’s dad gone now 6 years, there really isn’t anything left to keep Tara in Missouri. She had broken it off with her ex-fiancĂ© (or had he?), Trent; and Tara’s mom is off on a year long “honeymoon” following her wedding to Derrick, who is eight years younger than she is. This trip will include what Derrick describes as backpacking through Europe, and Tara can just picture her mother doing that now, but what can she say? The way Tara feels after the wedding, as if she has no place to turn, makes her realize that the perfect answer is to follow her dad’s wishes.

So with Camille, Tara heads to California to relocate in the place she has fond young memories of. A return to Otter Bay, California, with Camille, just might let them return to a simpler and better place and time. This might give them a new, calm place to live and grow.

Upon arriving in their destination, Camille and Tara are eating breakfast at the local diner and she is delighted when she is offered a job at the charming inn they are currently staying at. They need a desk clerk and they offer Tara the job and she accepts. The life that Tara, however, expects to experience in Otter Bay doesn’t quite go the way she thought it would. For one thing, and a point I particularly found annoying, was that Tara has this mania about her favorite soap opera character/star, Eliza Carlton, and would too often imagine herself in the situation and think what would Eliza do? This side story was often distracting to the main story in my opinion.

Tara discovers a possible love interest in a certain fireman named Josh but even he begins to display some quirks after the initial draw. Josh seems to have some problems of his own to deal with and Tara isn’t sure if she can take on any more problems or will he be worth the effort? When Tara also starts to see that the happy marriage her parents had in what she thought was the perfect place to live, even had some scandalous surprises, she begins to wonder what this is all about. Is this why they left? Are they true? Will she be able to work things out with Josh? Will she finally find happiness WITHOUT her infatuation with the soap opera queen taking over? This story will cause Tara to question everything her faith has ever meant to her. If she does this, will all things work out? Will her trust win out over anything harmful? The negative tales that people tell of her father start to be a real concern and the story has to bring answers to all these questions in order for the reader to be satisfied. I am not sure that Carobini answered all of them for me, but she did answer enough to bring mostly closure to the story. I would recommend this book to young adults or fans of light chik-lit.

*Visit Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals to see her review of SWEET WATERS by clicking here


Kaye said...

I am glad to see that Eliza soap opera thing annoyed you too. This was one of those light, ever so light books that young women ( well, certainly younger than you and I, Bingo) would like.That is probably her target audience and she may do well with it. If I want to read something light, I wil stick to my cozy mysteries. If I had never read the this book, I don't think I would be missing anything. Good review. I am putting a link to your review on mine. Have a good week, Tootsie!

bermudaonion said...

Sounds like a great beach read.

Missy B. said...

I would buy this book and read it just because of the cover! I love it!

Ladytink_534 said...

Love this cover. Sounds like a good story Bingo!