Reviewed by Emma Crowley
For two years Freya Greene has hidden the fact that she’s totally and utterly in love with her best friend Rome Lancaster. It’s not been easy – they work together in his glasswork business, she lives above his workshop and, he’s completely gorgeous. But Rome has never shown any sign of returning those feelings. Until now…g
Lately they’ve shared affectionate touches and words heavy with meaning. Yet Freya knows Rome has a damaged heart. After losing his fiancé in a tragic accident, he’s not allowed himself to fall in love.
Freya has already had her heart broken by a man who couldn’t let go of a past love. Can she risk it happening again? Rome and Freya have a friendship that could blossom into something more. Are they both brave enough to take that chance?
Summer at Buttercup Beach is the second in the series written by Holly Martin set on the fictional Hope Island in the Scilly Isles. Holly hasn't kept those of us who were huge fans of the first in the series Spring at Blueberry Bay, waiting that long for the next instalment as book one was only published a few short months ago back in April. This time around the story focuses on another would be couple Freya and Rome who had previously made some appearances as we followed Bella and Isaac's story. Now Freya and Rome take centre stage as they struggle to face up to realities and maybe admit they do actually have feelings for each other and want to take things that little bit further.
With this series I feel it's not really will the characters we are reading about get together it's more about their journey to reach that point and that's what makes it so interesting and sets them apart from any other books out there in this genre at the moment. Holly has created a brilliant cast of characters backed up by the most wonderful setting of Hope Island and if you weren't invested in the outcome for all in book one you certainly will be by the time you finish reading Summer at Buttercup Beach. It didn't take me long to settle back into the familiarity of Hope Island and its residents and for those who haven't read Bella's story, although giving nothing away, Holly filled us in nicely on events in the previous book with subtle lines here and there but apart from that Freya and Rome were allowed to shine.
Freya Greene has secretly fancied Rome Lancaster ever since she arrived on Hope Island after a tumultuous period in her life. They are the best of friends and work alongside each other on a daily basis in Rome's workshop creating beautiful stained glass pieces. 'She had a great job, brilliant friends and lived in the most beautiful place in the world, but her life was missing love and it wasn't just love with anyone else she wanted, it was Rome. He was the missing piece that didn't seem like it would ever be filled'. Freya wonders does Rome in any way reciprocate her feelings or is it all one-sided? But she doesn't have the courage to come out and ask him face to face. I couldn't really blame her for not doing this to be honest as if I was in the same position I would be more than reluctant and afraid as to what the outcome could be. Who wants their dreams crushed when you could hold on to that fantasy for just that little bit longer?
In this case it's different as we have lots of chapter's from Rome's perspective and as the story develops we get a deeper insight in to the workings of Rome's heart and mind. So my opinion on the whole situation changed several times over. In fact throughout the entire story so many various scenarios are presented that by the end you become equally frustrated with both Freya and Rome. You just wanted to sit them down in a quiet room and say you are not leaving here until you say everything that's on your mind and it has to be the truth and nothing else. Both were very complex characters with a lot going on. You could sense the hesitation and reluctance to commit but there must have been very valid reasons for this. The islanders, their close friends and relatives as in Bella, Isaac, Eden and Dougie and even the readers could see what was right in front of their eyes it was just a question whether Rome and Freya would eventually see the same.
Rome really doesn't want true love to enter his life again, he had it in the past but events left him deeply hurt and affected by what had occurred. He 'had been too fearful to fall in love again because of the pain of losing her had been to much to bear. He had guarded his heart and that had worked just fine for him'. He was very closed off and misinterpreted situations and words far too quickly instead of stepping back and thinking about things. At times I didn't like the way he treated Freya, not in any physical harmful way but in the fact he took things too seriously and too literally and hurt her feelings and gave mixed signals. There were several times when just as you thought the pair could be getting close and maybe realising what was right their in front of them only then for something to occur and it felt like everything was back to square one. I know the path to true love never runs smooth but when the feelings are there and the chemistry has been brewing for so long surely you want to take a chance on it?
I thought to myself there has to be a very good reason for Rome to act the way he does in relation to love and relationships and when the reason becomes apparent it wasn't a let down at all which I was fearful of. In fact it made me understand Rome a lot more and I got where he was coming from. I know it's hard to move on from something but there comes a time and a place when this is essential and needs to be done. Freya was such a warm, loving person who would make the most wonderful partner in life and love and I fervently hoped that Rome didn't let her slip through his fingers. Rome wanted someone who could make him, laugh, someone whom he could share his deepest secrets and worries in and someone who he just enjoyed spending time with and I truly believed because of the brilliant writing from Holly Martin that Freya was that one person he didn't know was so close to home.
It's clear Freya has reached that point that if things don't come out in the opinion than that's it. How could you stand to work alongside the person you love day and day out without saying anything or receiving anything in return? 'Could she really face seeing Rome everyday knowing that he would never be hers?' I enjoyed seeing how everything was coming to a head. It was like this romantic explosion was going to happen and it would result either in heartbreak or happiness. The backdrop to the unfolding drama was as strong as ever and the island too as in the first book was it's own character and I fell ever more in love with the beaches described and just the general life on the island. Some of the funniest moments for me in this book came from Rome's dad Finn. God how I laughed at the awkward situation he found himself in which resulted in what I would term a verbal diarrhoea of words that should never have left his mouth. He had me cringing and laughing in equal measure. Also the inclusion of Rome's job working on the stained glass showed his creative side but it also provided for a lot of beautiful moments and a lot of well thought out metaphors.
I really enjoyed getting to know different characters a lot deeper in this second book and although Spring at Blueberry Bay slightly edges out this one for me just because I became really deeply embroiled in the outcome for Bella and Isaac it still doesn't take away from what an enjoyable read Summer at Buttercup Beach was. It's a perfect continuation of the series and I feel we are nicely set up for Christmas at Mistletoe Cove. I have a feeling who it will focus on and hope my suspicions are correct. Holly Martin constantly blows me away with her writing and with Summer at Buttercup Beach she has done no different, I hope everyone enjoys Freya and Rome's journey as much as I did.
Many thanks to Bookouture via NetGalley for my copy of Summer at Buttercup Beach to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.