Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Olivia Miller is standing on the porch of her mother and stepfather’s plantation style villa in St. Barts. They have been coming here every April for years but she is always thrilled to see the horseshoe shaped bay of Gustavia and white sand of Gouverneur’s Beach. This trip should be particularly exciting because she is celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday and hoping that Finn, her boyfriend of four years, will propose.
The only person who won’t be here is her father, Sebastian, who she hasn’t seen in twenty years. He’s a well-known artist and crisscrosses the globe, painting and living in exotic locations like Kenya and China. When Sebastian walks unexpectedly walks through the door and floats back into Olivia’s life like a piece of bad driftwood she never knew she wanted, she starts to wondering if her world is too narrow. She questions the dreams and the relationship she’s always thought she wanted. But there seems to be more to the story than an innocent fatherly visit, and Olivia must decide if love is more important than truth.
Set on St. Barts, the jewel of the Caribbean, WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA is a heartwarming story about romance and adventure, and most importantly, about knowing yourself, and what makes you happy.
Based on the blurb/cover combo I was expecting a total beach read, something to escape into and that’s exactly what I got. This is pure entertainment and not to be taken too seriously, there were parts that would’ve bothered me a bit more (though there were a few issues I still couldn’t get past) if I was expecting a book with more depth, but if you take this book at face value (just look at that cover, makes me wanna dive in) then it’s a pretty fun read.
Hughes paints such a pretty picture, the setting is definitely the strong point of this book. I could feel the sand between my toes, smell the flowers mixed with salty air and gorgeous scents of exotic food, it was so easy to conjure up an image of St. Bart. I had heard that a Hughes book was comparable to Elin Hilderbrand’s books and I’m a huge fan of her work, but besides the beach setting, I’m not really thinking that’s entirely accurate, this book lacked even a bit of the substance that Hilderbrand’s have.
The characters were pretty unlikable, and not in a, are they good or bad type of way. More like a, they’re all pretentious, spoiled snobs type of way. Olivia is turning 25 and she’s extremely immature and naive. She comes across as selfish and vulnerable, but not in an endearing way, it was annoying. Her dad, Sebastian is awful, he’s flighty, pampered and egotistic and I found him utterly boring. I did like Felix, Olivia’s stepfather though, he wasn’t as pompous as the rest.
This wasn’t a bad book, I actually did like it in a weird way, the location was amazing and Hughes is an excellent writer in terms of creating and capturing a fantastic atmosphere. I expected a little bit more romance and excitement and instead was thrust into the lives of some vapid, shallow characters who I couldn’t relate to at all. I would read another book by Hughes though, next time it’ll be on a beach while I’m drinking though so I can overlook the lack of substance and just take it for what it is.
Overall rating: 2.5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.