This was an enjoyable story, but it did require a lot of suspending your disbelief. I enjoyed the 1943 WWII setting in Tahiti, and was mildly intrigued by the suspense built around a murder and other odd events. But this kind of romance is not for me, and despite the possibility of a long awaited HEA I am not sure I’d even classify this book as a romance. It’s much more of a women’s fiction with a love story.
Anne Calloway is 90 years old when we first meet her. She has spent her life dreaming of a lost love and the mysteries that surrounded it, which occurred in 1943. Anne and her friend Kitty traveled to Tahiti as nurses to help with the war, a sudden decision which also leaves Anne’s fiancé Gerard home without his bride to be.
While on the island Anne meets Westry, and his unique charm steels her heart. They discover a secret beach bungalow believed to be cursed by the natives, and they spend their free time there enjoying each other’s company and ultimately falling in love. But their one year tour of duty comes quickly, and the events that occur changes much. A murder, betrayal, jealousy among best friends and desperate times interweave with the story.
While I prefer reading straight romance novels, I do enjoy the twist of two lovers torn apart only to reunite much later. However I am not fond of dishonesty and cheating in any relationship, and despite the warm and tender feelings we see between Anne and Westry, she is still wearing Gerard’s engagement ring. Because of this, and also several wrong decisions and misconceptions on Anne’s part, I found myself not liking her as a heroine. She made a lot of choices for other people, assumed she knew answers without ever questioning, and ultimately made a selfish match with a person who deserved better.
The fact that Anne was 90 years, and thus Wesley was 94 or 95, old also rubbed me as too implausible. I guess it’s possible that at their age they could be so agile and healthy, but I didn’t buy it. I also felt the character development was lacking, and the I just couldn’t relate with the secondary stories. Some of them felt like they went nowhere. This was an enjoyable read, but it does requiring a lot of suspending your disbelief. It is a great book if you just want to escape to the 1940’s and enjoy a bit of mystery and romance, but don’t take it too seriously.