The Chesapeake Bride
(Book #11 of The Chesapeake Diaries)
By Mariah Stewart
Read by: Joy Osmanski
Published by Simon and Schuster Audio
Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a new chapter in her celebrated Chesapeake Diaries series, featuring her signature “rich characterization, charming setting, and a romance you’ll never forget” (Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author).
Architect Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers. Newly divorced, she’s focused on building ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay for her father’s construction company. Traveling to Cannonball Island—where there has been no new construction in nearly one hundred years—Cass is sensitive to the heritage of the island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy a home for herself. Even the fact that Owen Parker—a local who she dismisses as a lightweight and a player—seems to be everywhere isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.
Owen Parker is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as girls. He’s a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska, to working on a cattle ranch in Australia, a shrimp boat in Louisiana, and surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship on the Chesapeake Bay, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it was time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. And he’s totally smitten by the pretty architect on the scene, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.
This is an interesting, not too steamy, romance — I would share it with my mom. The story has some interesting plot points, although they resolve in a fairly predictable manner. But what Romance doesn’t? The HEA is, after all, a requirement and for a story to resolve with an HEA the plot points will have to go a certain way.
The first predictable elements are the characters’ attitudes toward romance an to moving on. Cassidy is “on to” the player nature of local Owen Parker. He’s a rolling stone as well. She’s adverse to both, one because she’s smart and the other because of past experience. Owen, is challenged by Cassidy’s lack of interest. She has an eye to staying put after her project is done and he isn’t, yet.
They keep getting thrown together, he can’t back away from a challenge, and, well, you know.
I liked the family and close community aspect of the story. But, the thing I enjoyed the most was the historical. The story is placed in an area of islands off the coast of Virginia, called Tangier. There’s plenty written about it:
As the waters around Tangier Island slowly swallow up the shoreline, more than the land is being threatened: a way of life, a fascinating history, and a unique local dialect are all in danger of vanishing for good.
Captain John Smith “discovered” Tangier in 1608, and the British claimed it. The first permanent settlers arrived in 1686. In 1812, the Royal Marines built Fort Albion, which is now completely underwater. They offered American slaves safe haven on the island and freed them. Many of the former slaves enlisted in the Royal Marines, and then relocated to British colonies in the Caribbean….
…“Some people call it ‘Elizabethan’ or a ‘Restoration-era English accent,’ but it’s not really that,” Kilpatrick says. A book written by a local Tangier man, David Shores, says the dialect descends from early settlers who came from the Cornwall region of southwest England. Because the island is so isolated, much of that dialect has remained intact. https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-07-20/island-chesapeake-bay-disappearing-and-so-british-dialect-and-piece-history
This is also important in an audio narraction of this book as the accent is pronounced and unless you know about it ahead of time, the reading sounds all wrong — like a Mid-Atlantic accent with a lot of Cornwall as well. It sounded a bit like Cornwall, old Boston and Philadelphia got together and brought in a little pf the Blue Mountains. I can’t say how well Osmanski does with it, since it is not an accent I was really familiar with, but I guarantee it was a challenging job. The accent first bugged me, but then added a lot of interest.
There’s not a lot of steam; while there is some sheet time, it’s pretty tame. The characters are interesting, even if they are not developed at length.
Even though this was the eleventh book in the series I thought it could stand on its own — while there was obviously some backstory, I didn’t miss it.
If you like contemporary romance with a little history try THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE.
More about the accent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIZgw09CG9E