~ About the Book ~
When Connor Larkin boards a late night bus in downtown LA, he’s not sure where he’s going or what he’s looking for. Putting his acting career—and his fiancée—on hold, he’s searching for something he can’t define, a part of himself he lost on the road to success. Once he dreamed of being a singer in the classic style of Sinatra and Bennett. But his lean good looks soon landed him in movies as the sexy “bad guy”—and in the arms of a famous young heiress. Now, with his wedding day approaching, Connor finds himself stepping into the sleepy seaside town of Miramar Bay—where one remarkable woman inspires him to rethink all of his choices…
She needed to know his secrets, and to see if he’d tell her the truth.
Sylvie Cassick is nothing like the pretentious starlets back in Hollywood. The daughter of a nomadic painter, she’s had to work hard for everything—unlike Connor’s fiancée. When Connor hears familiar music drifting out of Sylvie’s restaurant, he feels as if he’s finally come home. Sylvie isn’t sure what to think when this impossibly handsome stranger applies for a waiter’s job. Yet once he serenades her customers—and slowly works his way into her heart—she realizes there’s more to him than he’s letting on. And Connor realizes he’s found his destiny. But as the outside world encroaches, threatening their fragile bond, Connor will have to risk losing everything to gain the life he longs for, and be the man Sylvie deserves.
Filled with bittersweet longing, Miramar Bay is an unforgettable journey through doubt and desire—to the truth that can be discovered along the road less taken.
~ Excerpt ~
Connor walked back to his room through a dense and chilling fog. But it was nothing compared to the daze he felt. As Sylvie had walked him to the door and bid him good night, she had invited him to share in a sunrise walk. Her invitation had been expressed with a shyness that had touched Connor. Now, as he climbed Miramar’s main street, he had the sense of being offered a rite of passage. The evening had woken something inside him. It was such a strange sensation, he could not even name it.
He knew full well he was attracted to Sylvie. A blind man in a coma could see that much. What Connor could not understand was, why now?
Falling for a woman was the absolute last thing that should happen to him now. And it was not because of Kali, his soon-to-be ex-fiancée. If Connor had gained anything from traveling to Miramar, it was the absolute certainty that ending that marriage before it started was the right thing to do.
His footsteps scraped on the pavement, the sound overloud in the silent night. The fog was so thick he could not see much beyond the next streetlight. Time and again, he returned to the same inescapable fact. How could he be right for any woman, or know which was right for him, until he had a handle on who he really was?
One day, he would very much like to have a woman like Sylvie Cassick say she loved him. A woman whose physical beauty was so natural, it emerged spontaneously from her heart, as instinctive as a blooming rose.
Sylvie was a woman who cared so deeply, even strangers wanted to embrace her. Even a broken wretch from the world of film and lies gravitated to her. Even a Hollywood actor who did not have the first idea of who he truly was, a vagabond who could only say that he was lost. Connor was a wandering idiot who had run from all his dreams, simply because they had come true.
Love a woman like Sylvie Cassick? Hopefully. Yes. Someday. When he deserved it.
Love this woman now? The idea was not just absurd, it was dangerous. For both of them.
The fog was so thick Connor almost missed turning into the guesthouse. Then a corner of the sign emerged from the gloom. He crossed the parking lot, let himself into the room, and shut his door against all the vague yearnings that had chased him through the night.
He had not come all this way just to break another woman’s heart.
~ Review ~
As is always the case with Davis Bunn’s novels, I was pulled into this story from the very beginning. I had actually forgotten what the story was about when I started reading, so it was with an air of anticipation that I got on the bus with Connor and waited to discover where this story was heading. That anticipation swelled as I met Sylvie Cassick and Estelle Rainer in turn, and began to uncover their stories and see how all these different threads would tangle together…and unravel…and then weave together again.
Connor Larkin was an interesting character—quietly intense. He’s not quite a Hollywood A-lister, but he has made a career out of dying on the screen—ninety-seven times, and counting. Somewhere along the way, though, he lost himself, and so five days before he’s set to marry heiress Kali Lyndon in a highly-publicised reality wedding, he boards a bus and heads to Miramar Bay, looking for a new beginning.
Estelle Rainer and Sylvie Cassick are no strangers to loss either. Estelle has come to Miramar Bay to see if she can recover her loss, but every time she tries to take that momentous final step, she balks. Sylvie has suddenly found herself in danger of losing what little she has left when she is falsely accused. When Connor arrives in Miramar Bay he gets caught up in both of these unfolding stories, a situation that is quickly complicated by the life he’s running away from.
As engaging as the first half was, the story really picked up momentum in the second half and I found myself reluctant to put it down. Bunn’s talent for emotive writing lent itself well to the contemplative nature of these characters and enhanced the poignancy of their journeys. I did feel as though the characters held themselves at arm’s length from the reader—as though there was an invisible narrator standing between us, sharing the character’s point-of-view on their behalf—but I’m still undecided as to whether that detracted from the reading experience or actually contributed to it.
In any case, this is an engrossing story of new beginnings and second chances.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review.
Release date: 28 March 2017
~ About the Author ~
Davis Bunn is an internationally bestselling author, published in 20 languages and with more than 7 million books in print. He is a 4-time Christy Award winner and has received much acclaim for his novels across multiple genres, including historical fiction, inspirational, suspense and women’s fiction. Born and raised in North Carolina, Davis left for Europe at age twenty and pursued a business career that took him to over 20 countries all over the world. He and his wife now divide most of their time between the coast of Florida and the English countryside, where Davis serves as Writer in Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University.