"Utterly Romantic Historical Romance set in the Outer Banks"
On the surface it is difficult to pinpoint what is so
unique about this book. It is a classic "girl falls in love
with the boy next door" tale, and yet somehow Ms. Sumner
wrapped me in her writing style on page one, and held me
rapt until the very end.
The story takes place at the end of the nineteenth century,
on Pilot Isle, North Carolina. For certain the tale evoked
memories of my own summers spent on the barrier islands,
little has changed there. But mostly it was the tremendous
emotional tension between two very sympathetic lovers. I
highly recommend this read.
All his life Noah Garrett knew he was different from his
older brothers. It was not only his looks but his
personality as well. Even so, one thing he was certain of
was that the love he felt for his brothers was returned in
full measure. His oldest brother Zach had done his best to
fill their father's shoes, for the man had left the family
when Caleb was a toddler and Noah had not yet been born.
His mother had adored him, and then there was Elle.
Elle too had adored Noah, often to the point of
embarrassment, from the day that the motherless ten-year-
old French immigrant had found herself being tormented in
the schoolyard. Something about her had brought out, a then
twelve-year old, Noah's protective instincts. He had
defended her, and taken her home and taught her to speak
and read English. She had become an honorary member of the
Elle had lost her heart to Noah that day. She'd followed
him everywhere, her devotion had even prompted Christabel
Connery to carve "Elle Loves Noah" on every tree in the
school yard. Yes, she had driven him to distraction at
times. She was very like his brother Caleb in many ways,
outgoing, impulsive, often disheveled. Noah, tidy, proper,
and intellectual was forever picking up the pieces left in
Four years later, it is Elle's devotion to the Garrett's
that finds her performing a chore that none of the boys
could bring themselves to handle. Mrs. Garrett had passed
on six month's previously. Sorting through and packing away
her things Elle happens across her diary. Having lost her
own mother, she'd taken a peak hoping to find words of
wisdom useful to a girl on the brink of womanhood. Instead
she learns a devastating family secret involving Noah.
Caleb arrives on the scene. Assuming diary to be Elle's,
he snatches it away, hoping to find something juicy with
which to tease his younger brother, prompting Noah to
her once more. What they find rocks both their worlds. The
words angers Caleb so much that he strikes out on the
one person he loves most, Noah.
Noah, isn't sure which is more devastating, the truth about
himself, or the fact that he can no longer
believe in his brother's love. In pain and horror he runs.
He is lost to everyone who had loved him for ten long years.
Ten years and many hard knocks later, Noah is a marine
biologist with the department of fisheries in Chicago. He's
been commissioned to start an new laboratory in his old
hometown, a job he accepts with reluctance and much
trepidation. Not only must he face his brothers, but there
is Elle. He prays she's married with a bunch of kids. By
the time he'd left home, he'd begun to notice her in a
different light. Subconciously he realizes the threat she
poses to his life plan, which doesn't include a woman in
Almost from the beginning, Elle shakes the very foundations
of that plan. Noah makes a valiant effort to resist, but in
spite of himself, she touches his heart with her warmth,
wit, loyalty, and intelligence. Not to mention that she is
the most beautiful, desirable woman he's ever known.
Elle, in her way, is as different from the others as Noah
is. She's fiercely independent, devoted to very progressive
beliefs, passionate about nearly everything. She yearns for
knowledge, to finish university. Being a wife is not a
priority, much to her father's chagrin. She'd turned down
several good men already. Her father had had to resort to
drastic measures, cutting off her funds. One look at Noah,
and Elle could almost give up her own plans for the future,
if only he'd say the word.
Will Noah find the words before it's too late? This book is
utterly romantic and will keep the reader on the edge of
their seat. The innocence of the characters is very
refreshing. This book is a keeper.
Copyright © 2000
For PNR Reviews as written for UReviewIt
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted March 26, 2002