Monday, June 10, 2024

Review: The Summer Escape by Jill Shalvis

The Summer Escape by Jill Shalvis
Series: Sunrise Cove, Book 6
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
The Summer Escape
ISBN: 9780063235816
Release Date: June 11, 2024
Source: Author
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Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Anna Moore didn’t just wake up one day and decide to go on a wild quest—especially since her life no longer lends itself to wild anything—so how in the world does she end up racing against the clock with Owen Harris, a sexy, enigmatic adventurist, to prove her beloved dad innocent of stealing a million-dollar necklace?

It’s all Wendy’s fault. Her older, bossy sister, who’s seven months pregnant and on bed rest in their small Lake Tahoe hometown, is desperate to clear their departed dad’s name. Owen, though, is convinced he’s guilty as hell and wants to return the jewelry back to its rightful owner—his elderly great aunt. Together Anna and Owen go on a scavenger hunt for clues to the past (with Wendy remotely along for the ride via an earbud, supplying a running wry commentary to boot).

On opposing sides and suspicious of each other as they are, Anna and Owen still can’t deny the inexplicable and explosive chemistry between them on this heart-stopping adventure, the outcome of which will prove the necklace isn’t the only thing stolen—their hearts have been as well.

A mystery brings two lonely hearts together in The Summer Escape. Jill Shalvis is an author I’ve enjoyed for years, but I had mixed feelings about her latest Sunrise Cove outing.

Anna is a private investigator whose latest case is deeply personal. She found an antique coin of her father’s but it may be stolen. She’s joined on her quest for the truth by the man whose great-aunt may have been robbed. Owen is an adventurer who, like Anna, carries hidden scars. They both have felt lost and alone with very few people they can rely on. Anna doesn’t like to trust others and Owen never fully lets down his walls. But of course, the two of them are inescapably drawn to one another.

Shalvis’s writing usually draws me in from the start but with The Summer Escape I had a bit of a harder time. Anna and Owen’s chemistry didn’t spark for me much at the beginning, likely because they were overshadowed by the third main character, Anna’s sister, Wendy. Wendy is eight months pregnant with triplets and is on bed rest, but that doesn’t stop this larger-than-life personality from chiming in. Shalvis often includes over-the-top friends or family members in her stories and Wendy is one of the more lively and persistent ones. Whether you find this charming or annoying is really reader preference, and I was in the latter camp.

At about the halfway mark The Summer Escape heats up and it feels like Anna and Owen find their footing. Their chemistry gets more fun and flirty and the story feels like it finds its focus. The mystery comes to a satisfying conclusion and the love story ends with a happily ever after that is charming. I enjoyed Shalvis’s writing and I liked that there were emotional hurdles to conquer that balanced out the frothy humor and social media-inspired quips. That being said, I could have used a bit more from the world – it felt like something was missing from the story to make it feel whole.

The Summer Escape is the sixth book in the Sunrise Cove series but it completely stands on its own. If you know Shalvis, you know that there are going to be some scene-stealing animals along for the ride and they were absolutely too cute for words. Honestly, I would have enjoyed much more time with Turbo, Clawdia, and Jennifur. Adorable animals aside, this was an OK read for me overall. It’s not bad, but I have enjoyed so many other wonderful books by Shalvis that it was a bit of a disappointment.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.