Nate Bryson is a laid-back surfer and known ladies' man who moved to Conwenna Cove following the sudden death of his father to whom he'd been very close. Ever since, he's been working in his aunt and uncle's cafe while trying to find himself. He and his dad had planned to take a trip around the world, but with both of them being quite busy, it never happened. Although his dad was always a good husband and father, Nate believes he had some regrets about not traveling more and Nate doesn't want to end up with the same misgivings. He's planning to leave Conwenna soon to take his dream trip, but before he leaves, he wants to organize a fundraiser for the local Greyhound rescue where he enjoys volunteering. To make Surf for Sighthounds a success, he'll need the input of local businesses, which takes him into a nearby diner asking for donations from the owner, Zoe, who Nate has always thought was rather standoffish. But as they work together to plan the event, Nate discovers a woman who is much more than he expected and who could finally be "the one." However, if he goes on his trip as planned, he might lose Zoe, but if he stays for her, he may regret not following his dream.
Zoe Russell came to Conwenna Cove nursing a broken heart. She tried to change who she was to please her ex, only to have him betray her in the worst possible way. And now she only has scars to show for it both inside and out. Zoe lost her parents some time ago, but even while they were alive, she always felt like she was a disappointment to them. Now she's using the inheritance they left her to start over, and she loves running her own little diner in the touristy town. She's been aware of Nate for some time, and although she finds him attractive, she's generally avoided him because she thinks he's too much like her ex. However, when he comes asking for donations for his event, she discovers a guy who has far more depth than she would have imagined. She knows, though, that Nate is planning to leave soon, and keeps telling herself that she shouldn't get involved, but keeping her heart from getting tangled up in the equation proves more difficult than she thought. Will they be able to find a compromise or will Nate end up breaking her heart just like her ex?
Forever at Conwenna Cove is the third and final installment in Darcie Boleyn's Conwenna Cove series. It's an opposites-attract romance that takes us back to the summertime in the little Cornish village of Conwenna Cove. Nate is a laid-back surfer dude who was seen in the first two books of the series, but if memory serves, we're meeting Zoe for the first time. Both work at their respective diners and have lived in Conwenna for a while, but have never really gotten to know each other because of preconceived notions. Nate has saved up some money and plans to leave soon to take a leisurely trip around the world to wherever his fancy leads. But before he goes, he wants to organize one more fundraiser for the Greyhound rescue where he volunteers. To make Surf for Sighthounds a success, he'll need help from the other local businesses, so his request for donations takes him into Zoe's diner. The woman he meets and truly starts getting to know for the first time isn't what he expected and the same goes for her as well. As they work together on Nate's project, an attraction forms between them. But Zoe was badly hurt in a past relationship and she knows that Nate is planning to leave soon. She just isn't sure if she should take a chance on getting her heart broken again by someone who is so much like her ex.
As I mentioned, Nate started out as a supporting character in the first two books. He's a friendly, charming, easy-going guy who works at his aunt and uncle's cafe. Nate had been very close to his dad whom he lost several years earlier to a sudden heart-attack. Although his dad had been a great husband and father, Nate sensed that he might have had some regrets about settling down too soon and not traveling and seeing more of the world. The two men had been planning just such a trip, but their busy schedules always seemed to get in the way until it was too late. Now, even though his dad won't be able to share in it, he wants to go travel the world and plans to leave soon to do just that. But first, Nate wants to organize one more Surf for Sighthounds event to raise money for the beloved Greyhound rescue that is a fixture of the town and where he loves to volunteer. Although he'd briefly met Zoe, who owns a diner down the street, he's never really gotten to know her like many of the other townspeople. He just always felt like she was too quiet and aloof, but when he goes into her diner to ask for donations for the event, he finds a different woman to the one he'd thought she was. At their first genuine meeting, he's instantly smitten, even though she's nothing like the women he usually dates. He keeps telling himself that since he's leaving soon, he shouldn't get involved, but his heart keeps leading him back to her until he thinks he might have finally found the one woman who could make him settle down. But convincing her that he genuinely wants a future together proves more difficult than he thought it would be. I adored Nate in the earlier books and he's basically still the same sweet guy in his own story. He's always kind of played the field and never really thought of settling down until he properly meets Zoe. Despite his past playboy ways, he's very much a beta hero who's always patient, never pushy. If I had any critique of his characterization it would be that maybe he could have fought a little harder for Zoe when she put up her walls, but overall he's just a really super-nice guy.
Zoe lost her parents a while ago, but she wasn't close to them, always feeling like something of a disappointment to them for not following the path they would have preferred for her. She married young to a surfer who charmed her with his charisma but later cheated on her. She'd forced herself to become someone she wasn't by trying to like the things that he liked, which only ended in her having a catastrophic surfing accident that scarred her inside and out. Although she likes living by the sea, she can no longer go into the ocean without having a panic attack and still sometimes has nightmares about the accident. After coming into her inheritance, she moved to Conwenna and bought a small diner which she loves running. Zoe has seen Nate around town and finds him attractive, but believing him to probably be just like her ex, she's never cared to get much closer. Then Nate comes, asking for donations for his fundraiser event. Having adopted a senior Greyhound from the rescue and lost her about six months ago, Zoe is more than happy to help, and as she gets to know Nate, she finds a man who is much kinder and who has more depth than her ex. Although she thought she'd never allow herself to get involved with a man again, she quickly finds her heart becoming tangled up in their blooming relationship. But Zoe knows that Nate is planning to leave soon and keeps telling herself that she has to cut ties with him because it will hurt too much if he goes away and doesn't come back. Zoe is a woman who was hurt in the past, but like others who've come to Conwenna, she finds healing in the little village. I could relate to her being a quieter, more private person, but I did feel like her holding back the entirety of her past from Nate for most of the story, kind of left a little distance between them. Then when she did come clean, it was mostly done off-canvas, which was rather disappointing. I know that she'd already told others about certain aspects of her previous life, but I thought it was a missed opportunity to deepen her relationship with Nate.
Forever at Conwenna Cove is a low-angst romance that has the heartwarming feel of wrapping up in a blanket on a cold, rainy day. There's something to be said for comfort reads like this, but readers who like a little angst in their romance should know that although Nate and Zoe have some issues to work through, their story never reaches the euphoric highs or devastating lows of many romance novels. It's just a sweet, feel-good story that has no on-page love scenes, just a little mild sexual tension. Darcie Boleyn has a languid writing style that fits in well with the slow-paced, small-town atmosphere of Conwenna Cove, and she's rendered the town in such a way that it's become a character unto itself. I'd love to visit this little seaside village and its Greyhound rescue if they actually existed. I also like Nate and Zoe and thought they made a good match. By the end, I could easily see them growing older, sitting on the porch of their cottage with Greyhounds at their feet, while their children play in the yard. I also enjoyed getting to catch up with Jack and Eve (Summer at Conwenna Cove) and Oli and Grace (Christmas at Conwenna Cove). They and the other villagers added a little flavor to the story. Overall, Forever at Conwenna Cove was a pleasant feel-good read that left me with a smile on my face. I'm guessing this is probably the end of the Conwenna Cove series, but if Ms. Boleyn decides to write any more books starring the village and its residents, I'd happily read them, and I look forward to checking out some of her other work, too.
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