09 May 2014

Blackberry Island series by Susan Mallery

The Blackberry Island series by Susan Mallery is set on a dreamy island near Seattle. (There's even a map to show you where all the popular spots in the book are on the island!) It's more women's fiction, than full on adult romance, like her Fool's Gold series. Book three came out earlier this year.

Read on for my thoughts on all three books in the series so far. I don't know if there will be any more books set on Blackberry Island, but don't let that stop you from reading... each story wraps up on its own, so it won't leave you hanging forever if another book is set for next year. They're three great stories about friendship, with a bit of romantic love thrown in.


(Blackberry Island #1)
by Susan Mallery
Published March 2012 by Harlequin Mira
Fiction - Kindle edition, 363p.

Army vet, Michelle, returns to Blackberry Island and the home she fled years before, to claim her inheritance. Carly, once Michelle’s best friend, has been running the island’s troubled inn, which Michelle has just inherited, for years. To save the inn, the business and their home, the two women have to make peace with their troubled past and work together. Luckily, Blackberry Island is in the midst of a beautiful summer to help the two old friends along.

This book kicks off Susan Mallery's Blackberry Island series, which is geared more toward friendships between women than romantic relationships like her Fool's Gold series is, although there is romance in these too. The island is a wonderful setting and reading along as the friendship between Michelle and Carly recovers is a delight.


(Blackberry Island #2)
by Susan Mallery
Published February 2013 by Harlequin Mira
Fiction - Kindle edition, 344p.


After being jilted at the alter, Andi decides to buy one of the Three Sisters Queen Anne houses on the island to restore it and house her pediatric office on the bottom floor. She meets the women in the other two houses of the trio: Deanna, an unhappy housewife obsessed with perfection, and Boston, a quirky artist whose marriage is struggling after facing a tragedy. The three women forge a friendship and see each other through hard times as the island and their beautiful houses provide the dreamy setting.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bonds of friendship form between Andi, Deanna, and Boston. The three women are vastly different and not the usual automatic friends, but while their connection takes time, it produces a lovely friendship. Their love lives aren't the focus of the book, but are an enjoyable piece of the story, as well. 


(Blackberry Island #3)
by Susan Mallery
Published February 2014 by Harlequin Mira
Fiction - Kindle edition, 400p.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for providing me with a digital copy for review.

Small-town nurse Nina Wentworth has made a career out of being a caretaker. More "Mom" than their mother ever was, she sacrificed medical school—and her first love—so her sister could break free. Which is why she isn't exactly thrilled to see Averil back on Blackberry Island, especially when Nina's life has suddenly become…complicated.

Nina unexpectedly finds herself juggling two men—her high school sweetheart and a younger maverick pilot who also wants to claim her heart. But as fun as all this romance is, Nina has real life to deal with. Averil doesn't seem to want the great guy she's married to, and doesn't seem to be making headway writing her first book; their mom is living life just as recklessly as she always has; and Nina's starting to realize that the control she once had is slipping out of her fingers. Her hopes of getting off the island seem to be stretching further away…until her mother makes a discovery that could change everything forever.

But before Nina and Averil can reach for the stars, they have to decide what they want. Will Averil stay? Will Nina leave? And what about the men who claim to love them? Does love heal, or will finding their happy ending mean giving up all they've ever wanted?

Evening Stars follows Nina, a nurse in a pediatrician's office (working for Andi, the doctor from book two in the series), who's always taking care of everyone but herself. Throughout the book, she learns how to relate to her younger sister as an adult, move past her mom's erratic, unreliable behavior, and face two prospective love interests. After a long time on her own, she finds herself receiving attention from a former boyfriend who dumped her when he was off island for school, and a young, hot pilot stationed nearby.

I found Nina's struggle to deal with her sister's unhappiness and lack of motivation, as well as her mother's flakiness, to be believable and totally relatable, since I would've felt just as frustrated in the same situation. While it's important to let people be themselves, sometimes it's hard to deal with what that means when you wish you could rely on them to take care of things, instead of always leaning on you. Nina both counts on that neediness from her family and resents it, and this book takes her through struggling with those feelings.

To get outside of the struggles in the family home, Nina also faces a decision about which man to start a relationship with, the former love or hot new guy, or if she belongs on her own. I thoroughly enjoyed following along as she made this decision, and the book kept me guessing about which way she would go.

Evening Stars is a solid third installment in the Blackberry Island series, and I'd be happy to read more books set on the island, especially if they share a glimpse into Nina's life, as well as all of the characters I've grown to love throughout the first three books.

GET THE BOOKS: Goodreads | Amazon

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