Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com
How would you like to move from Texas, where an ice storm is a major news story, to a remote island in the Great Lakes that has no cars, but does have store signs that say "Return after the first thaw"? And to find out that the junior class will have a mere six students when the winter break is over?
Ashleigh's parents are recently divorced, and to make a clean start, Ashleigh and her mother have moved to a small island to open a bed and breakfast named Chateau Ashleigh. Their first day in town, Nathalie and her mom come and introduce themselves. Ashleigh immediately has a new friend.
Through Nathalie, Ashleigh explores her new town and meets various kids her own age. Of particular interest is Chase, who works at the local fudge shop. Nathalie warns Ashleigh that Chase is a player, but Ashleigh isn't too worried about that. She's just looking to make some new friends and fit in.
One morning, Ashleigh wakes up to find a strange boy knocking on her bedroom door. In enters Josh, the son of the local handyman. Ashleigh's mom has hired them to help do some general repairs around their new house to get it ready for patrons. Ashleigh is immediately drawn to Josh, and a tentative friendship forms.
However, it turns out that Josh is actually Nathalie's boyfriend. Nathalie, however, never refers to him by name, only as "my boyfriend." Ashleigh finds this odd but respects the boundaries and doesn't pursue Josh. As the story develops, Ashleigh suspects that Chase has romantic interests in Nathalie, Nathalie might not really like Josh, just the idea of a boyfriend, and could Josh possibly be interested in her???
As the winter months on her new island home pass, Ashleigh finds that she likes the quaintness of her new life, and maybe the move might just have been the best thing for her.
I always enjoy Ms. Hawthorne's stories, and this was no exception. I'll admit that I would never want to live on such a cold island during the winter. But Ms. Hawthorne has a way with describing all the charm of the village and almost makes me want to go there, too! Watching the tentative romance develop between Ashleigh and Josh make the story very appealing to all.
A perfect vacation read. A light hearted romance set in the winter on lonely Mackinac Island.
I became intrigued by this when I read that it was set on Mackinac Island. I went there once on vacation as a child with my parents and my brothers. It's a beautiful locale and very remote. And the no-cars rule adds a historic feel to the island that's quite unusual.
Of course my most vivid memory of that particular vacation was on the mainland, with my dad driving from gas station to gas station looking for a reasonable gasoline price. He was refusing to pay the 50¢ a gallon that they were gouging tourists for when gas was only 27¢ a gallon back home. (I said it was along time ago!)
As I started reading this I was intrigued by the parallels and the differences between this and Twilight. The girl protagonist is new to a unique area. There's the small town feel, the forbidden boy aspect... The way that the setting plays a role in the story. But no supernatural here.
This is a sweet light hearted romance that entertains but doesn't go any deeper than a mild sunburn. It's as comfortable as old flannel. And it is sweeter than the fudge that island seems so fixated on. What minor difficulties arise may be easily resolved as with any good vacation read. This is a fast fun guilty pleasure read but be warned it may cause cavities.
THANK YOU FOR STAYING AT CHATEAU ASHLEIGH
DID YOU ENJOY YOUR STAY?
Well, apparently I live here now---my mom just bought the place. And named it after me, Ashleigh, which was nice. But did she know how COLD it is here??
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND US TO A FRIEND?
Um, it's a tiny island with not much to do, unless you really like sleigh rides. But I gotta say there are quite a few hot guys on this cold island...
(This is a book for teenagers.)