Summer by the Sea [NOOK Book]

Overview

With a little determination and a lot of charm, Rosa Capoletti took a run-down pizza joint and turned it into an award-winning restaurant that has been voted "best place to propose" three years in a row. For Rosa, though, there has been no real romance since her love affair with Alexander Montgomery ended without explanation a decade ago. But guess who's just come back to town?

Reunited at the beach house where they first fell in love, Rosa and Alexander discover that the ...

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Summer by the Sea

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Overview

With a little determination and a lot of charm, Rosa Capoletti took a run-down pizza joint and turned it into an award-winning restaurant that has been voted "best place to propose" three years in a row. For Rosa, though, there has been no real romance since her love affair with Alexander Montgomery ended without explanation a decade ago. But guess who's just come back to town?

Reunited at the beach house where they first fell in love, Rosa and Alexander discover that the secrets of the past are not what they seem. Now, with all that she wants right in front of her, Rosa searches for happiness with the man who once broke her heart--and learns that in love, as in life, there are second chances.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two childhood friends negotiate the rough waters of love in Wiggs's newest contemporary romance (following The Ocean Between Us), which starts out as a typical love-between-the-classes tale, but evolves into something richer. Successful Rhode Island restaurateur Rosa Capoletti seems to have her life in order. Her restaurant, Celesta's-by-the-Sea, has been lauded by the New York Times, she's surrounded by friends, and she has finally achieved financial stability. But when her old flame Alexander Montgomery, whose family name is synonymous with wealth, walks into Celesta's, Rosa realizes that she hasn't moved forward emotionally since he abruptly ended their relationship 12 years earlier. As the two cautiously renew their love, they must come to terms with the tensions between their families and the long-held secret that led to their initial breakup. Although their romance is compelling, sweeter still are the flashbacks of their burgeoning friendship. These interludes are nicely set off by Capoletti family recipes for items like Pasta Fazool and Ricotta Cheese Sugar Cookies. Wiggs excels at portraying the delicate dynamics among lovers, friends and family members, and her keen awareness of sensory detail ensures that the scents and sounds of Rosa's kitchen are just as palpable as the heady attraction between the protagonists. Agent, Meg Ruley. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459247918
  • Publisher: MIRA
  • Publication date: 6/15/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 24,244
  • File size: 795 KB

Meet the Author

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America. Visit her website at www.SusanWiggs.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Rosa Capoletti knew that tonight was the night. Jason Aspoll was going to pop the question. The setting was perfect—a starlit summer evening, an elegant seaside restaurant, the sounds of crystal and silver gently clinking over quiet murmurs of conversation. At Jason's request, the Friday night trio was playing "Lovetown," and a few dreamy couples swayed to the nostalgic melody.

Candlelight flickered over their half-empty champagne flutes, illuminating Jason's endearingly nervous face. He was sweating a little, and his eyes darted with barely suppressed trepidation. Rosa could tell he wanted to get this right.

She knew he was wondering, Should I reach across the table? Go down on one knee, or is that too hokey?

Go for it, Jason, she wanted to urge him. Nothing's too hokey when it's true love.

She also knew the ring lay nestled in a black velvet box, concealed in the inner pocket of his dinner jacket, right next to his racing heart.

Come on, Jason, she thought. Don't be afraid.

And then, just as she was starting to worry that he'd chickened out, he did it. He went down on one knee.

A few nearby diners shifted in their chairs to look on fondly. Rosa held her breath while his hand stole inside his jacket.

The music swelled. He took the box from his pocket and she saw his mouth form the words: Will you marry me?

He held out the ring box, opening the hinged lid to reveal the precious offering. His hand shook a little. He still didn't know for sure if she would have him.

Silly man, thought Rosa. Didn't he know the answer would be—

"Table seven sent back the risotto," said Leo, the head-waiter, holding a thick china bowl in front of Rosa.

"Leo, for crying out loud," she said, craning her neck to see past him. "Can't you tell I'm busy here?" She pushed him aside in time to watch her best friend, Linda Lipschitz, stand up from the table and fling her arms around Jason.

"Yes," Linda said, although from across the dining room Rosa had to read her lips. "Yes, absolutely."

Atta girl, thought Rosa, her eyes misting.

Leo followed her gaze to the embracing couple. "Sweet," he said. "Now what about my risotto?"

"Take it back to the kitchen," Rosa said. "I knew the mango chutney was a bad idea, anyway, and you can tell Butch I said so." She let Leo deal with it as she walked across the dining room. Linda was wreathed in smiles and tears. Jason looked positively blissful and, perhaps, weak with relief.

"Rosa, you won't believe what just happened," Linda said.

Rosa dabbed at her eyes. "I think I can guess."

Linda held out her hand, showing off a glittering marquise-cut diamond in a gold cathedral setting.

"Oh, honey." Rosa hugged Linda and gave Jason a kiss on the cheek. "Congratulations, you two," she said. "I'm so happy for you."

She'd helped Jason pick out the ring, told him Linda's size, selected the music and menu, ordered Linda's favorite flowers for the table. They'd set the scene in every possible way. Rosa was good at things like this— creating events around the most special moments in people's lives.

Other people's lives.

Linda was babbling, already making plans. "We'll drive over to see Jason's folks on Sunday, and then get everyone together to set a date—"

"Slow down, my friend," Rosa said with a laugh. "How about you dance with your fiancé?"

Linda turned to Jason, her eyes shining. "My fiancé. God, I love the sound of that."

Rosa gave the couple a gentle shove toward the dance floor. As he pulled Linda into his arms, Jason looked over her shoulder and mouthed a thank-you to Rosa. She waved, dabbed at her eyes again and headed for the kitchen. Back to work.

She was smiling as she crossed the nonskid mat and entered the kitchen through the swinging doors. Quiet elegance gave way to controlled chaos. Glaring lights and flaming grills illuminated the crush of prep workers, line cooks and the sous-chef hurrying back and forth between stainless steel counters. Waiters tapped their feet, checking orders before stepping through the soundproofed doors that protected the serenity of the dining room from male shouts and clattering dishes.

The revved-up energy of the kitchen was fueled by testosterone, but Rosa knew how to hold her own here. She walked through a gauntlet of aproned men with huge knives or vats of boiling water, pivoting around each other in their nightly ballet. A stream from a hose roared against the dishwashing sink, and hot drafts from the Imperial grill licked like dragon's breath at precisely 1010°F.

"Wait," she said as a prep worker passed by with a plated steak that had been liberally sprinkled with tripep-per confetti.

"What?" The worker, a recent hire from Newport, paused at the counter.

"We don't garnish the steaks here."

"Come again?"

"This is premium meat, our signature cut. Serve it without the garnish."

"I'll remember that," he said, and set the plate on the counter for a server to pick up.

She planted herself in front of him. "Go back and replate the steak, please. No garnish."

"But—"

Rosa glared at him with fire in her eyes. Don't back down, she cautioned herself. Don't blink.

"You got it," he said, scowling as he returned to the prep area.

"Well?" asked Lorenzo "Butch" Buchello, whose fresh Italian cuisine was drawing in patrons from as far away as New York and Boston.

"Yep." Rosa grinned and selected a serrated knife from the array affixed to a steel grid on the wall. "Went down on one knee and everything."

Neither of them stopped working as they chatted. He was coordinating dessert while she arranged fluffy white peasant bread in a basket.

"Good for them," said Butch.

"They're really in love," Rosa said. "I got all choked up, watching them."

"Ever the incurable romantic," Butch said, piping chocolate ganache around the profiteroles.

"Ha, there's a cure for it," Shelly Warren cut in, whisking behind them to pick up her order.

"It's called marriage," Rosa said.

Shelly gave her a high-five. She had been married for ten years and claimed that her night job waiting tables was an escape from endless hours of watching the Golf Channel until her eyes glazed over.

"Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it, Rosa," said Butch. "In fact, what about that guy you were dating— Dean what's his name?"

"Oh, actually, he did want to get married," she explained.

Butch's eyes lit up. "Hey! Well, there you go—"

"Just not to me."

His face fell. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."

"It's all right. He joins a long and venerable line of suitors who didn't suit."

"I'm starting to see a pattern here," Butch said. He took a wire whisk to a bowl of custard and Marsala, creating an order of his famous zabaglione. "You run them off and then say they didn't suit."

She finished up with the bread baskets. "Not tonight, Butch. This is Linda's moment. Send them a tiramisu and your congratulations, okay?"

She headed back to the dining room and went over to the podium, which faced the main entrance. It was a perfect Friday night at Celesta's-by-the-Sea. All the tables in the multilevel dining room were oriented toward the view of the endless sea, and were set with fresh flowers, crisp linens, good china and flatware.

This was the sort of scene she used to dream about back when the place was a run-down pizza joint. Couples danced to the smooth beat of a soft blues number, the drummer's muted cymbals shimmering with a sensual resonance. Out on the deck, people stood listening to the waves and looking at the stars. For the past three years running, Celesta's had been voted "Best Place to Propose" by Coast magazine, and tonight was a perfect example of the reason for its charm—sea breezes, sand and surf, a natural backdrop for the award-winning dining room.

"Did you cry?" asked Vince, the host, stepping up beside her. They'd known each other since childhood— she, Vince and Linda. They'd gone through school together, inseparable. Now he was the best-looking maître d' in South County. He was tall and slender, flawlessly groomed in an Armani suit and Gucci shoes. Rimless glasses highlighted his darkly-lashed eyes.

"Of course I cried," Rosa said. "Didn't you?"

"Maybe," he admitted with a fond smile in Linda's direction. "A little. I love seeing her so happy."

"Yeah. Me, too."

"So that's two of us down, one to go," he said.

She rolled her eyes. "Not you, too."

"Butch has already been at you?"

"What do you two do, lie awake at night discussing my love life?"

"No, sweetie. Your lack of one."

"Give me a break, okay?" She spoke through a smile as a party of four left the restaurant. She and Vince had perfected the art of bickering while appearing utterly congenial.

"Please come again," Vince said, his expression so warm that the two women did a double-take. Glancing down at the computer screen discreetly set beneath the surface of the podium, he checked the status of their tab. "Three bottles of Antinori."

Rosa gave a blissful sigh. "Sometimes I love this job."

"You always love this job. Too much, if you ask me."

"You're not my analyst, Vince."

"Ringrazi il cielo," he muttered. "You couldn't pay me enough."

"Hey."

"Kidding," he assured her. "Good night, folks," he said to a departing threesome. "Thanks so much for coming."

Rosa surveyed her domain with a powerful but weary pride. Celesta's-by-the-Sea was the place people came to fall in love. It was also Rosa's own emotional landscape; it structured her days and weeks and years. She had poured all her energy into the restaurant, creating a place where people marked the most important events of their lives—engagements, graduations, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries, promotions. They came to escape the rush and rigors of everyday life, never knowing that each subtle detail of the place, from the custom alabaster lampshades to the imported chenille chair covers, had been contrived to create an air of luxury and comfort, just for them.

Rosa knew such attention to detail, along with Butch's incomparable cuisine, had elevated her restaurant to one of the best in the county, perhaps in the entire state. The focal point of the place was a hammered steel bar, its edges fluted like waves. The bar, which she'd commissioned from a local artisan, was backed by a sheet of blue glass lit from below. At its center was a nautilus seashell, the light flickering over and through the whorls and chambers. People seemed drawn to its mysterious iridescence, and often asked where it came from, and if it was real. Rosa knew the answer, but she never told.

She checked the time on the screen without being obvious. None of the servers wore watches and there was no clock in sight. People relaxing here shouldn't notice the passing of time. But the small computer screen indicated 10:00 p.m. She didn't expect too much more business, except perhaps in the bar.

She could tell, with a sweep of her gaze, that tonight's till would be sky-high. "I'm so glad summer's here," she said to Vince.

"You know, for normal people, summer means vacation time. For us, it means our lives belong to Celesta's."

"This is normal." Hard work had never bothered Rosa. Outside the restaurant there was not much to her life, and she had convinced herself that she liked it that way. She had Pop, of course, who at sixty-five was as independent as ever, accusing her of fussing over him. Her brother Robert was in the navy, currently stationed with his family overseas. Her other brother, Sal, was also in the navy, a Catholic priest serving as chaplain. Her father and brothers, nieces and nephews, were her family.

But Celesta's was her life.

She stole a glance at Jason and Linda, and fancied she could actually see stars in their eyes. Sometimes, when Rosa looked at the happy couples holding hands across the tables in her restaurant, she felt a bittersweet ache. And then she always pretended, even to herself, that it didn't matter.

"I give you two months off every year," she pointed out to Vince.

"Yeah, January and February."

"Best time of year in Miami," she reminded him. "Or are you and Butch ready to give up your condo there?"

"All right, all right. I get your point. I wouldn't have it any other—"

The sound of car doors slamming interrupted them. Rosa sent another discreet look at the slanted computer screen under the podium. Ten-fifteen.

She stepped back while Vince put on his trademark smile. "So much for making an early night of it." The comment slipped between his teeth, while his expression indicated he'd been waiting all his life for the next group of patrons.

Rosa recognized them instantly. Not by name, of course. The summer crowds at the shore were too huge for that. No, she recognized them because they were a "type." Summer people. The women exuded patrician poise and beauty. The tallest one wore her perfectly straight golden-blond hair caught, seemingly without artifice, in a thin band. Her couture clothes—a slim black skirt, silk blouse and narrow kid leather flats—had a subtle elegance. Her two friends were stylish clones of her, with uniformly sleek hair, pale makeup, sleeves artfully rolled back just so. They pulled off the look as only those to the manor born could.

Rosa and Vince had grown up sharing their summers with people like this. To the seasonal visitors, the locals existed for the sole purpose of serving those who belonged to the venerable old houses along the pristine, unspoiled shore just as their forebears had done a century before. They were the ones whose charity galas were covered by Town & Country magazine, whose weddings were announced in the New York Times. They were the ones who never thought about what life was like for the maid who changed their sheets, the fisherman who brought in the day's catch, the cleaners who ironed their Sea Isle cotton shirts.

Vince nudged her behind the podium. "Yachty. They practically scream Bailey's Beach."

Rosa had to admit, the women would not look out of place at the exclusive private beach at the end of Newport's cliff walk. "Be nice," she cautioned him.

"I was born nice."

The door opened and three men joined the women. Rosa offered the usual smile of greeting. Then her heart skipped a beat as her gaze fell upon a tall, sandy-haired man. No, it couldn't be, she told herself. She hoped— prayed—it was a trick of the light. But it wasn't, and her expression froze as recognition chilled her to the bone.

Big deal, she thought, trying not to hyperventilate. She was bound to run into him sooner or later.

"Uh-oh," Vince muttered, assuming a stance that was now more protective than welcoming. "Here come the Montagues."

Rosa struggled against panic, but she was losing the battle. You're a grown woman, she reminded herself. You're totally in control.

That was a lie. In the blink of an eye, she was eighteen again, aching and desperate over the boy who'd broken her heart.

"I'll tell them we're closed," Vince said.

"You'll do nothing of the sort," Rosa hissed at him.

"I'll beat the crap out of him."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 59 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 59 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Great read.

    Another great book by Susan Wiggs. Great story and a great ending. I felt like I knew the characters and I could picture everything Wiggs developed in plot and characters. Can't wait to read another.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Where is this town!

    Summer By The Sea was a great story. Susan Wiggs has a way of telling a story that makes you part of the story. By the end you know the characters and feel for them just as much as you would your own friends. This story has a twist with the back flashes of the past, which helps the reader have insight into how the characters got to where they are today. Those past issues help build the characters and end up sucking you into the story. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys Susan Wiggs' stories and to anyone who would just like a nice romantic tale.

    It's perfect for a day reading in the hammock, by the lake or even on a rainy day!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2012

    Good vacation Read

    I read this book while I was on vacation in Florida by the sea. It was a light, enjoyable book with interesting twists and turns in the plot.,

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Loved it!

    If you like a good love story, read this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wow!

    This was my first Susan Wiggs book. To say I was pleased is an understatement. This book was an experience, and it felt epic to me. It spans 20 years and you just get lost in the sad, bittersweet story. This is one of those books that you still feel in your heart long after you have put it down. Read it!! And I promise you won't be sorry. I cannot wait to read another Wiggs novel.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Summer By The Sea

    By far the best book I have read in a long time and the best review I have ever given a book!
    This was just incredible!
    The story is about a boy and a girl who meet and are on "different sides of the track." They become childhood friends and then fall in love as teenagers. Right before they are to leave for college something happens and Rosa stays behind leaving her dreams for college and her life with Alex and stays in her home town. Twelve years later Alex is back in town and comes to Rosa's restuarant. As much as Rosa fights it, she is still attracted to Alex. Alex's mother has passed away and the circumstances around her death draw them even nearer. The story takes twist and turns you don't expect and ends great.
    I really loved this book and am hoping to read more of her books. It was wrote tastefully and was not offensive which is nice for a change!
    WONDERFUL BOOK!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Love this book! I cried!

    Love this book! I cried!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    A time for everything

    So much time lost. Rosa and Alex needed to listen to each other, also others needed to stay out of their lives. Yet there is a time for everything, and true love is never too late.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Couldn't put this book down!

    Love, loved this book. It's a fast read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    Willowpaw

    *ate the poppy seeds and fel asleep* ((going to ny until mpn, prob wont be able to post bye))

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Goldkits Spirit

    Ummmm, wheres Sapphire?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Stardusk

    *Arched her back.* who r these.....cats? Were r our REAL med cats?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Sweetspirit

    *pads in limping* l hurt my paw while l was hunting. Can u fix it?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    icebreeze to sweet and everyone else!

    *gives Sweetspirit a poultice.* just come back once a day and get more. Keep off of it as much as possible! (Announcement in echostars den!)

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Loved it!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another winner for Susan Wiggs

    Susan Wiggs continues to write books with predictable endings, but clever plot changes to reach the endings. I have read many, many of her books and enjoy learning about her characters and their human flaws. This is a good read for a rainy day. I recommend all of her books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Great romantic story

    Great read. Gave it to my daughter who read it while we took a motorhome beach trip and she loved it as well.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2008

    Great beach read

    I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. The characters as so well developed and it is a great story!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    Highly recommend

    Ok ,this book was awesome..I went to a cabin in NH for the weekend and could not put this book down at all. I finished it in less than 2 days. The book makes you cry, laugh and it really does grab at you. I highly recommend this book to anyone. I am not even into contemporary romance but I liked the plot and wanted to try it. I would have given the book 5 stars but I will admit that the end was not enough closure for me. An epilogue would have been nice, but oh well..Susan Wiggs still rocks. :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2007

    A reviewer

    I've had this book in my 'to be read' stack for some time, and I'm glad to say it was worth waiting for. The characters are very well drawn out (anyone else notice the similarities in the surnames of the two main characters with the surnames of the characters in 'Romeo and Juliet'??) and although the plot was the old 'clash of the classes', it was handled very well. A great beach book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 59 Customer Reviews

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