REVIEW: Oceans Between Us by Helen Scott TaylorThursday, June 14, 2012 1:00
I’m a tad befuddled after reading the last two books by Helen Scott Taylor that I love the heroes, but the heroines have given me a hard time. Just an interesting observation on my end, because in her previous books, I also loved Ms. Taylor’s female leads. While I like Maria and enjoy getting to know her, she does toss me into a fit late in the book, but honest heroine that she is, she fesses up and all ends well.
It’s Dino, however, who wins my heart early. This handsome Italian opera singer is in the midst of an emotional upheaval, having just discovered his former fiancee gave their son up for adoption without obtaining Dino’s permission. He tries his best, but he’s told the deed is done, there is nothing he can do or say to get his son back, let alone to even see the boy. Heartbroken, he walks out on his manager, who was behind the tragic manipulation so Dino wouldn’t be distracted from his very successful singing career, without a word and ends up in a small Cornwall village at a bed and breakfast that’s closed for some remodeling.
Maria is alone at the Crow’s Nest, doing all the repainting and other work needed for the upcoming season, while her parents are on vacation. When she answers a knock at her door to find a man so obviously in pain, she can’t deny him sanctuary from the storm he’s apparently spent some time in. Being the caring nurturer she is, Maria wants to help him through his hurt in any small way possible. As she does so, little by little Dino opens up to her, sharing his devastation and then his determined rejuvenation at Maria’s hands. They share a blissful four weeks taking walks along the beach, dancing in the kitchen, just talking, and, of course, making love – though Dino tries to keep his distance in this respect, knowing he has to leave some day soon.
His commitments around the world will take him from England and Maria, not knowing if or when he’ll be able to return. It’s refreshing that she doesn’t know him for the star he is – probably the only woman on the planet who doesn’t. Though his manager is a selfish and greedy SOB, he has helped make Dino’s super mega career. The man won’t leave anything to chance, and when he learns Maria was a distraction for Dino during his absence, suddenly the woman who gave up Dino’s son is back in the picture so Dino’s focus is on his career and away from Maria. This is the only time I’m a little irritated with Dino. That manager gets too many chances, as far as I’m concerned. He should have been sacked when Dino finds out about his intervention with Rachel’s pregnancy. But, of course, if that happened, the story would have ended much sooner. So the manager from hell gets to keep throwing wrenches in everyone’s plans. The fact that Dino welcomes Rachel back into his life didn’t sit well with me at first, but I can understand why he does it.
I also have a hard time liking Maria’s parents. Once back from their holiday, they sit Maria down and pull the rug right out from under her by selling the Crow’s Nest instead of retiring and allowing Maria to take over the place. She has no money saved, worked not for wages but room and board and incidentals, her future plans resting on the inn. Then when mama finds out about Dino, she takes matters into her own hands trying to protect her daughter. And then they won’t fund Maria’s trip to the United States when she discovers Dino does have feelings for her. I wanted to shake my finger at them and give them a good talkin’ to! It’s Chris, Maria’s sister, who comes to the rescue and they make the trip over the pond to see Dino at the Met. Of course, things don’t go as planned and Maria returns home broken hearted once again.
But when Dino finally takes control of his life again and gets back to Maria to take her with him for his mother’s fiftieth birthday family get-together, she initially reverts back to that girl who is now afraid to travel because of an incident that happened in Austria with an old boyfriend. She overcomes her fear this time because it involves Dino’s family. However, once they have a terrific time in Italy and Dino shares his feelings with her, this is where, though she professes her love for him as well, she refuses to travel to America where he’ll be making a movie. She wants him to give up his dream for hers. Now, it doesn’t take long for her to realize how wrong she is – which is a breath of fresh air over those 50 or more pages it takes most heroines to do this – so my irritation with her is short lived.
All in all, this is one of those lovely happiness from tragedy, love when you least expect it stories. Well, with a mild dose of wake up and smell the coffee too. I thoroughly enjoyed Dino and his zest for living, his love of family, and his need to sing. Their brief affair in the first half of the book is my favorite part, along with their time in Italy in the second half. I can just see that small fishing village in Cornwall and Riomaggiore on the Italian Riviera from Ms. Taylor’s beautiful descriptions. This is the type of book to snuggle up on the couch with on a slow Saturday afternoon to lose yourself in heartbreak, romance, and happily ever after.
He’s a wealthy Italian celebrity used to dating beautiful women. She’s a guesthouse cook without a penny to her name. When tragedy brings them together for a few weeks, an unlikely romance blossoms. But he has commitments that take him back to his jet-setting life, while her future lies in a remote English village. Is it possible for two people from such different walks of life to find a way to be together?
No excerpt available.