Zoe is the friend that receives all the attention in this third installment. I didn't connect with her as a character right away and I'm not entirely sure I can put my finger on why. She was fiercely independent as a way of counterbalancing the fate that life had dealt her, and I think at times this may have been over-emphasised, which made her slightly less accessible. Her readability did improve as the book progressed, but ultimately I didn't find her as likeable as Victoria or Malie.
Similarly, Finn was a character I spent more time pitying than I feel I should have. He was obviously struggling to process a difficult history with Zoe, having more clarity of memory than she did, while trying to balance his new situation with her. It would have been great to see more of his playful side throughout the book to make him a stronger character, because it was there in some of their flirtier moments.
The author did a good job of capturing the fact that these two characters were stuck in the past and truly unable to move on with their lives, without making it completely about each other. The sense of nostalgia was just right against the modernity of their resuming relationship - the language used and the placement of the flashbacks were very effective.
Where I struggled most with this installment was the ending - it felt too sugary and over-the-top given the challenge and resistance that had been so dominant in the rest of the book. I'm a sucker for the happy endings that books like this guarantee a delivery on, but even for me this felt a bit much.
In spite of that, it was still a fairly enjoyable, light read, and I'm looking forward to Lily's installment soon.
Where there’s always a second chance at first love…
Zoe has spent her life facing battles: fighting her parents for independence, struggling with her feelings for local bad boy Finn and, after a car accident at eighteen, adjusting to the fact she would not walk again. She remained strong until the day Finn, the person she thought she could trust, broke her heart… Now a successful travel writer, Zoe is excited to review a new luxury hotel in the beautiful South Pacific – until she meets its owner…
Finn was never good enough for Zoe. He knew it. Zoe’s family knew it. The village of Hawkes Cove made sure he knew it. Proven when he let her down in the worst way possible. Now a successful businessman, he thought his past was behind him, until a journalist turns up to review his new resort…
As Finn shows Zoe the exotic wonders of the islands both face the fact their shared past might just be the beginning of a future. But only if Zoe can win the biggest battle of her life…facing up to her heart’s desire.
You can buy the book here. It's being published by Mills & Boon on 26 August 2021.