Title: Island in the Sea by Anita Hughes
A Majorca Love Story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Juliet Lyman is a senior executive at Yesterday Records. Music is her passion and she’s very good at her job. That’s why her famously philanthropic boss Gideon sends her to Majorca, Spain to work with a very tortured, but talented client. Lionel Harding is one of the best song writers of the 20th century, the multi-Grammy award-winning lyricist of the third most recorded song in history. But now he’s 42 and six months overdue on the his latest paid assignment. Juliet is not leaving Majorca without either new lyrics or a very large check.
To Juliet, business comes first. Emotions are secondary, and love isn’t even on the menu. But to Lionel, love is everything, and he blames Gideon for his broken heart. He’s determined to show Juliet that nothing is more important than love, but Juliet is just as determined to get Lionel to create the music that made him famous. If she can sign up local talent, even better. Her new friend Gabriella has a voice like an angel, but she’s not interested in fame. Her grandmother, Lydia, wants the world for Gabriella, and she wants Juliet’s help to give it to her.
As her professional and personal lives start to mix for the first time, Juliet is forced to reevaluate her priorities. Gideon hasn’t been totally honest, and love may be the only thing that gives them all what they need.
Island in the Sea is Anita Hughes’ captivating sixth novel, filled with exotic descriptions of food, fashion, and romance.
In Anita Hughes’ latest release, Island in the Sea, readers are whisked away to an idyllic island setting when music exec Juliet Lyman travels to Majorca, Spain to convince songwriter Lionel Harding to fulfill the terms of his contract.
Juliet is passionate about her career and although she works long hours and spends a lot of time on the road, she loves working in the music industry. With her job on the line, she is determined to convince Lionel to either pay back his advance or turn in the songs he was contracted to write. When he insists on telling her a story that explains his lack of progress, she extends her visit by two weeks, becomes friends with locals Gabriella and Lydia and begins dating tennis player Henry Adler. With her departure date looming, Juliet unexpectedly finds love but will a surprising discovery ruin her chance at happiness?
Juliet does not have much time for a private life and while fulfilled her in professional life, she is taken off guard when she feels a little lonely after her long days come to a close. At loose ends while waiting for Lionel to finish his story and turn in his songs, she explores Majorca, gets to know Gabriella and Lydia and enjoys extravagant dates with Henry. When Henry surprises her with a declaration of love, Juliet is confused by her own feelings and when he begins planning his future around their budding relationship, she is shocked by her reaction.
Lionel is self-indulgent, whiny and somewhat shallow. The story of his rise to fame is initially interesting but as he falls victim to the trappings of success, he becomes just another overspending jerk who loses sight of what is truly important in life. Easily convinced to go on the road despite his promises to his girlfriend (and muse), a misunderstanding and behind the scenes maneuvering leads to the demise of their relationship. Despite his continued success, Lionel really never got over his first love and when he finds out the truth about the real reason their romance failed, he becomes morose and petulant. He also makes a somewhat passive aggressive decision to not fulfill the terms of his contract.
While the descriptions of Majorca bring the setting vibrantly to live, the rest of the storyline falls a little flat. Lionel’s past is revealed through a series of flashbacks which detail a lovely romance that ultimately falters under the weight of his career aspirations. The transitions between past and present are a little abrupt and not always clearly marked. Juliet is a likable character but she comes across as much younger than her actual age. The romance aspect of the plot has a bit of an insta-love quality and the reasons for the behind the scenes manipulations seem a little heavy handed and arrogant.
Despite a few issues with some of the plot, Island in the Sea by Anita Hughes is a lovely, light read with an exotic and relaxing setting. Overall, an angst free romance with a unique storyline that fans of contemporary romances will enjoy.