Miramar Bay by Davis Bunn is a contemporary romance novel set in the coastal town of Miramar Bay in California. Bunn introduces us to Connor Larkin, a character actor who runs away to Miramar Bay to get away from a life he no longer wants – the fast lifestyle of Hollywood and a fiancee he doesn’t wish to marry. Once he gets to Miramar Bay, Connor hides his true identity and takes a waiter’s job at a local restaurant called Castaway’s owned by Sylvia Cassick, who also came to Miramar Bay years earlier with her father and decided to stay and make a life for herself there. Miramar Bay is a place of second chances and throughout this novel, Bunn reveals a cast of characters who’ve all been given second chances there – Rick, Marcela, and Estelle, Sylvia’s long estranged mother. From their first meeting, Connor and Sylvia embark on a relationship that blossoms, wilts and blossoms anew. Sylvia learns of Connor’s deception and then is accused of funneling drugs through her restaurant. And as Sylvia’s life begins to spiral out of control, Connor’s comes into focus. Can he, Estelle and the other people in Sylvia’s life save Sylvia and redeem themselves in Sylvia’s eyes in the process?
I don’t normally read romances, but there were two things about this book that peaked my interest – one, the title, Miramar Bay. Many years ago, I read a book titled Beachcombing at Miramar by Richard Bode and I have been fascinated by this place ever since. I don’t even know if Bode’s Miramar is the same as Bunn’s Miramar, but it didn’t matter. It was the Miramar of my dreams. Second, one of the critics had likened Bunn’s work to that of Nicholas Sparks and I am a fan of his work. I figured if Bunn’s book was half as good as a Sparks’ books, then I would definitely enjoy it. I have not been disappointed at all. I don’t like overly mushy romance stories and thankfully, this one is not that kind of romance at all. It is a whispering of romance, a remembrance of how beautiful falling in love can be, a craving for another’s soul, the tragedy of broken hearts and the joy of renewed love.
Bunn’s writing is casual, sensual, and effortless as he weaves a powerful story of loss, regret, friendships and love. The characters are rich, inviting and so well-developed. You cannot help but fall in love with them. The settings are beautifully written. You can place yourself there, sitting and watching the sunrises or strolling about the lovely town of Miramar Bay and eating at Castaway’s. The plot is well thought out. From the moment you begin reading this novel, you know something spectacular will happen. Second chances, renewed interests in old dreams, and community support are all highlighted in this gorgeous story. For anyone, like me, who enjoys romantic stories without all of the mush and sex, then this novel is definitely for you.
Note: I won an Advanced Reader’s Edition of this book on Goodreads Giveaways for an honest review.
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Genre Fiction
To Purchase: Amazon (pre-order, release date March 28, 2017 – Kindle and Hardcover)