Tag Archives: Prince Edward Island

Review: On Love’s Gentle Shore, by Liz Johnson

On Love's Gentle Shore, by Liz Johnson Prince Edward Island Dreams Book 3On Love’s Gentle Shore, by Liz Johnson (Revell, 2017)

Natalie O’Ryan fled a painful childhood on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and was never going back. Until her fiancé decided it’d be the perfect place for their wedding. Right in her hometown. Surrounded by people who’d be too happy to tell him all the things she doesn’t want him to know.

Even worse than the gossips, though, is facing her childhood best friend, Justin Kane. Natalie and Justin each blame the other for ending their relationship, and now they have to work together on the wedding venue… and readers can’t help thinking these are the two who should be getting married, instead of bringing Natalie’s work-obsessed fiancé into the picture.

On Love’s Gentle Shore is book 3 in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series, and it released just after Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Readers who are new to the series can start here and not feel lost, but there is a continuity of secondary characters from the beginning, and if you’ve read the previous books you’ll recognize them and see the ongoing developments in their lives.

Reading this series is like coming home, to a place we wish home could be. Rose’s Red Door Inn, where the bridal couple stay, is warm and welcoming, and it’s staffed with the kind, caring people readers met in book 1.

There are caring people in the community, too, although Natalie has spent too long focusing on those who caused her to leave. It’s good watching her realize how many people did love her as a child, and who haven’t given up on her now.

My only issue after reading is that Natalie’s childhood was dysfunctional enough that in the real world, the people who loved her would have reported her parents. The fact that they didn’t changes how I feel about their goodness. Still, there’s much to appreciate in the novel.

As well as being a romance, it’s a story of forgiveness, and faith, and relationships worth mending. The scenery is brought to life until you can almost picture yourself there, and the descriptions of the food may add a pound or two just in the reading.

Favourite line:

That didn’t stop a bucket of dread from gnawing its way into his belly and settling in like it was paying rent. [page 32]

Liz Johnson has written over a dozen novels, both contemporary romance and romantic suspense. For more about the author and her work, visit lizjohnsonbooks.com.

[Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.]

Review: The Red Door Inn, by Liz Johnson

The Red Door Inn, by Liz JohnsonThe Red Door Inn, by Liz Johnson (Revell, 2016)

At 28, Marie Carrington can’t be called a runaway. But she’s fled her opulent home in Boston and doesn’t dare touch her bank account or her father will find her. Scared and alone, she’s out of options when she meets a kind, older man who’s out of his depth trying to open a bed and breakfast.

Jack Sloane promised his dying wife, Rose, that he’d fulfill her dream of a sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, Canada: a B&B where the heart-hurting could find refuge. Now, his project workers are his nephew Seth and the waif-like Marie, each carrying deep – and conflicting – wounds from their pasts. Jack’s hurting, too, missing Rose at every turn.

This is a heart-warming story of healing, mistrust, and romance. I enjoyed watching the inn take shape and the friendships grow. Yes, it was coincidence that Jack should meet Marie and discover she had a flair for decorating, but that was part of the chain of circumstances that helped Marie to see how the God she’d given up on was working all along to bring good things into her life.

I also appreciated the gentle humour in the novel. Perhaps my favourite example is Marie’s initial assessment of the dining room:

A dining room should be beautiful and homey. Not filled with pieces that make you want to eat faster so you can leave. [page 26]

The Red Door Inn is book 1 in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series, with book 2 releasing this fall. You can read more about the book here. Liz Johnson writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. For more about the author, check out this Q&A.

[Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.]

The Choice to be Cheerful

Have you ever read accommodation reviews and wondered if the people actually stayed at the same spot? There’ll be a stack of 4- and 5-star reviews, and then some 1-stars. Raves about how great everything is, and rants about miserable service and conditions.

My husband and I read the usual gamut when picking an overnight spot for an impulse trip to Prince Edward Island. We decided that mixed reviews are mostly about what people look for. Some folks are never satisfied.

Prince Edward Island National Park

PEI National Park

PEI is maybe a four hour drive from our home, and My husband had never been there. I hadn’t been since I was a child. It was time.

Some would say it wasn’t quite the right time.

It was the Victoria Day long weekend* and time for those with cottages to consider opening up for the summer. I think most cottagers stayed home, because Atlantic Canada was cold that weekend. There was snow. I saw bits of hail.

Our lodging was designed for summer use. It was cold, and it stayed cold, although after a while we couldn’t see our breath.

Remembering the cranky reviewers, we stayed determinedly cheerful. Even when morning came with no hot water.

But I wondered if that was the final straw that would turn me into a grump. (And I wasn’t the one who discovered the hard way just how cold the water was!)

Most of us can handle a few irritations or troubles, but after a while we get tired of being patient and we think we’ve had enough. And I’ve often thought it seems like life piles on “just one more” until we crack.

The enemy of our souls would suggest we just start spewing at the first problem. “It’s inevitable.” Except it isn’t.

As I heated water in the kettle so I could wash, I realized it’s not about my choice to be positive. It’s about my reliance on—my confidence in—God as the one in control, my Shepherd, He who will look after me in any circumstance.

That’s the peace, not whether things are good or bad. That’s the source of contentment, not my decision to be cheerful (although that’s good too).

Our overnight stay turned out to be more “roughing it” than we’d planned, but it taught me something important: Be positive, but more than that, remember and trust in God.


Woodpecker at the Anne of Green Gables heritage site

Because sometimes life stinks, and we can still have security and even joy in God. That’s what the Apostle Paul said: “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation… For I can do everything through Christ…” (Philippians 4:12-13, NLT)

And lest anyone feel sorry for us, we actually did have a delightful day once we got back on the road. We went to the beach (in jackets and hoods) to watch the waves and seabirds, saw two beautiful herons, strolled the grounds of the Anne of Green Gables heritage sites, walked quietly through a prayer garden, ate lobster burgers accompanied by some classic tunes from our younger years, indulged in some COWS ice cream… and my sweet husband bought me some birthday gifts. The day turned out to be the first of  50 good memories I’m to record in the journal he gave me the next day, on my actual birthday. Best birthday ever? I think so.

I’m so glad we didn’t let the cold ruin it. And I hope we get back to PEI when the normal tourists go, in the summer when it’s warm!


*Yes, Canada appears to be the only country where Queen Victoria’s birthday is a national holiday. No, I don’t personally care about her birthday. Yes, I would consider renaming it. But let there be no talk of us losing a statutory holiday.