16045031Reviewed by A.D. Cole

Nicole, a famous food and entertainment blogger, has just signed with a publisher to produce a cookbook centered around the local food culture of her childhood home, the island of Quinniepeague, Maine. Overwhelmed with the daunting task, she contacts Charlotte, who has made a name for herself as a travel writer. The two of them reunite, after ten years, for a summer that will change their lives.

Nicole has a four-year-old secret that could end her husband’s career. Charlotte has a ten-year-old secret that could save his life. When the secrets come out, the friendship is nearly destroyed. But along the way, the two women grow and mature both as individuals and as friends. Nicole begins to take control of her situation with her husband. And Charlotte finds true love in an unexpected place.

Sweet Salt Air is women’s fiction at its best. The friendship between the two women is the central storyline. I found this story to be a great reminder that coming-of-age isn’t only a phenomenon of the young. Nicole is thirty-four when life forces her to either evolve or break. Both women change and grow throughout the novel.

There is a strong foodie element to the book. If this doesn’t make you want to visit your local farmer’s market and then get in the kitchen and cook, then nothing will. My mouth was watering throughout and now Maine is at the top of my list for future travel destinations.

In terms of romance and mystery, there is plenty of both to be had. Charlotte’s love interest is a loner recluse who has lived on the island all his life. His mother was legendary for her herbs and her herbal healing. She was also legendary for the mysterious things that happened to people who crossed her. Nicole warns Charlotte to stay away from Leo Cole lest his mother’s legend somehow harm their cookbook project. But Charlotte can’t resist the herbs. And then later, she can’t resist Leo.

Honestly, I’m all about the romance, but it wasn’t the main element in this book. I would recommend it for romance lovers, but also for anyone looking for good women’s fiction. It’s a slow, sultry read, and very sensual. I found that I could put the book down when I needed to, but I also couldn’t wait to pick it back up again.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

A.D. Cole is a homeschooling mother and aspiring romance novelist. She lives in the Ozark foothills and spends her free time reading, writing, baking and pondering life’s little mysteries.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.