|Woods has become a prolific author of late, with this being the second book in the Chesapeake Shores series and a new series being advertised on the cover. This reads like a book in the middle of the series, yet I truly enjoyed it as a stand-alone tale. There are many references to the first book and a lot of setting up for the next one, but I can recommend Flowers On Main.
The series gives us the story of the O’Brien family of Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, nestled between the large cities of Baltimore and Washington DC. Mick and Megan O’Brien are the divorced parents of five children the children are grown and on their own. There is a major secondary story about Mick and Megan trying to see if they can get back together again, including Megan’s attempts to reconnect with her children due to issues during the divorce.
But this story is about Bree, the second of three girls. Bree has always loved to write and she began writing plays in junior high. Her dream was to be famous. When in junior high school, she met Jake Collins and they became best friends and ultimately lovers when they were in high school. In fact, just as Bree was investigating an internship with a theatre company in Chicago, she found out she was pregnant. Jake was ecstatic and Bree was just scared. When she miscarried, Bree, in her highly emotional state, left to go to Chicago, leaving Jake brokenhearted. When he came to visit, he found her in a new relationship with an older playwright, who was mentoring her and ultimately would become her lover.
It is now several years later and Bree has returned to Chesapeake Shores. She had one hit play, one semi-hit, and one bomb. The last play’s criticisms took the wind out of her sails and she is back to lick her wounds. She also discovered that Martin Demming, the playwright/mentor, had been so critical of her over the years that he had destroyed her confidence. She is ready to regroup. She decides to take her trust fund and start a floral shop on downtown Main Street. Flowers are something she has always loved and she needs the change.
Things go awry when she discovers that Jake is the new owner of the local flower distributor and they will need to work together. Neither has completely recovered from their relationship and both still feel the major attraction that they have always felt. The story follows these two as they fight, spar, love and hate each other to finding a relationship that can last and is based on love and trust. There are complications galore to overcome, from Jake’s hurt that she abandoned him and seemingly didn’t care about the loss of their child to Bree’s need for quiet and space when she is feeling emotional. Both families try to help and play matchmaker; most of their attempts backfire. Jake’s friends try to offer him support, but they aren’t very effective.
Woods has written an engaging story that pulled me in from the beginning and kept me glued to my seat. Even without the background from the previous book, I was drawn into this family and cared about what happened to them. From Grandma Nell’s nervousness about what her role would be in the family if Megan came back, to Bree’s insecurity over her writing, to Mick’s determination that he can change even at this late date in his life, to Jake’s vulnerability as he tries to decide if he can take the risk to put his love for Bree out there on the line. While not just a story about Jake and Bree, they are the thread throughout the story and they clearly are the primary romance. It is a romance that is at times sad and frustrating, even as it is warm and seemingly real.
There is a lot of story in a lot of book. I feel the urge to go back and find Abby’s story and to keep an eye out for Kevin’s story. Flowers on Main is definitely worth picking up and getting to know Bree and Jake as they rediscover their love.