A Home by the Sea by Christina Skye
(HQN, $7.99, PG-13)  ISBN  978-0-37377-608-5
She drew his eye through a window as Noah McKay stood on the sidewalk in a blizzard after being awake for too many hours to count.  Grace Lindstrom is the kind of woman who wears the right face even when she's torn up inside – which she is, after a long relationship that ended in betrayal and eventually death.  A record-breaking year for snowfall brings Grace and Noah together in A Home by the Sea by Christina Skye.

When Noah comes across Grace rescuing kittens in an alley just a few minutes after spotting her, he ends up taking her and the animals to his parents’ house, where the two spend several days avoiding the massive amounts of snow and, of course, falling in love.  Grace, though, is on her way to work on a book that winds up being a bigger deal than she thought and Noah, who is a bomb expert, has little to no time to himself.

Then Grace's beloved grandfather falls ill, and she swoops to his seaside home to help with his recovery.  There, Grace buys herself a home at last, intent upon its restoration, with Noah still on the other side of the country.  What follows is a text-message based long distance relationship, a lot of hard work, and a lot of pining.  It ain't terribly interesting, but it sure is sugary-sweet and incredibly hard to believe. 

Noah and Grace, though they're both people with unhappy pasts, are all but perfect and full of self-recriminations anyway.  Noah's parents themselves are so cliché as to cause one to gag.  And the dialogue, for the most part (I do not consider texting as dialogue), is the dialogue of people who have known one another for years – which is fine for all of the time it's just Grace and her friends.  It's the cause of much eye-rolling on my part when it's Grace and Noah who, realistically, have known one another for a few weeks.

Respectably if not terribly well written, A Home by the Sea is likely the perfect thing for a snowy day when you've nothing else to do and don't need any kind of excitement in your book.  Don't buy it and don't look to Christina Skye's latest for any particular insight or for your best reading of the year.

-Sarrah Knight

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