By Rebeca Seitz
Glass Road Media, 2014
From the author of the Sisters, Ink series comes a fun new novella about finding your way…at the beach.
Elizabeth Bakersfield may live in the gorgeous town of Naples, Florida, but she is not the thirty-year-old she envisioned. Her husband left with a Miami Dolphins cheerleader. Her job prospects are nil. The rent is due. Her best friend is living a thousand miles away, building a career in NYC. And her closest companion is the cockatiel Johnny Carson.
The job front starts looking up when she’s offered the position of caretaker of Ganderley’s – a library, kind of. Elizabeth’s job is to loan out the priceless antiques and cars amassed by the widowed Ganderley sisters. Easy, right? Sign things out, get them back in two weeks. And, if she runs into trouble, there’s the gorgeous Ganderley nephew with the British accent, Nicholas Harrington, waiting in the wings with help.
But Elizabeth is about to learn first-hand that possessions – and gorgeous Brits - bring their own kind of drama. If she doesn’t figure out how to sidestep it, her job (not to mention the start of a new life) might be over before it ever really began.
First Blush is the first book I've read by Rebeca Seitz and I loved everything about it! Contemporary romance, women's fiction, chick lit - no matter the classification, it's an engaging read. Some social drinking is present, but in a way that fits the narrative. From characterization to storyline, dialogue to setting, and laced with humor throughout, Rebeca is a strong writer. First Blush is actually a novella of approximately 100 pages that sets the stage for more stories to follow, and I'm very eager to continue on with these characters.
When it comes to setting, Rebeca made me "feel" Naples - its breathtaking water views, stately mansions, and with keen insight into how the elite of society think and behave. Money doesn't always bring happiness, as we all know, and I felt for the Mrs. Pelser described by Elizabeth: "Here she sat, day after day, in a beautiful home that she barely saw, married to a husband who barely saw her. It must be lonely. And tiring. And purposeless."
Naples, Florida estate
The main characters were very interesting, real, and easy to connect with. 30 years old and alone after her husband left with a younger woman, Elizabeth hasn't found her purpose or calling in life, struggles to pay the rent, and fails to live up to what a society daughter in the Bakersfield family should be. And then there's the personable and mysterious Nick - I really can't wait to learn more about him.
I've never heard of a place like Ganderley's and while I'd like to think it's a real place, I suspect it's a part of Rebeca's imagination. Ganderley's started when two sisters, Elva and Esther, lost their husbands and found themselves in possession of eight houses, two yachts, several vehicles, and tons of books and antiques. I loved these ladies who decided to share their wealth by letting people borrow whatever they needed, kind of like a fancy lending library. As a musician, I found Elizabeth's thoughts about Ganderley's music room moving: "I entered the music room and cast a glance toward the baby grand gleaming in the corner of the room. Instruments captivate me. All that potential, just waiting for a skilled and talented person to notice and take action. They look like orphans, waiting to be loved."
There's not a lot of obvious faith elements in this novella, but I suspect we'll see more as the series unfolds. I liked how Elva shared her spiritual wisdom with Elizabeth: "There's no need to rush about. . . . You'll find your path and then you'll know that everything leading up to it was necessary." Just another reminder of how, even though we might not understand at the moment, we can trust that God was working for our good all along.
Rebeca is currently working on the next story, Second Glance, and I can't wait! First Blush comes to a satisfactory conclusion, but with the promise of much more to come. Highly recommended.
First Blush can be purchased online at Amazon, DeeperShopping, B&N.
An award-winning novelist and President of the first public relations firm dedicated to representing entertainment created from a Christian worldview, Rebeca has worked with various national media outlets, including The Today Show, USA Today, National Public Radio, Southern Living, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, and Good Morning America. She is recognized for her groundbreaking research into the behaviors of Christian consumers as well as development of public relations standards specific to creators of values-driven, entertainment-oriented products. She also co-chairs the non-profit SON: Spirit Of Naples, which equips and encourages Christians creating mainstream, commercially-viable media content.
Meet Rebeca online at rebecaseitz.wordpress.com, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter
Thank you to BookFun for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.