Review – Debbie White’s Salty Dog
Libby is a San Francisco city girl at heart, so when Luke, her marketing executive husband suggests they just sell up and move to the coast to run a fishing boat, she is a little out of her comfort zone. But move they do, he running the boat, The Salty Dog of the title, with his best friend Sam and dog, Harley, and she running a small cafe in the harbour town of Bodega, with the help of a local couple Blake and Avery. Then the unthinkable happens and Luke is killed in an accident on the boat.
The story starts a few years on from the accident, with Libby trying to get her life back together, while still running the boat with Sam and the cafe. Love is the furthest thing from her mind when not just one, but two, men come into her life. Jackson is a wealthy winery owner with a huge estate near town who is looking to expand his business and the other is Marshall, a dreamy drifter who comes to work at the cafe but seems to have his own secrets to keep. Libby finds herself falling for them both and has to make a decision. Was she under the spell of money and power that made Jackson’s blue eyes sparkle or did she want to discover the secrets that made Marshall’s brown doe eyes so sad?
*Sigh* a proper romance. If you’re looking for a steamy bodice-ripper or a complex interwoven plot then this is not the book for you. You also have to be in the humour for it as this is proper Mills and Boon stuff. There were no graphic sex scenes, just kisses and hints at further intimacy which is a refreshing change these days. The characters, including the smaller characters of the staff in the cafe, were all well written and likeable and the storyline, although not complicated, kept up the pace very well and didn’t dwell on things unnecessarily. I also thought the descriptions of the locations involved were lovely – not overly detailed, but enough that you could paint the scenery in your head and know what the places looked like. The subjects touched upon with Marshall’s secrets were sensitively handled, to the point of being almost skimmed over, without them becoming too much of an issue but I feel that exploring them any further would have meant them getting in the way of the main story which, although it would also make a very good story, would have been a very different one to the light one that we have here. The novella stopped at just the right time too – I’m intrigued to know what happened in Libby’s new adventure. But I’m also intrigued to find out about how the other characters fared – personally I think she made the wrong choice!
This is a lovely light read and ideal for an afternoon in the sun with a glass of Californian wine. Well, it couldn’t be anything else really, could it?
**** 3 1/2 STARS