NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Mariah Stewart returns to her beloved Chesapeake Diaries with this charming novel of small-town romance—perfect for fans of Barbara Freethy, Robyn Carr, and Susan Mallery.
After taking stock of her life, Sophie Enright has decided it’s time for a break. Between a law career that’s become criminally dull and a two-timing boyfriend she’s done with once and for all, Sophie desperately needs some time to think and some space to breathe. The perfect place to do both is easygoing St. Dennis, Maryland, where Sophie can visit with her brother while she figures out her options. Once in St. Dennis, she discovers a shuttered restaurant and makes a bold move that is also a leap of faith. Sophie buys the fixer-upper in order to finally pursue her dream career.
But Sophie’s labor of love becomes a bone of contention for her new neighbor Jason Bowers. The local landscaper has big plans for growing his business—until Sophie scoops up the property he’s got his eye on. And no amount of buyout offers or badgering from him will get her to budge. It’s hardly the start of a beautiful friendship. But when they’re paired up to work on a community project, they agree to put their differences aside, and sparks begin to fly. Then Sophie’s cheating ex suddenly shows up, looking for a second chance—and threatening to make Jason a third wheel just when his hotheaded feelings about Sophie were turning decidedly warmhearted. All Sophie wants is a new life and a true love. But what are the odds of having both?
Praise for At the River’s Edge
“Everything you love about small-town romance in one book . . . At the River’s Edge is a beautiful, heartwarming story. Don’t miss this one.”—Barbara Freethy
“Another signature and heartwarming familial story . . . If a book is by Mariah Stewart, it has a subliminal message of ‘wonderful’ stamped on each page!”—Reader to Reader Reviews
About the Author
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and their dogs amid the rolling hills and Amish farms of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she gardens, reads, and enjoys country life.
Read an Excerpt
Stewart / AT THE RIVER'S EDGE
Sophie Enright stared at the two flat tires on the driver’s side of her car and wondered if she’d ever had a worse day in all her thirty-two years.
It started when both the victim and the star witnesses for the assault case she was prosecuting failed to appear in court and were nowhere to be found. The judge had given her until four o’clock to produce them, and when she couldn’t, he dismissed the case.
It was never a good day when that happened.
She opened the trunk of her car and peered inside. One spare, two flats. She slammed the lid, got into the car, called her boyfriend, Christopher, and listened while the phone rang, then went to voice mail.
“I’m on the fourth level of the parking garage with not one, but two flat tires. My case went into the tank after my victim and my witnesses failed to show and I was forced to endure a blistering tirade from Judge Palmer. I’m parked in my usual spot. Bring food.”
She disconnected the call, then dialed for roadside assistance.
“I’ll need your guy to bring a spare,” she said after being told that they had someone on the road in her area.
“Not a problem,” the dispatcher assured her. “Hang tight right there and we’ll have you fixed up in no time.”
Sophie sighed and searched her bag for the paperback novel she’d started over the weekend, grateful that she had enough gas in the tank to keep the heater running. She opened one window for a little fresh air, then settled back into her heated seat to read. After twenty minutes, she tried Christopher again. Still no answer. Thirty more minutes passed, and she called the dispatcher once more.
“He’s on his way,” she was promised. “He’ll be there any minute.”
“Any minute” turned out to be fifteen, but once help arrived, both spares—hers and the one the driver brought with him—were changed and she was free to go.
She glanced at her watch: seven twenty. Cursing softly under her breath, Sophie turned the key in the ignition and started out of the parking lot. She drove down to the second level, which was now empty except for a black BMW sedan off by itself on the far side of the garage.
A black BMW sedan that looked uncannily like Christopher’s.
She drove slowly around one concrete post, then another, and stopped in front of the car. How many black BMW sedans—complete with a UPenn sticker on the right rear bumper—could there be in the courthouse lot at this hour?
Sophie figured that Christopher—also an assistant district attorney—must be working late. She started to dial his number once again, then decided to surprise him in the office. She parked next to him and got out, slammed her car door, and had taken three steps in the direction of the stairwell when she heard voices coming from the BMW. Without thinking, she walked around the car and looked into the backseat.
“Oh, crap.” Christopher’s voice.
“What?” a woman asked. “What is it? Chris, where are you going?”
The back passenger-side door opened and Christopher—her Christopher—emerged, his shirt un- buttoned, one hand zipping his pants and the other slamming the door to keep whoever was inside, inside.
“Sophie, I . . . I can explain . . . ,” he stammered.
“No, actually, you can’t.” Sophie’s stomach knotted and her mind went blank. She took several steps back, then got into her car and poked the key into the ignition with shaking hands.
“Sophie, wait . . . wait . . .” Christopher’s voice trailed behind her as she pulled away.
“You asshole!” Tears rolling down her face, she yelled as loudly as she could, even though he couldn’t have heard. “You are a total and complete asshole.”
She slammed a hand on her steering wheel for emphasis. Her phone began to ring and she knew who it was without looking at the caller ID.
“I’m only answering because I want you to know what a dickweed I think you are.”
He sighed heavily as if exasperated. “Dickwad.”
“I think the word you want is dickwad.”
Funny, but that professorial tone that she used to think made him sound intellectual suddenly seemed obnoxious.
“Whatever,” she snapped.
“Can it. We are so done.”
She hung up.
She blew the red light at the corner and felt a momentary touch of relief when she realized there were no cars coming from the opposite direction and no police officers to flag her down. Since starting at the DA’s office seven years ago, she’d been careful not to do anything that might cause her embarrassment when she had to face the cops in court. Getting stopped for running a red light would be one of those things . . . especially at that moment when she knew her mascara was running and her face was a blotchy mess from crying. Hardly the professional image she’d worked so hard to create.
The street in front of her condo was slick with the cold rain that had been falling since early afternoon, and she was lucky to find a parking spot close to her door. She hopped out and dodged puddles. Water splashed up on her legs and her skirt anyway, but she barely noticed.
The red message light was flashing on her phone, but she ignored it. She dropped her briefcase near the door and kicked her shoes halfway across the room. Then she went straight into the bathroom, turned on the shower, peeled off her clothes, and tossed them back into her bedroom, where they landed on the floor.
“Bastard!” She stepped into the steam and cursed softly under her breath as the hot water stung her back, stood under the steady stream until her skin began to pucker.
Reluctantly, she got out, dried off, and pulled on her oldest sweats—gray fleece washed so thin the fabric was almost see-through in places—and an oversized navy tee. She went into the spare bedroom, where she stored things she either had no immediate use for or didn’t have time to deal with, and found a large box that had delivered a down comforter back in November. She’d been filling the box with clothes she planned on taking to a thrift shop, clothes which she now dumped unceremoniously onto the floor.
She dragged the box into her bedroom and tossed in all of Christopher’s belongings that he’d left at her place. She opened her closet and tossed in his robe along with a few extra shirts, then added clothes from the dresser drawer she’d been happy to empty to make room for his jeans, underwear, and a few sweaters. She spied a book that rested on the table next to his side of the bed—a political thriller—and tossed it in. It landed spine out, the pages splayed atop his jeans. She hesitated, fighting the urge to smooth the creases and close the book, but she resisted after reminding herself that she’d been the one to recommend it to him.
She was tempted to remove a few key pages so he’d never know who the bad guy was and how he’d set up the hero, but even her wrath wouldn’t permit her to deface a book.
“You’re lucky I have a conscience,” she muttered.
She tossed in a pair of sneakers she found under the bed, then returned to the bathroom for his toothbrush, shaving stuff, and the body wash he preferred over hers. Her apartment stripped of everything that was his, she pushed the box into the back hall, then dragged it down one flight of steps. She opened the back door and shoved the box out, positioning it so that it sat directly in front of the trash cans.
Sophie trotted back up the steps, phone in hand, texting as she climbed:
Your stuff is in a box behind my building. The trash men come at nine.
She hit send just as she arrived at her door.
She’d hoped that the purging of her apartment would make her feel a little better, but she still had that huge lump in her throat and that gnawing pain in the pit of her stomach. She considered calling a friend, thinking that maybe some sympathy would make her feel better, but she stopped midway through dialing the number. She couldn’t face the actual telling of what happened, couldn’t bring herself to speak the words. It hurt too damned bad.
I caught Chris with someone . . .
She frowned. She’d been so focused on him that she’d ignored his partner. Now she found herself wondering who that someone might have been. Was it someone she knew?
She tried to recall the voice she’d heard coming from the backseat—had it been familiar?—but in her shock, she hadn’t paid close enough attention. Though she gave it her best effort, she couldn’t make the voice play back in her head.
The phone rang again, and Christopher’s voice filled the apartment for the fourth time. This time she sat and listened. This was the man who only two nights ago had declared his undying love for her. The man she thought she was in love with. The man she might even have built a life with.
She listened to his words of apology—at one point she even thought he might be shedding a few tears—and his sworn oath that “she” meant nothing to him. That it hadn’t been planned, that it had just happened.
“The way your car ‘just happened’ to be parked in the darkest, most remote part of the garage?”
She rolled her eyes in disgust and left the room before he finished his message. She had reports to write explaining that day’s debacle in the courtroom. Her heart might be burning and her insides in an uproar, but there was still work to be done.
It had been a long, rough night, and the morning found Sophie feeling almost as angry and hurt as she had the night before. She awoke with a massive headache, killer circles under her eyes, and a grumbling stomach. She scrambled an egg and forced herself to eat it, then popped a few Advils.
“This is no day to spare the concealer,” she murmured as she applied her makeup in front of the bathroom mirror.
She put on a red cashmere sweater under her gray suit, and while ordinarily red heels would have been frowned upon in her ultraconservative office, today she felt they were a necessity. She brushed her black hair from her forehead and popped gold discs into her ears. She might feel like crap, but she was determined to look like a million dollars.
There was something about looking good that always made her feel better. And she did. Right up until the minute that she walked into the conference room for an early morning meeting and saw the smirk on the face of one of her co-workers.
The smirk was like a shot to Sophie’s gut.
Anita Hayes. I should have known.
Sophie glanced away as if she hadn’t noticed, and she kept her gaze on the memo she’d been handed even when Christopher entered the room and Anita moved over to give him a place to stand next to her. Sophie continued to act the professional, listening attentively though an ocean’s roar of pain filled her head and she could feel Chris’s eyes on her the entire time. Finally—mercifully—the meeting ended, and though she wanted nothing more than to bolt from the room, she walked leisurely to her office and closed the door, pretending not to notice the looks of sympathy from several others as she passed. But once the door was closed behind her, Sophie leaned back against it, squeezed her eyes tightly shut, and wished that the roof would fall on her head.
It took less than two minutes for her desk phone to buzz. She debated the possibility of ignoring it, but it could have been someone important. Like her boss.
“Soph, it’s Gwen.” Sophie’s best friend in the office apparently hadn’t been blind to what was going on. “What the hell?”
“I’ll tell you at lunch.”
“It’s my day in district court,” Gwen reminded her. “I won’t be here. Tell me now.”
“Christopher and Anita were . . .” Sophie sighed. “I caught them together in the backseat of his car. In the parking garage.”
“In the parking garage? Chris and Anita Hayes?” Gwen all but gasped. “Is he nuts? She’s the office skank.”
“Apparently he didn’t get that memo.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to pretend I don’t know either one of them. What else can I do?”
“You’ve got more balls than I do. If George did that to me, I’d be off and running for some nice quiet corner where I could nurse my broken heart and suck my thumb in peace. Right after I sent him screaming into the night with a fork in his eye.”
“Running away doesn’t solve anything, and while I do love the image of Chris with something sharp painfully protruding from his face, I’ve prosecuted enough domestic violence cases to know I don’t want to go where they send you.”
“There is that,” Gwen agreed. “But either way—running or incarcerated—at least you wouldn’t have to look at him or her every day.”
Gwen had a point, Sophie considered, one that was driven home when she left the confines of her office around eleven and saw Christopher go into the library, followed within seconds by Anita, who closed the door behind her.
Yeah, Gwen definitely had a point.
“Of course you can come for a visit. Stay as long as you want.” Sophie’s brother, Jesse, had sounded pleased when she called to ask if the following week would be convenient for her to visit. “We never get to spend time together since I moved.” Jesse paused. “But is everything all right?”
“Everything’s fine.” Sophie swallowed hard. “Well, except that Christopher and I did break up.”
“I thought the two of you were getting serious.”
“Apparently that was only one of us.”
“What happened?” Jesse asked.
“I don’t feel like going into it right now, if that’s okay.”
“Sure, but if you ever feel like talking . . .”
“I know. Thanks, Jess. I’ll see you on Saturday.”
“Can’t wait, kiddo.”
Jesse was three years older than Sophie, and he was now making his home in St. Dennis, Maryland, a small town on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. He’d gone there to join their grandfather’s law firm and had found the love of his life. Jesse and his Brooke would be married in a few months, and Sophie thought their love story had “happily ever after” written all over it. She couldn’t be more pleased for her brother—he’d always been a good guy and if anyone deserved to be happy, it was Jesse. She smiled, recalling how he’d always taken his role as big brother very seriously. On the phone, she downplayed the situation with Chris because she could imagine Jesse’s reaction and she didn’t want to deal with any more drama this week. She just wanted to put Christopher out of sight. With any luck, out of mind would eventually follow.
When Sophie asked Joe, the district attorney, for the week’s vacation she’d been floating, he’d readily agreed. That she had no trials on the docket for the next several weeks made it easy for him to say yes. Somehow she made it to the end of the week without breaking down in the office or losing it in court. If anyone in the office—including Chris and Anita—thought she was running away, well, let them. It might very well have been the truth.
On the other hand, Sophie decided she’d rather think of this trip as running to than running from. After all, who wouldn’t love a week away in an idyllic little Bay town with nothing to do but relax, visit with a favorite relative, and eat glorious food? If at the same time a broken heart began to mend, so much the better.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Delightful Romantic Read! At The River’s Edge is the first book I have read by this author. I found it to be a fun read with delightful and not so delightful characters. I thought it had a good story line. Have you ever had circumstances in your life that blind sighted you and knocked you for a loop? This story has some of those life circumstances that I am sure most readers can relate to. Sophie Enright is a strong character and I loved that about her. She is a real go-getter and when she wants something she makes it happen. She decides to start over in St. Dennis, Maryland after she catches her boyfriend cheating on her. Jason Bowers too is a strong character in this book. He ends up in St. Dennis after the death of his brother. He didn’t plan to stay in St. Dennis but as we know life has a way of changing our plans. Sophie plans to build her dream business. Jason plans to expand his growing business. Will their dreams clash with each other? I really wanted to move to St. Dennis by the time I finished this book. The description of the town and the people were very well done by this author. If you are a fan of Mariah Stewart, I urge you to pick up a copy of “At The River’s Edge” today. I highly recommend it. I won this book on LibraryThing. I wish to thank Ballantine Books for sending me a copy to read and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.
wow what a great book Sophie Enright just need something to open up her eyes to see how her life was she thought she had to go into law because her whole family is into law until she finds he boyfriend doing the nasty with someone else her eyes are open now. She starts to think what to do with her life and when she goes to visit her brother she figures out what she wants to do with it plus she meets the sweet great guy to Jason Bowers I was hoping they would have gotten married before the book ended but maybe the next book will have there wedding in it can't wait to read the next book in this series.
Wonderful, and, all about new beginnings. A heartwarming addition to the series.
Tornadokit ran in, chasing after Arctic. He saw North and ran to him
He landed softly in a small clearing, his whiskers twitching. He tasted the air for any scent of prey. . . Or anything else.
Reviewed by Jen Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Book provided by the publisher for review There is just something about these small town romance series that just draw me in. I think a lot of it is the interconnecting stories; characters featured in past books reappearing in later books and characters introduced in a book and then get their own story a couple books down the road. And of course, there are some themes that weave in and out of the stories. At the River’s Edge is book seven in the series, and it does stand alone. But, with most series, it’s going to be much more satisfying if you’d read previous books. I want to start by saying that I found the blurb for this book to be a little misleading. Yes, all that is stated in the blurb happens, but it happens in about a quarter of the book. In fact, as I was reading, I kept waiting for it to happen. Now, this isn’t to say I didn’t like the book. I did. I just felt the blurb wasn’t a true representation of the book. That said, I enjoyed Sophie and Jason and their romance. Sophie is a lawyer with ties to St. Dennis through her grandfather and brother. When a romance fails, she decides to move to St. Dennis to start over. Jason came to St. Dennis during the prior book in the series to be closer to his sister-in-law and nephew after his brother passed away. He decides to stay since his nephew is his only remaining relative and figures this is as good a place to settle as any. Sophie and Jason meet because her brother and his sister-in-law are getting married, but they’re also attracted to each other. Sophie is a strong woman starting over. She’s gone into law since it was expected of her. But now she’s rethinking the law thing and wants to open her own cafe. Her family doesn’t really support the idea, but it’s her dream and she’s determined to make it a reality. Jason on the other hand, doesn’t have much other than his nephew and a small start up landscaping business. But when he keeps running into Sophie and the sparks start flying, he find himself ready to start thinking of settling down. There are obvious bumps in the road to their happiness, what kind of romance would it be otherwise. In the end, this is a satisfying addition to the Chesapeake Diaries series. And I’m anxiously awaiting the next book.
Enjoyed the book very much. Sophis Enright has come back to St. Dennis, Maryland to decide what she wants to do about her law career and a two-timing boyfriend. She had always wanted to open a restaurant. She finds a shuttered restaurant and makes a bold move. She meets Jason Bowers again, He is the local landscaper and he wanted the building to. At The River's Edge by Mariah Stewart. She has out did herself again. Can not want for the next book to come out.
Enjoyed reading the continued saga about the characters at Chesapeake Bay and look forward to the next one.
He dodged everystry and slahed open her neck while she wasnt aware and leaves her to blee to death "ugh." H disappered.
Hisses at Lillypaw. Runs out.
☻ L out
(You can force mate Lillypaw if she dosent die. Deal?) Fine you can forcemate me.
I didn't want this book to end and can't wait to read Sunset Beach. I love the way she pulls all the characters together.
A delightful return to St. Dennis and the Chesapeake Diaries series. I enjoyed this latest installment. It was like catching up with old friends.
Mariah Stewart has once again proven why is is on my auto buy list and why she is one of my favorite authors. I couldn't get enough of this book and read it in a few hours. This book is like coming home for me. Yes, I know the people and the city are not real but that doesn't stop me from wishing it was. You get to see characters that you have known from the first book in the series. Even though this book is not out yet, I can't wait for the next book in the Chesapeake Diaries. When Sophie Enright has a REALLY bad day, she takes some time off and goes to see her brother and Grandfather in St Dennis, Maryland. There she see's how over worked her brother is in the family's law firm. She decides to move and help him out. The problem is that she doesn't want to be a lawyer anymore. She wants to follow her dream and become a Chef. Sophie runs into Jason Bower and feels the attraction to him, even after she caught her boy friend cheating on her. Sparks fly when Jason tries to buy a piece a property next to his land only to find that Sophie has bought it from under his nose. Will Sophie and Jason get their happily ever after? You must read this wonderful book to find out.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Mariah Stewart launches her latest novel in the Chesapeake Diaries series, At River's Edge! If you love romance stories set in a small seaside village, much like Debbie Macomber's Cedar Creek series, you will definitely want to grab these. This is her seventh novel in the series and like most readers who become addicted to their favorite author's series, I am thrilled that Mariah didn't stop at the standard three novels in a series. And before you ask, yes there is going to be an eighth novel which you get a sneak peek at when you get to the end of this one. You can read these as stand alones, but in order to understand who all the characters are that are referenced in these novels, you will want to start at the beginning. I have listed them in order at the conclusion of this review for your reference and buying list. In At River's Edge, we are introduced to Sophie Enright who is a hard working and successful prosecutor for the DA's office who literally had the world at her fingertips. Great job, Chris, a man who she had fallen in love with, and was in the beginning stages of taking that next step when she found him with someone else in the backseat of his car in the parking ground of the law firm they both work at. Now thrown for a tailspin and having to face him and her every day at the office, she is looking for a change of pace. Perhaps even a change in career and place to live, so she takes some time off of work and heads to visit her brother, Jessie who lives in St. Dennis to spend some time getting a different perspective on what to do next and to spend time with him before his wedding to Brooke. Jesse tries to convince Sophie to join the family law firm Enright and Enright who have been practicing law in St. Dennis as far back as any of them can remember. With her uncle and grandfather having retired, Jesse has more than enough cases for her to join the firm.Only she's not sure if she wants to continue in law or try something else, like running a diner, if she can find a building she can rent that is affordable, something she has always LOVED doing since she spent her summers working as a short order cook, but Jesse thinks she's crazy to try anything like that. However when an abandoned piece of property that used to be a former restaurant comes on the market, perhaps Sophie's dreams are just beginning to fall in place after all. I received At River's Edge by Mariah Stewart compliments of TLC Book Tours and Ballantine Books for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. It's hard not to rush through this book because you just want redemption of some sort for Sophie after everything she has gone through with Chris, that you are turning pages as fast as you can. Yet at the same time, the story is so good you don't want it to end. Ah power struggle until the next book comes out in the Spring of 2014. There are such a host of secondary characters like the mysterious ghost of Rose, Sophie's grandmother that died twenty years ago that still frequents the house her grandfather lives in alone. Her fragrance of gardenia's is always present when she is near even though no gardenias are present in the house or in the garden, and it provides a sense of lasting romance that carries over from Sophie's grandparents and hoping that she, too can find love that transcends the passage of time like they have. A poignant love story of what all romance is about and just in time for Valentine's Day. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait for On Sunset Beach in the Spring! A must read for romantics at heart.
Once again, a fantastic read. I love this series, along with the others I have read. Can not wait for the next one!
Having read all the Chesapeake Diaries’ series books, there are many so characters, and would encourage readers to start at the beginning in order to keep up the names of the players, and how they are connected. At the River's Edge could be a standalone; however, would get confusing with the array of back characters. In this book, the older lady Grace of course writes a recap at the end of the book updating everyone, as she owns the newspaper and a bit of a gossip and busy body. As like small towns, everyone knows everyone’s business and always match making going on. There tends to be a lot of very independent and talented women who get dumped and move to St Dennis to meet their prince charming (pretty much the basis for each story). Sophie, an attorney catches her guy cheating with a girl in the office, and escapes to St Dennis, MD to visit her brother, Jessie who will be soon married to Brook. He has taken over their grandfather’s law practice as he and his uncle are retired. (All of these girls now own some sort of business in town). As she gets to know everyone in the town, she falls in love with the charming town and sets out to buy and run a quaint restaurant. In the meantime her grandfather would love for her to join the law firm with her brother. In addition, Jason (from another book), has moved to St Dennis to be closer to his nephew after the death of his brother (landscaping business). Sophie and Jason begin to have an attraction for one another and they both have their eye on the same piece of property for their new ventures. I listened to the audio version and the narrator can be a little annoying at times. Pretty predictable story; however, since I have read all the series, always nice to catch up with characters.
Review: Five stars plus for Mariah Stewart's At the River's Edge where true love is found through faith, compassion, and forgiveness I am counting my blessings today. One blessing is what I term my reader OCD, an insatiable need to read series in order. When I received At the River's Edge by Mariah Stewart, book seven in her The Chesapeake Diaries series, I knew that I should read books one to six. What I hadn’t counted on was that there were more books from Stewart’s backlist that would elucidate the stories of The Chesapeake Diaries, specifically book two in her Last series, Last Words, which introduces readers to the town of St. Dennis and the characters of Police Chief Gabriel Beck and FBI agent Mia Shields. Why am I so happy and feeling blessed that I “had” to read additional books? Because they are just so wonderful! I have been having a Mariah Stewart moment here the past two days, and read not just book two in her Last series, but books one and three as well. I “needed” to know more about the Shields family. Really, I did. Now, I’m not going to say that you have to read any other books to enjoy At the River's Edge, book seven in Stewart’s The Chesapeake Diaries series. You really don’t have to as this is a self-contained novel. But may I strongly encourage you to do so? This is an author and series that you will want keep on your permanent book shelf for years to come. She’s created a true family, characters, and community that you’ll fall in love with too and I know you’ll want to follow their stories as I do. In fact, I’ll be searching out both her Enright Family series and other books that relate to the characters of St. Dennis. At the River's Edge is the story of Sophie Enright. sister of lawyer Jesse, and Jason Bower, brother-in-law of Brooke. (Brooke and Jason’s story isis told in book four, Hometown Girl.) Sophie, who is a prosecuting attorney in the Ohio town where she and Jesse grew up, discovers that her long-time boyfriend is cheating on her. Not only is he cheating on her, but he’s one of her colleagues at work and is doing the deed with the “office skank.” To clear her head, she makes the decision to visit Jesse and her grandfather Enright in St. Dennis and takes a week vacation from her job. While there, she discovers a special location that might be the outlet for a longterm dream of hers - a restaurant. Jason, who moved to St. Dennis after dissolving the Florida landscaping business he and his deceased brother founded, has just purchased part of his dream location, permanently locating his new landscaping business in St. Dennis. But he has his eye on a neglected property next door and is doing everything he can to purchase it to make his dream of a nursery garden retail location a reality. When Sophie and Jason encounter one another during this week-long visit, sparks begin to fly, but they’re a bit muted as neither one is serious about starting anything from a distance. What happens next? Will either of their dreams come true? Will those sparks be turned into flames and something lasting? Oh, you’ll just have to read At the River's Edge to find out! I love the way Stewart intertwines all the characters from the previous three books - as well as bringing in other characters like the Enrights (Jesse and Sophie’s half sisters and brothers) whose stories are contained in Stewart’s The Enright Family Collection: Devlin's Light, Moon Dance, and Wonderful You. In addition, there's a special treat as at the end of the book, Stewart shares some of the heirloom St. Dennis recipes she described with such mouth-watering success in At the River's Edge. For me it’s a bit like Christmas to find an author who can convey the sense of “knowing” that Stewart does in her stories. With each book I read, I felt more and more as though I could plug coordinates into my GPS and set my car south towards the Eastern Shore of Maryland to arrive at St. Dennis. Yes, I’m ready to “Discover St. Dennis,” grab a coffee at Cuppachino's, a dress or bag at Bling, stroll with a cone from Scoops, grab my favorite other sweet treat at Cupcake, and have breakfast or lunch at Blossoms, while spending my night at The Inn. Stewart has made me, as a reader, feel invested in her stories and her characters in a way that can only be said to be remarkable. So, I highly recommend that you add her books, if they are not already there, to your must-read list. They are just fabulous stories that are filled with true romance, humor, compassion, and life - real honest to goodness daily life. I’m awarding five stars to Mariah Stewart’s moving, beautiful romance At the River's Edge, that is a lesson in love, trust, true compassion, and faith. In addition, five stars are awarded to the entire Chesapeake Diaries series that should be added to your permanent must-read list. Each book in this series is a gem! Make sure to mark your calendars (I’ve marked mine) for 1 July 2014, when book eight On Sunset Beach will be released. I’ve been waiting for Grace’s son Ford’s story for a while and am happy to know that art dealer Carly will be returning to St. Dennis too. (Now, to know more about them, please read the series!) I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley for use in this review.
My rating: 3 of 5 ¿¿ Needing a break from her demanding job and to get away from her cheating ex who also works in the Assistant District Attorney's office, Sophie Enright grabs a week's vacation long overdue, and heads out to St. Dennis, Maryland. That's where her -soon to be married- brother Jesse lives and runs the family law firm by himself now, since their grandfather and uncle both retired. Sophie wants a chance to visit with him and her grandfather as well as figure out what direction her life should be going. One thing she knows for sure, the ADA's office is no longer making her happy. Once there, the small town charm draws Sophie in, as does the closed down building that once housed a restaurant at the edge of town. A long suppressed dream of hers to run a simple restaurant of her own comes back to life, when she looks at the possibilities the property offers, but not everyone is excited when she voices her ideas. So Sophie bides her time and does some research on her own. In the meantime, she is able to hand in her resignation, pack up her belongings and sell her condo. She is moving to St. Dennis and helping her brother stay on top of things at Enright & Enright. Having moved to St. Dennis to be closer to his nephew, the only living family member he has left after the death of his brother, Jason Bowers was glad he finally owned land to expand his landscaping business on. Now if he only could get his hands on the empty brick building adjacent to his land, his dream would be complete. He had some great plans for that building. But with the owner hanging on to it for now, he would just have to be patient. With his friend Jesse's sister Sophie new in town, he had no trouble thinking of a thing or two to keep him occupied! Before the sparks that are flying between Jason and Sophie can settle into a roaring fire, word gets out that without knowing of each other's interest in the property, Sophie had managed to buy the brick building for her restaurant. Realizing they are neighbours and the objects of each other's irritation, the heat they now ignite is of a different nature entirely. It will take some community involvement and a revisiting of past mistakes to find the path to some much needed compromise..... ***** I have to admit, this is the first book in the series that I've read, and so I was a bit overwhelmed with the involvement of all the characters, but given that it is a 'typical' small-town series, I can see where you would be attracted to the group of them. Sophie is a child from a rather fragmented upbringing, having one brother and other than that step siblings coming out of the woodwork. Only recently having reconnected with her grandfather, she seems to have a loving relationship with her Pops. The whole Enright clan is a lawyer, so Sophie went in that direction as well and she enjoys it, but never quite LOVED it. She is at a point where she wants to make a choice based on what SHE wants to do and not what she thinks is expected of her. I completely appreciate that in a character and a person. She has to disappoint some people in order to take those steps, but the message here is that you have to be true to yourself before you can be true to anyone else. Jason is a different story altogether, a very tragic one at that. Other than his nephew, he has lost his entire family and will do whatever it takes to keep the connection with his only living relative. Even if it means selling a thriving business in Florida and moving to Maryland. He has been clear on what his dream was for years and can finally taste it, when he sees it slip through his fingers. A tough hit to take, but the possibility of losing the friendship, new family and perhaps love he realizes he has found would be much harder to lose. St. Dennis has already given him more than he had dared dream for. The characters are wonderful, their time together rather limited, surprisingly, so I didn't get a real sense of connection. I did enjoy their individual personalities in relationship to others. But most of the story, I found, was spent creating context and relatively little on the romantic development, which left me in a 'waiting' mode for a lot of the story, and a little bit let down. That doesn't take away from the quality of the writing, which is always good in Mariah Stewart's case. The flow and the connection weren't really there for me this time. But despite all that, I cannot give this book any less than 3 stars, since it is mostly my own interpretations and expectations that were somewhat disappointed. This is also why I am still offering it as a recommendation on my blog, because I know, armed with this review and perhaps a better idea than I had as to what to expect, you will truly get the best out of this book!! ¿A gentle, small-town, feel-good story with a wink at the paranormal.¿ **ARC provided by NetGalley and Ballantine Books in return for an honest review.**
I have read all seven books in the series and loved all of them! Mariah Stewart consistently writes great story lines re separation, loss of a loved one, single parenthood, changing jobs. I am biting my nails or staying up late at night to see how the story is going to turn out! I already checked to see when book #8 is coming out! Not too long await, this Spring! Yeah!