I was just going through my iBooks for books I’ve already read but not yet reviewed and I stumbled upon Her Sure Thing by Helen Brenna. I read it a while ago, so I thumbed through it again to remember all it was about, and I was tempted to read entire chapters again. This is the first and (so far) only book I’ve read by Helen Brenna, so I also haven’t read any others in the An Island To Remember series. Though, if I’m guessing correctly, the other books might be about the group of friends that we meet in this book, and I think that might be worth it! There are a few hints of rocky pasts and difficult starts to relationships mentioned here for those other couples.
As you might know if you’ve read some of my other reviews, I do judge books by their cover. In this case, I read the Dutch book, and I’m glad I did. Because you have to admit that the Dutch cover looks so much more fun than the English one, right? The English cover just looks like this would be such a cliche romance story. Also, it looks a little outdated – which I guess is not so surprising since the first print was issued in 2011. It just looks so stockphoto-y and cringy! Whereas the Dutch version hints at so much more!
According to my Dutch version, Helen Brenna didn’t start writing until after she has become a mother and quit her job as an accountant. It still took many years and many rewrites before she published her firs book. At least, that is what the blurb says. But is that not normal? If it takes you a while to discover you really like writing and are also quite good at it, that it would also take you a while to finish your first story? Especially when you’re a new mother? But anyway, all that hard work paid off as her first book already won her an award in America. To be clear, this book is not her first book. I think the author info hasn’t changed much over the years.
Here’s the blurb to wet your whistle:
Nobody’s perfect but she’s close.
As Mirabelle Island’s only doctor, Sean Griffin is in demand for his medical expertise. As a single guy well, in a community this small, his social calendar isn’t exactly full. Doesn’t seem to matter how eligible this bachelor may be when there aren’t single women around. Then Grace Kahill moves back and things are looking up. A former cover model, she definitely catches his eye!
The passion ignites between them, but Sean suspects Grace is holding back. Is this about her appearance? Surely she knows he wants her for more than her looks. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince Grace of that. Because he knows he’s found the perfect woman to share his life.
And if that doesn’t convince you? How about this first part of the second chapter, where gruff Sean and stuck-up Grace meet for the first time:
“Excuse me?” The woman glared at Sean as if he was horse dung stuck to the soles of her obviously expensive gold sandals.
Sean did his best to dismiss her superior attitude, but since she didn’t seem to be anything but attitude, it was difficult. “Is the horse yours?”
“Yes,” she said, stroking the animal’s neck.
“We’re the only stable here on Mirabelle.” It was a damned small island with limited pastureland and even more limited paddock and barn space. Anyone with a lick of sense would know you didn’t take a horse anywhere without first arranging his keep. “So what’s he doing here on the island?”
“I’m boarding him here for the summer.”
Oh, no, she wasn’t. Not without asking him first.
She straightened her shoulders, clearly preparing for a fight. “Who are you?”
“Sean Griffin. And you?”
“Grace. Just Grace.”
So this was Grace Andersen Kahill? The face that had launched the covers of hundreds of fashion magazines? The body credited – or accused, depending in which camp you fell – for having first made lingerie catalogs and swimsuit editions of popular sports editions look like soft porn? That explained a lot.
Sean had heard she was coming back to Mirabelle and renting the Schumacher’s old place, but he wasn’t surprised he hadn’t recognized her. He’d seen Grace and her husband at Jean Andersen’s funeral, but that had been several months ago and he’d never met, let alone spoken, to either one of them. Afterward, talk about her breezing in one day for her mother’s wake and out the day immediately following the funeral had fueled the gossip channels for weeks.
Strange, but for a woman known for baring more skin than any other American model, she looked pretty covered up if you asked him. Dressed in a hip-length jean jacket, a couple of crewneck T-shirts and some beady-type necklace, she looked as if she were heading off to some trendy Hollywood hotspot for a two-appletini lunch with friends. Sean had lived in L.A. long enough to know. Too long, in fact.
“Well, Just Grace,” he said. “We’ve got a problem.”
“The only problem I’m aware of is that the boarding rate hasn’t been settled. That really doesn’t make a difference because I’ll pay whatever it takes. Problem solved.”
As if money solved everything. Typical. “Boy, you really are something, aren’t you?” He chuckled. “But I don’t board horses.”
“That’s right. I don’t. It has nothing to do with money. This is a stable and livery operation.” Boss, his horse, pulled on his reins and struck his nose toward her Friesian. “We have over sixty horses here and limited acreage. All the horses here work for their keep. I can’t spare a stall, let alone a paddock or pastureland for someone’s… pet.”
Of course, they learn to appreciate over time and let their relationship develop, as is to be expected from a romance novel. I’m not going to tell you anything else about the story, you’ll have to read for yourself!
I will tell you I liked the story. There are a lot of things going on underneath the surface, for the both of them and they struggle not only to come to terms with themselves, but also with the other person. This is definitely not a casual, superficial love story where boy meets girl and happy ever after. Both of the characters are experiencing their own difficulties and they show a lot of growth throughout. Both personally and together. I really liked that! It made the relationship much more believable as it slowly progressed. There’s a lot going on and it’s a longer novel, so take your time reading it – but I promise it will be worth it!