Emerald Coast A Novel
By Anita Hughes
Anita Hughes’ novels have become the ultimate breezy summer read with seductive locations and swoon-worthy love stories. Charming and romantic, her previous novels have been featured in Cosmopolitan, InStyle, Martha Stewart Weddings, PopSugar, and many more with the biggest names in women’s fiction. Her newest novel, EMERALD COAST (St. Martin’s Griffin; August 1, 2017) is set on the dreamy Italian coast and follows a newly divorced couple who can’t quite escape the feelings that remain, especially when circumstances force them together.
Lily Bristol arrives at a luxurious resort in Sardinia for the grand opening of her newest home furnishing store on the Emerald Coast. Thirty-two and newly divorced, she’s ready to handle things on her own. At least until her private butler, Enzo, escorts her to a beautiful suite where she notices a suspiciously familiar pair of men’s slippers and shaving kit. Lily is horrified. Her ex-husband Oliver moved out of their restored Connecticut farmhouse six months ago, but they booked this trip when they were trying to save their marriage and never cancelled the reservation. Oliver, a food critic for the New York Times, is here covering Sardinia’s hottest new restaurant. The only other available room is the adjoining suite; and worse, Oliver isn’t alone. He’s brought a twenty-something named Angela with him.
Lily is determined to make do and enlists Enzo to find her a suitable man. But it’s not as easy to find new love as they both expected. When Lily and Oliver find themselves alone on a very important night, they turn to each other. Sparks begin to fly, but can they be together without breaking each other’s hearts?
Set on the glamorous Italian island, EMERALD COAST is a touching and humorous story about marriage and the difficulty of finding love and happiness at the same time. With the summer season winding down, Hughes’ latest will have you soaking in the last rays of summer sun and dreaming of endlessly warm days.
Lily pressed her face against the glass and saw the white sand beach and azure Mediterranean, and La Maddalena Archi- pelago in the distance. The Porto Cervo marina was lined with gleaming yachts, and above her, Sardinia’s green hills were dotted with myrtle bushes and juniper trees.
The taxi pulled up in front of Hotel Cervo, and Lily poked her head out the win dow. It was like an impossibly glamorous movie set, with men wearing dark sunglasses and pastel colored shirts and women draped in caftans and gold jewelry. She half expected James Bond to appear and ask her to climb into his sports car or take a ride on his Jet Ski.
The driver pointed to the fare box, and Lily opened her purse. She rummaged through her lipsticks and had a sinking feeling. She couldn’t have misplaced her credit cards. They must be buried under the paperback book she bought for the plane or the extra pair of stockings rolled up in the side compartment.
The driver tapped impatiently on the dashboard, and Lily’s stomach turned. Perhaps she’d left the credit cards on the metal counter when she went through customs. The customs officer had
been so intimidating, tossing her underwear in the air. Lily had been tempted to leave her ivory slip behind and rush to the exit.
She picked up the phone to call Oliver and then put it down. Oliver had moved out of their restored Connecticut farm house six months ago. She could hardly ask his advice as if she were won- dering if he could refill the espresso maker or see if they were out of choco late croissants.
Anyway, she was a successful thirty- two- year- old business- woman with home furnishing stores on three continents. She didn’t need her ex- husband to help her pay the taxi driver. She fiddled with her leather pump, the way she did when she was ner- vous. The sole was lumpy, and she peeled it back curiously. She felt a sharp edge, and a smile crossed her face. A Visa card was taped inside!
She hadn’t worn the pumps in months; Oliver must have taped it inside her shoe. She was notoriously absentminded when she traveled. Oliver insisted the only way to guarantee she didn’t get stranded at Heathrow Airport or the train station in Paris was to hide a credit card where she couldn’t forget it.
Now she peered at the hotel’s stucco walls and Moorish patio and wondered if she should be in Sardinia at all. She had only signed the divorce papers a week ago. All the magazines said she should be tucked under a down comforter with a stack of novels and a box of tissues.
And how could she leave Louisa? Louisa was six years old; surely she needed her mother. But Louisa was used to Lily being away. Lily often went on buying trips to discover a set of Chinese end tables or one perfect French armoire.
Lily’s parents were staying on the farm for a week, and Louisa adored being with her grandparents. Lily pictured them pickingapples and baking sugar cookies and had to smile. Louisa was in heaven and wouldn’t miss her at all.
And she had been looking forward to this trip for months! In six days, her newest store, Lily Bristol Sardinia, was having its grand opening, and she had to be there. A silver cocktail dress was carefully folded in her suitcase, and she’d bought a new sequined eve ning bag.
The valet opened the car door, and Lily stepped onto the pave- ment. The breeze lifted her skirt, and a man whistled. Lily opened her mouth and then closed it. Why shouldn’t a man whistle? She had to start thinking differently; she was a young divorcée on one of the sexiest coastlines in the world. She shot him a brilliant smile and strode into the lobby.
“Oh, it is gorgeous,” Lily breathed, setting her purse on the ground.
The white marble floors were scattered with blue love seats. Floor- to- ceiling win dows looked out on the harbor, and it was as if she had entered an underwater cave. The wood shutters were blue, and the tiles behind the concierge desk were blue, and the abstract paintings on the walls were splashed with turquoise and gold. And the people! Women with metallic sandals and dan- gling earrings, and arms and legs the color of pennies. The men had cheekbones you only saw in magazines, and skin like honey.
“Hello, I’m Lily Bristol.” Lily approached the front desk. “I have a reservation.”
“Of course, Mrs. Bristol,” a man in a gold uniform greeted her. “Welcome to Sardinia’s Emerald Coast. I trust you had a pleasant trip?”
Lily flashed on her credit cards that were prob ably sitting in bin at Olbia Airport and reminded herself to cancel them and order new ones.
“Yes, thank you. It was an eleven- hour flight, and I’m terribly thirsty.” She nodded. “I would do anything for a bath and a glass of orange juice.”
“Enzo, your butler, will escort you to your suite. He just started his shift, he’ll be here in a minute.” He consulted his computer. “You have the finest accommodation, with a private terrace and a view of the marina.”
“I don’t need a butler.” Lily shook her head. “I have a daughter and I’m used to putting things away. All I want is a soft bed and perhaps a piece of fruit.”
“Enzo will only do what you ask.” The man rang a silver bell and smiled. “You are our guest. We want every thing about your stay to be perfect.”
Enzo opened the door of the suite and Lily walked straight to the terrace. The lush grounds were filled with lime trees and beds of daisies. Fishing boats bobbed in the harbor, and speedboats scud- ded over the waves. And the air! It was balmy and sweet and smelled like the most exotic perfume.
She turned back inside and glanced at the rounded walls and sea foam sofa and win dow seat scattered with silk cushions. There was a coffee table set with a ceramic fruit bowl and a pitcher of iced water.
“My daughter would love this suite. She would line all her dolls on that sofa and serve them lemonade and cookies,” she said to Enzo. “Do you have children?”
Lily Bristol has just recently signed her divorce papers from her husband of ten years, Oliver when she decides to head to a luxurious resort in Sardinia to see about her business there. However, when Lily arrives she finds a man’s things in her suite and discovers that Oliver has also decided to use the trip that they had booked prior to divorcing.
Luckily for Lily there is an opening at the resort for her to change rooms seeing how Oliver is traveling with his new girlfriend. However unlucky for Lily the new suite is right next door to her ex-husband causing them to cross paths more than once on the trip. Lily becomes determined to continue her trip and even have a good time enlisting the help of her butler Enzo.
Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes is a bit of a different type of romance read as Lily and Oliver are freshly divorced but the book takes the reader on a journey looking back at their relationship and the ten years they had together. Alternating the past between Lily and Oliver and where they are at now in their lives intertwines the story showing just how love can go astray and gives a deeper meaning to the current events in their lives.
I actually enjoyed the characters in the book and had my suspicions on how things would turn out in the end all the while I was reading. The one character complaint that I would make would be I found it a bit odd that Lily was so forgetful in her day to day life but manages a successful business that spans the globe, a bit contradictory there. But making this book also shine was the lovely setting it takes place in, the author does a great job giving the feel of Sardinia bringing the area and customs to life. With the twist of focusing on a divorced couple and the lovely setting I found this one quite unique and an interesting read.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
My rating 4/5 stars
EMERALD COAST: A Novel By Anita Hughes Published by St. Martin’s Griffin **On Sale August 1, 2017** Trade Paperback | $ 15.99 ISBN: 9781250130877| Ebook ISBN: 9781250130884
About the author:
About the Author ANITA HUGHES is the author of Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, Christmas in Paris, and White Sand, Blue Sea. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and lives in Dana Point, California, where she is at work on her next novel. For more information about Anita and her books, visit anitahughesbooks.com
Additional Praise for Anita Hughes:
“A fabulous escape.” — Booklist on White Sand, Blue Sea
“How OOC could a family drama that’s set in sandy St. Barts get? Very.” — Cosmopolitan on White Sand, Blue Sea
“Anita Hughes has a knack for taking us on a journey to a far-off place and making us feel like we’re on vacation…Get swept away in this story of love and adventure, and don’t forget the SPF!” —PopSugar on White Sand, Blue Sea
“A charming modern-day fairy-tale romance.” —Kirkus Reviews on Christmas in Paris
“Stunning location: check. Beautiful people: check. Romance: of course! Rome in Love…delivers on all three fronts. ” —Huffington Post Books on Rome in Love
“Reading an Anita Hughes novel makes you feel on vacation.” —PopSugar on Island in the Sea
“Hughes has a way of transporting us to the most exotic places with her writing.” —BellaNYC on Santorini Sunsets
“Hughes’ novel will make you feel all warm on the inside, and you may even think the ocean is lapping at your toes with this exotic travel romance. The descriptions throughout will almost have readers feeling like they’ve taken the trip to Spain themselves, and the romance is fierce. ” —RT Book Reviews on Island in the Sea
“Hughes bring her signature combination of haute couture and high-society romance to Paris, adding a touch of magic and allowing us to live vicariously through Isabel as she falls in love in the most glamorous city in the world—and buys labels most women can only dream about. A charming modern-day fairy-tale romance.” —Kirkus Reviews on Christmas in Paris
“Christmas. Paris. Star-crossed lovers. Yup, it’s the perfect holiday read!” —Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dashing Through the Snow on Christmas in Paris
“Gorgeously festive and evocative, this is a compelling story filled with characters you truly care about. I adored it.” — Melissa Hill, USA Today bestselling author of The Charm Bracelet on Christmas in Paris
“I was instantly transported back to France, once again strolling the Champs-Élysées, taking in the scents, the sights, the taste of Paris. It doesn’t get any better than falling in love in La Ville-Lumiére, the City of Light, during the most magical time of year. Delicious, delectable, and delightful!” —Donna Kauffman, USA Today bestselling author of Starfish Moon on Christmas in Paris
“Anita Hughes does it again in her latest novel: a love affair with Paris during the most magical time of year, starring a likable, slightly naive heroine everyone is rooting for.” —Booklist on Christmas in Paris
“Delicious!” —Nicola Kraus, New York Times bestselling co-author of The First Affair on Santorini Sunsets
“Hughes takes her readers on a romantic roller-coaster ride of passionate encounters and mixed emotions, all leading up to a brilliant finale of self-discovery and assessing just how far to go for true love.” —Booklist on Santorini Sunsets