SUNRISE BY THE SEA - Jenny Colgan
Mount Polbearne, Cornish Coast - Present Day
Polly and Huckle Miller live in the small, scenic coastal town of Mount Polbearne, where Polly runs the local bakery, and Huckle sells honey. They live in a converted lighthouse with their five-year-old twins, Avery and Daisy, and Neil, the Puffin. Scraping by on the bakery income, and what Huckle can do with his honey business, means working hard and hoping to save enough money to replace the windows in the old lighthouse. They could ask for the help of Polly's best friend, Kerensa's, amazingly rich husband, Reuben, but both are loathe to do that. Life goes on, and Polly struggles to deal with Huckle's sales trips, while keeping the twins happy, and her bakery running. And then Reuben's "waifs and strays" arrive in town.
In Exeter, Marisa Rossi hides in the room she rents from Caius, a casual, and very rich and handsome friend. Since the death of her beloved grandfather, Marisa has been unable to function, even to the point where she cannot go into work, and instead works from her tiny room. She is getting counseling, via her laptop, and her doctor is trying to get through to her, but Marisa is frozen, and even her family can't help. It isn't until Caius rents out her room and gets her a cottage at his Uncle Reuben's property in Cornwall that Marisa is forced to face reality. She arranges to continue working from home, and heads to Mount Polbearne.
Marisa arrives in town, terrified of the crowds of tourists milling around, and finds the little bakery where she must retrieve the key to her cottage. The kind, but harried baker, Polly, notices right away that Marisa is having a panic attack, especially after a real live puffin flutters into the room, closely followed by two children, and then a massive man. It's no wonder Marisa can't function! Polly calms everyone down, realizing that Marisa and the big man are the new tenants of Reuben's chalets.
Still in a funk, Marisa settles into the neat little cottage, sets up her work station, and makes plans to have her groceries delivered, and plans to avoid any people. That is until she realizes that the walls are very thin between the cottages, and that the big man next door is the new piano teacher for the local school. The "noise" is never-ending, even during the night, so her insomnia gets no help, nor does her fear of confrontation.
What ensues in SUNRISE BY THE SEA is the struggle of a young woman who has lost connection to the real world. Marisa knows she must help herself, and her new therapist works hard to encourage even the smallest step into reality. Alexei, her neighbor, is confused by her anger at his music. Things start to change when Marisa begins Skyping her grandmother in Italy. But, at first, Marisa doesn't realize it.
SUNRISE BY THE SEA is such a great story of human struggles in so many areas. Polly and Huckle work hard to take care of their little family and home. Marisa has many mountains to climb, and Alexei has his own personal tribulations. In the meantime, there is plenty of humor as Neil, the puffin, and the twins manage to get into all kinds of scrapes. Even the interplay between Marisa and Alexei will bring smiles.
Don't miss the latest of Jenny Colgan's Little Beach Street Bakery books.