RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Beach House No. 9 by Christie Ridgway


Title: Beach House No. 9
Author: Christie Ridgway
Publication Info: Harlequin January 2013
ISBN: 978-0373777402
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Beach House Number 9 This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Julianne. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Contemporary Romance category.

The summary:

When book doctor Jane Pearson arrives at Griffin Lowell's beach house, she expects a brooding loner. After all, his agent hired her to help the reclusive war journalist write his stalled memoir. Instead, Jane finds a tanned, ocean-blue-eyed man in a Hawaiian shirt, hosting a beach party and surrounded by beauties. Faster than he can untie a bikini top, Griffin lets Jane know he doesn't want her. But she desperately needs this job and digs her toes in the sand.

Griffin intends to spend the coming weeks at Beach House No. 9 taking refuge from his painful memories-and from the primly sexy book doctor who wants to bare his soul. But warm nights, moonlit walks and sultry kisses just may unlock both their guarded hearts…

And here is Julianne's review:

I had a rough time reviewing this book, probably due in part to first-time reviewer stage fright. I have read most of Christie Ridgway's books, and have enjoyed them all, especially the Three Kisses trilogy, so I thought this book would be a good way to kick off (and possibly end) my reviewing career.

Beach House No. 9 is the first in a trilogy set in Crescent Cove, California. In this book, Griffin Lowell is a reporter who has recently returned home after completing an assignment as an embedded war journalist. Upon his return, Griffin was to begin penning a memoir about his experiences. He has yet to produce anything and with a deadline looming, his agent hires Jane, a “book doctor”, to help get Griffin moving in the right direction. Jane's last assignment with renowned author Ian Stone ended poorly, and she is hoping that working with Griffin will restore her professional reputation. Understandably, Griffin’s time overseas had a profound impact on him, and he correctly assumes that Jane's presence will force him to revisit some things he'd rather not remember.

The pair gets off to a contentious start; Jane puts Griffin on edge right away and she responds by renting the beach house next door to him so she can keep an even closer eye on his work habits. Jane is what Griffin refers to as a “governess”, and for me, Griffin walks the line between just edgy enough and cranky. Ridgway does a good job of giving the character’s back story; we get a glimpse of Jane’s dysfunctional family life and flashbacks of his time in a war zone. For most of the story, the two characters are being drawn together and pushed apart, but thankfully, this book lacks the “big misunderstanding” that can be frustrating to readers. Jane does her best to get Griffin to confront the emotional baggage that is standing in the way of his writing, which is like poking a bear, but makes for some good and sometimes emotional scenes between the two.

I read contemporary romance 90% of the time, and while this wasn’t my exact catnip, I think this is going to hit the mark for many contemporary fans. There is something for everyone; a brooding, damaged hero, a tropical setting, good supporting characters, great love scenes, and even a secondary romance, which Ridgway always does very well. I know some people don’t like secondary romances, but for me, it’s like the cherry on the top when it is well written.

This book is also funny; some of the best scenes are between Griffin and Rex Monroe, Griffin's 94-year old neighbor who was also a war journalist in World War II. Griffin’s family also plays a big role in the book, which includes four nieces and nephews he refers to as “minions” and his sister in law, a former teen commercial star. Griffin’s twin brother, Gage, also has a presence in the book, despite being overseas working as a photojournalist, and will play a starring role later on in the series.

Ultimately, I gave this book a B because I wasn’t 100% sold on the chemistry between the two main characters, and there were times that I had to push myself through the book.  I will be putting the next two books in the series on my “To Be Read” list, though, and would assure anyone looking for a good beach read that this is a safe bet.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | All Romance eBooks

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