Monday 11 May 2020

Romance Settings - Coastal Romance

The Beauty and Drama of the Coast

I have always loved the coast. Sandy beaches that seem to stretch on forever, the gentle ebb and flow of the tide, the rainbows and sea spray formed by breaking waves, and the sheer energy of huge swells. To me, the ocean is a place of mystery, power and romance.

Not surprisingly, many authors have chosen to set their novels by the sea. Others have chosen ocean settings to create particularly poignant scenes. Who can forget the scene by the sea in Little Women in which Beth tells Jo she is glad Jo knows she is going to die, or the powerful oceanic imagery in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca?
I’d like to share my thoughts about two special romance novels with coastal settings. I hope you enjoy reading them.

Heron’s Landing Book 1, Honeymoon Harbor by Joann Ross.

Seth Harper’s wife, Zoe, was tragically killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Torn apart by grief, he hasn’t been able to move past her death. Seth works with his father restoring Victorian buildings in the US Pacific Northwest town of Honeymoon Harbor where he grew up.

Brianna Mannion left Honeymoon Harbor many years ago. She has had a crush on Seth since the first grade, but when he became the boyfriend of her best friend, Zoe, she knew a relationship with him was not to be. Brianna has risen within the hospitality industry to become chief concierge at the Las Vegas Midas Resort Hotel. She enjoys her work, but something is missing. After she encounters one rude, self-entitled guest too many, Brianna decides to quit and return to her home town to run a B&B in an old Victorian house she has always loved.

Joann Ross masterfully uses the harbour and mountain setting of the small town she has created to accentuate the emotional journey of her two protagonists. As Seth kisses Brianna for the first time, Ross writes “He’d felt as if he were standing on the summit of ice-clad Mount Olympus. One false step and he’d fall the nearly eight thousand feet, crashing over rocks down to Honeymoon Harbor’s sea level.” This imagery perfectly captures Seth’s uncertainty as he and Brianna take the first steps towards a loving relationship.

Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry

I read several popular coastal romance novels to prepare for this blog post, however nothing surpassed my emotional reaction to Nineteen Letters.

Braxton Spencer’s wife, Jemma, was in a major car accident 19 days after they were married. Her injuries caused retrograde amnesia. Jemma now has no memory of her past life, or any of the people in it, including Braxton.

This dual viewpoint novel traces Jemma’s and Braxton’s emotional journeys as he tries to give her back something of her past life, with the hope of rekindling her love for him. Braxton writes Jemma nineteen letters telling her of their past love and times together. Jemma moved next door to Braxton when he was seven years old. They became childhood sweethearts and soulmates. Can he win her love again?

The beach setting of this novel provides a beautiful background of constancy and calm juxtaposed with the strong feelings both characters experience as they journey, once again, towards mutual love. This lovely setting symbolises the beauty of their former lives, and is the location of so many of their shared experiences. To me, the beach provides a symbol of hope that Jemma will fall in love with Braxton again. In his words, “What we had is far too beautiful to be forgotten.”

What is your favourite coastal romance novel? What makes it appeal to you so much?

I love to learn more about the world and the people in it.

I love to laugh with family and friends.

I love to love my one-year-old grandson.


  1. Hi Sharon! Jodi Perry's Nineteen Letters is one of my favourite coastal romances, too. I love the epistolary style in books. I hope you don't mind me mentioning my own book The Farmer's Perfect Match here as it's set on a pearl farm on the Kimberley coast. It's currently on special for only $1.99 as part of Amazon's Mighty May Sale.

    1. Hi Marilyn,
      I loved the Farmer's Perfect Match. The Kimberley is such a fascinating area. So remote and majestic.

  2. Hi Sharon, and I second Marilyn's suggestion of The Farmer's Perfect Match! I'd never read a book set on a pearl farm prior to that; it was fabbo. I haven't read either of your suggestions above, need to make haste to do so! If you had to pick between mountain setting or coast, coast wins every time for me. Something about that wonderful sea breeze and the beauty of the water. Michelle Douglas' newie Redemption of the Maverick Millionaire is set on the coast near Byron Bay, NSW, a beautiful part of the world (and where the Hemsworth brothers live!). A lovely read. Nora Roberts has also written a few set on the coast, like Homeport and Sanctuary. I just love them.

    1. Thanks for the reading suggestions, Miranda. Like you, I love romance novels set on the coast.

  3. Hi Sharon. I've read Nineteen Letters and loved all the emotion in it. Re settings, my favourite books are oneswones with loads of drama/danger/angst/suspense and coastal settings in winter are ones I love. Though my favourite setting of all is bush/forest, again for the drama, etc.

    1. Hi Enisa, suspense in a winter coastal setting sounds like an awesome combination. Nineteen Letters moved me as much on my second reading as it did the first time I read it.

  4. I grew up spending half my life at a coast beach and still find it the most relaxing place to be!
    I haven’t read Nineteen Letters but it’s on my pile to read - after these recommendations I think I’ll have to move it up! I adored Marilyns book The farmers Perfect Match - also highly recommend for its wonderful setting and addictive storyline. I also have Michelle Douglas’s newie on my pile to read.

  5. Hi Jayne, I'm glad you're planning to read Nineteen Letters. Please let me know what you think of it. Isn't The Farmers Perfect Match a fabulous book. I also love Michelle Douglas' writing.

  6. Hi Sharon, Great post and I'm sorry I've taken so long to leave a comment.
    I must have read loads of coastal romances over the years and have certainly enjoyed the titles that have already been mentioned here. Juliet Madison also has a coastal romance series available through Escape publishing that you might like to read.


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