Mary Valley is in a funk. She’s a writer for home magazines, but she’s lost touch with what home means. Her life seems meaningless. The last house she wrote about was a gazillion-dollar mansion with a moat! Plus, she’s estranged from her daughter, CC and granddaughter, Larkin and mired in a dead-end relationship with her boss.
Daniel is a man adrift since his son Timmy was killed in Afghanistan. He’s living on a houseboat in Florida with Timmy’s three-legged dog, Tripod and taking tourists out on fishing charters. But his life is on the edge. He’s painting his houseboat black, and he can’t stop thinking about “getting lost at sea.”
When Mary’s boss tells her he’s spending Christmas with his ex, she books a trip with her family to The Low Key Inn, a hotel on the edge of the Everglades. But things go wrong from the get-go. CC bails out of the vacation, and Mary is stuck with an unhappy Larkin. The hotel is dated and down-on-its-luck, and perhaps its owner is a witch. Then Mary meets Daniel, casts a hook into his head and wrecks his boat.
I think Ollie was probably my favorite character in this story! I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. Mary is so klutzy and accident-prone that it made me laugh, and Larkin was adorable. I wasn’t a big fan of CC, but I did like Daniel. And, frankly, the Low Key Inn sounds completely wonderful and charming and I want to go right now.
Sandy Gingras is an award-winning author. Paradise Girls is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)