EVENING STARS – Susan Mallery
A Blackberry Island Novel
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1613-8
March 2014
Contemporary Fiction

Blackberry Island, Washington – Present Day

Nina Wentworth gave up everything—a chance to go to medical school, her teenage love, and moving off Blackberry Island—just to make sure her mother didn't spiral out of control and her little sister, Averil, had a good life. Now she's thirty and a nurse, but is beginning to feel discontent. When will she ever do the things she wants to do? Her sister went off to college, met and married a wonderful man, and has a great career. Nina is living with her mother and her mother's partner, but everyone seems to live day to day, never knowing if they'll ever have money to make the next house repair. It is Nina who takes care of the house and makes sure repairs are done out of her pocket. It is Nina who fixes her mother's mistakes. When can someone take care of Nina?

But things start to happen. Averil returns to Blackberry Island, unsure about her future with her career or her husband. Nina's old boyfriend shows up and announces he wants to renew… their friendship . Finally, a guy whom she knew as a teenager who had a crush on her shows up as an adult and announces he's ready to claim Nina as his. Suddenly Nina's life is changing. Is it for the good or worse? What about her old boyfriend, Dylan? Will he ever want to look at her romantically again, and if so, how will she react?

Nina has led a staid life the past few years. She did become a nurse, but never quite gave up the dream to become a doctor. She has been acting like the mother in the family, the one who is responsible and makes sure everything is in order. Nina wants someone to take care of her, and to cherish her and let her live her dreams. But then her sister arrives, whining again about how her life isn't perfect and wanting to “find” herself. Once again, Nina has to put on her big sister hat and try not to judge, even if it's not hard to.

As for her love life, that picks up for Nina in EVENING STARS. Kyle is the boy who grew into an adult and is one hot stud who has his eyes set on Nina as his prize.  He's charming and relentless. The two eventually become lovers, yet hanging around the fringes is Dylan, someone who is there whenever Nina needs a shoulder to cry on. And she needs plenty of that when she crosses swords with both Averil and her mother. But little by little, Nina begins to spread her wings, until a wrench is tossed into her path. She has to take on responsibility again—or watch her mother lose it all.

Nina finds Kyle's devotion sweet and endearing—well heck, her girlie parts like the attention—yet she feels he is not her future. Is she waiting for Dylan? He is dependable and likeable, but he hasn't forced them into rekindling their romance beyond friendship. In EVENING STARS, Nina has to make a choice for her future. Does she make the right one? An endearingly sweet read, I recommend EVENING STARS as the perfect beach read.

Patti Fischer