Author: Liz Johnson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Prince Edward Island Shores #1
Release Date: August 3, 2021
When Meg Whitaker's father decides to sell the family's lobster fishing business to her high school nemesis, she sets out to prove she should take it over instead. Though she's never had any interest in running the small fleet--or even getting on a boat due to her persistent seasickness--she can't stand to see Oliver Ross in charge. Not when he ruined her dreams for a science scholarship and an Ivy League education ten years ago.
Oliver isn't proud of what he did back then. Angry and broken by his father walking out on his family, he lashed out at Meg--an innocent bystander. But owning a respected fishing fleet on Prince Edward Island is the opportunity of a lifetime, as well as a way to provide for his mother, and he's not about to walk away just because Meg wants him to.
Meg's father has the perfect solution: Oliver and Meg will work the business together, and at the end of the season, he'll decide who gets it. Along the way, they may discover that their stories are more similar than they thought . . . and their dreams aren't what they expected.
Reviewer: Miriam Young
Liz Johnson has a gem of a story here, like nothing else I’ve ever encountered.
The story of Meg and Oliver is quite remarkable, and the lessons of forgiving, trusting, and loving are strongly received in the best possible way.
Set on the beautiful island of Prince Edward Island, we are submerged into the world of fishing boats, smelly bait, and crab traps. Everything from the hard work to the weather to the early mornings compliment the storyline and the mood of everything so well.
I am literally blown away by the character development that is shown. We come to know, almost seemingly personally, Meg and Oliver at the beginning of the book, and still know the both of them by the end. However, by then they are both two completely different people in the best possible way. Looking back, Liz did an incredible job of growing the characters through the story, and literally could not have changed a single thing.
This book was provided courtesy of Revell, through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
"That's the thing about forgiveness - it's a renewable resource. The act of giving it fills you up to give it again. The more you practice forgiveness, the more you have to give."
Liz Johnson's contemporary romance books are a must-read for me and this book, her newest, showcases exactly why. From the opening chapter, the characters and the plot are captivating and the plot has a nice smooth flow with easy-to-read writing. There is great humor peppered throughout the book that you won't be able to help the wide grins and occasional laugh-out-loud moments. There is plenty of heartache and grief seen through Meg and her father as they care for a rapidly deteriorating loved one. Oliver has a difficult, painful, and shameful past to overcome but his gentle, tender, hard-working humility shows what God can do when we put ourselves at His feet. How brokenness can become redeemed and forgiveness can conquer fear really struck home through this book. And I learned quite a bit about lobstering in the beautiful Prince Edward Island. I can't wait for the next two books where we'll get to know Oliver's brothers better!
I received the book from Baker Publishing Group via Interviews & Reviews and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.
Reviewer: Linda Klager
Meg Whitaker's life was changing. Her father wanted to sell the lobster fishing business to her arch-enemy, Oliver Ross.
Meg was a school teacher and loved her job, but she did not want Oliver to take over her family's legacy. She needed to decide; either to continue to teach or give that up to learn the lobster business. The big problem that Meg had was that she would get terribly seasick.
Meg reluctantly gave up her teaching job. Her father said she needed to work with Oliver to learn the business and her father would decide who he would sell the business to. There was another man by the name of Kyle who helped them each day.
Oliver developed romantic feelings for Meg. Meg did not want to fall for Oliver. Years ago Oliver destroyed her robot and her chance to do big things in her life. That is why she despised Oliver.
I loved the romance developing between Oliver and Meg. The author did a wonderful job describing the Prince Edward Island area and what a person needed to learn about the lobster business.
Meg had a wonderful relationship with her parents and you will enjoy how much this family loved each other.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
I feel that I have read a part of this story before. Then I realized it was an excerpt from book one, henceforth why I don't like reading sneak peeks. It ends up ruining the entire story for me. I had to skip to the part where the excerpt left off and continue reading from there.
This is a beautifully written story of love, faith, family, and forgiveness, for the most part. Ms. Johnson always does a great job weaving spiritual messages and life's journey's together to make a grand adventure! And then, somewhere along the way, you can even make friends with the characters if you choose to. I sometimes do, but they tend to break your heart because you have to say goodbye when the book ends.
Five stars for an excellent story. I loved it.
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
"He didn't need her to like him. He just needed her to stop hating him."
Let the games begin . . . . so to speak. How hard could it be to convince a woman who has despised him for the past ten years, to work alongside him everyday for a measly three months? After all, Oliver Ross is determined to come out on top of the challenge that Meg Whitaker's father just issued. Whitaker Fishing would be awarded to only one of them, and Oliver has decided it is going to be him. Besides, Meg can't even get on a boat without hurling and she is most definitely not a morning person.
"You can't be serious. Why would you sell it to him?" Meg Whitaker is stunned. Her own father was planning to sell his legacy . . her legacy . . . one of the most profitable lobster fishing businesses on their island, to Oliver Ross. Sadly, she did understand, to a certain point. Her mother's failing health demanded full time attention . . . but Oliver?
As Oliver and Meg inch their way towards camaraderie, they discover that they may have more in common than they once thought possible. Grief, for instance. . . . "such a strange thing. It ebbs and flows like the tide" . . . obstacles, "we're promised storms in this life. We're also promised that our hope in God is an anchor in those storms". And even love, for " . . . love grows in unexpected ground". . . .or on a fishing boat in the middle of the ocean watching sunrises.
Readers will love this romantic return to Prince Edwards Island compliments of an author who knows how to design a love story that will linger sweetly in the memories of all those who read it.
I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Reviewer: Marie Edwards
While I own several books by the author, the only one I’ve read was A Dazzle of Diamonds from the Georgia Coast series, I won that through Library Thing. For Christmas 2019, my mother got me the previous two books of the series – A Sparkle of Silver and A Glitter of Gold.
I also bought Johnson’s Prince Edward Island Dreams series (The Red Door Inn; Where Two Hearts Meet; On Love's Gentle Shore) after seeing them at the library and glancing through them. I had checked them out, but didn’t have time to read them.
I was deeply impressed with A Dazzle of Diamonds and can’t wait to read the two previous books in that series.
When I saw the author was “returning” to Prince Edward Island for another book, I had to get it. As of note, since I haven’t read the previous one, I don’t know whether this book and the older series are connected. I did not recall any main characters from those books in this one, so it is possible the two are not connected. I originally thought Beyond the Tides was a standalone, revisit type of book. It isn’t, it is book #1 of the series.
To be incredibly honest, I expected a sweet and cute romance. What I got was anything but. But, that is in a good way. This is a deeply emotional, and at times, heart-breaking story with realistic presentation of everything involved. That doesn’t seem to resonate with the cover. That wasn’t a bad thing either. It gave the entire package depth and heart.
Johnson created such complex characters that up until the end of chapter 12, I really didn’t have much feeling for Meg. It was more neutral. I didn’t hate her, I just didn’t like her. The story is told from two POVs – Meg, who is trying to keep Oliver from getting her dad’s business; and Oliver who wants it. Oliver was my hero from start to finish. He was definitely honest, trying to be nice to Meg, and had some deeper concerns outside of work. Their deckhand Kyle was a great guy as well, though for a time I had different feelings.
Walt, Meg’s father, was definitely a strong character; especially with what was going on with his wife. She is slowly “fading” away after falls, and her memory is a mess. Though the doctors don’t know why. Obviously, anyone who has watched an elderly parent decline with mobility, memory, and/or dementia issues – you might want to take caution when reading this. It is devastatingly realistic. It’s hard not to want to fix the person and having to deal with the fact you can’t. I have some experience there.
Johnson isn’t a lightweight when it comes to tough issues. I like that she found something obscure rather than the commonly used Alzheimer’s. While I’m not trying to downplay its impact with millions of affected families, it is sometimes overused as a trope. There was a time when I read three books back-to-back that actually dealt with it. Johnson’s use of another, similar disease was refreshing and informative. I actually looked it up as soon as I read it and it was something I’d NEVER heard of.
The beginning really grabbed me right off. Meg finds out that her father is selling his lobster fishing to someone she has had a grudge against since school – Oliver Ross. And, that was over a destroyed science project.
To be honest, I understood exactly where Meg was coming from. In fourth (4th) grade I had spent a Saturday watching my mom help me with a science project. It was a cute “box” that housed our solar system – black lacquer inside, construction paper planets on strings, and gold stars. I loved it and couldn’t wait to bring it home as a decoration. I was told after it was graded that it had to stay at school for a bit, it did, and after a while I wanted it. The teachers couldn’t find it, swore I took it home, finally a janitor admitted that he thought it was a TRASH box and used it to clean up with. He discarded it with the trash. I was as heart-broken as Meg was, maybe more. I literally cried for weeks after that. I’ve always wanted to re-do it, but haven’t had the time or materials; sometimes lacking the room. That stings even now, and it’s been almost 35 years. That part was all too real for me.
I also identified with Ross’ relationship with his absentee father when it came to a lack of birthday and Christmas cards. I haven’t gotten any in over 40 years from mine. Like, Oliver, I’m not too upset about it either – it is something I have come to expect.
Those two aspects alone give this story quite the realistic feel.
As this deals with the lobster fishing business, there will be some fishing terms. It can be a bit confusing, but nothing that would affect the overall enjoyability of the story. And, what a story it is! It isn’t pretty either – Johnson is very detailed and graphic on some parts.
Walt is selling the business to Oliver as the older man has to care for his wife. And, Meg hasn’t shown much interest in it. The only solution? Work it together until the end of the season. That has complications for Meg with her other job. She is given a choice and decides to work with Oliver hoping he’ll give up.
Advice he gets for hoping Meg gives up? Work with her and be nice; be her friend. Of course, that isn’t going to be easy. And, Meg realizes that lobster fishing isn’t easy either, especially when you’re prone to seasickness.
As much as Oliver wants the business, he offers to help Meg succeed.
As Walt has to solve his wife’s medical issues, Meg and Oliver have to work together to make the business succeed. Of course, there are some run-ins with the other fishermen. Some who hold a grudge against Oliver for what his father did.
Meg’s mission is made worse with the news of what is wrong with her mother. Oliver’s kindness extends to Meg’s mother which softens her up towards him. Oliver’s encouragement to Meg to make memories with her mother broke my heart.
Meg is also dealing with the fact that the Oliver she knows now is different than the one she knew when he destroyed her project.
Meg also wants to know why her father chose Oliver to sell the business to and not Kyle. Kyle has a reasonable and simple reply that had me asking no more about that.
As they begin to succeed, things keep happening – traps getting lost, things being broken. Someone is sabotaging them.
The truth about her project eventually comes out, and Oliver is dealing with family stuff even now.
The romance and a kiss doesn’t occur until over 50% into the story. And, Johnson takes the story and its momentum to the very end. Readers will have to read the entire book.
Despite the sub-plot of Meg’s mother, this was a pretty easy read. I read about 41% in an uninterrupted 2-hour period. I just didn’t want to put it down. The chapters are not short, but they are not extremely long either. Johnson doesn’t linger with the story. She moves it on at a natural pace. It was interesting to see the various aspects of a fishing business and what all is required. I definitely had a greater appreciation for the shrimp dinner I recently had.
There were some funny moments such as when Oliver took Meg shopping for appropriate attire. At one point the choice seems simple – tent or burlap bag when it came to pants. I had to chuckle on that. That’s seemingly been a choice for me when it came to dresses for an event. I did luck out much like Meg – flattering, yet appropriate. There is also a running joke about a face cream. There was also a cute remark about Oliver’s hands being as big as bear paws. I was laughing pretty hard there as I know of a guy with big hands like that. Yes, some guys have HUGE hands!
This was really an enjoyable read and astounded me with its complex plot that was also simple as well. Johnson really stepped up her game here.
I also love that the author used kilometers when it came to a speedometer reading on a vehicle as opposed to miles which is expected since this is taking place in Canada.
Since this is the first book in the series, do not expect a complete resolution with certain storylines. This seems to set up book #2 with certain references and events, especially towards the end. Thus, reading book #2 is definitely going to be required, at least for me.
Given this is distributed by Revell, a Christian/faith themed publisher, expect a very clean read. There are church attendances, references to God, and some prayers. These are not the sole focus of the story, but do add heart to it.
Fans of the author and those who’ve read her Prince Edward Island Dreams series are sure to enjoy this read and this new visit to the island. I am very much looking forward to a return.
Thank you to the publisher, Revell (a division of Baker Books), for providing an advanced copy of the book through Interviews and Reviews. A positive review was definitely not required or requested in any way; all words are my own
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