December 17, 2017
Love on Longboat Key (The Keys to His Heart, Book 1)
Date of Publication:
July 8, 2017
Number of Pages:
Julie Joseph is a copywriter at Pilgrim Mutual Insurance in the wintery state of Massachusetts.
Thomas Briggs IV is an actuary at Pilgrim Mutual Insurance and the reluctant heir to the company
Other Important Characters:
Amanda “Mandy” Ford, the power and money hungry boss of Julie and former fiancé of Thomas.
Longboat Key/Sarasota, FL; present day.
Julie Joseph reluctantly escapes the brutal Massachusetts winter to spend a Christmas holiday with her parents in Florida. She arrives in the sunny clime as single woman on the verge of 30 with no prospects in sight. Everything changes on a fateful visit to the local botanical garden. Has she met the man of her dreams or another complication?
Julie’s parents are in a constant state of bickering. She loves her parents but they are driving her crazy. To escape, she seeks refuge in her favorite place to visit in Sarasota—Selby Botanical Gardens. She seats herself under the Bodhi tree, lost in the view, the warmth, and the soothing coo of the passing birds.
Thomas is tall, handsome, and charming. Running an errand (read: also escaping) for his mother, he meets the shy Julie. As they exchange pleasantries, they discover they not only live in the same city, they work for the same company, and their parents both live in the Sun Towers condominiums.
On their first dinner date, Thomas learns that Julie’s supervisor is his former fiancé, Amanda Ford. “Mandy” is extremely ambitious, callous, and lied about using connections to get her supervisory position. Once she learned that Thomas did not want to step into the family legacy, she quickly broke off the engagement.
Secrets about Thomas’s father threaten to end his relationship with Julie before it has even had a chance to begin. Once the truth is revealed, Thomas realizes he can truly trust Julie. Through mutual encouragement and support, the pair end up leaving Massachusetts to permanently reside in Florida.
More of a novella, Love on Longboat Key is not my normal genre. Most romance novels are too over-the-top to be considered enjoyable. Julie and Thomas’s characters were well written and decently developed; the same goes for Julie’s parents. Everyone else in the novel could use more depth.
I really enjoyed the slow pace of the budding relationship in the beginning. Attempting to be friends before venturing into the land of sex and relationships is sensible and real. The intimate moments were tender and non-descriptive, which was appealing to someone who does not enjoy the romance genre.
Everything flowed well until chapter 16. All of the sudden, we are not too far into a future where Julie and Thomas are married, redecorating, and expecting a child. Chapter 17 brings us back to what happened after the vacation and ends with the following Christmas.
I would love to see these chapters reordered, chronologically, to avoid giving the reader a sense of “Whoa; that escalated quickly.” Then again, a romance novel wouldn’t be a romance novel without the heroine being swept off her feet and living happily ever after.