FeaturedWomen's Fiction

Pleasant Bay


Loved it! 😍

This summer read isn't like any other summer read I've read before. An amazing book I couldn't put down.

With its pink sands and sunset and bright blue ocean on the cover, Pleasant Bay comes across as your typical summer read, but it’s so much more than that. Sarah Harris is going to Cape Cod to try and forget about her father’s ALS or her brother’s deployment in Afghanistan, as well as make money to cover the cost of her senior year of college. Enter Luke, a good-looking baseball player with an Australian accent, who actually takes her mind off of all her troubles and what started out as a distraction ended up being real love. Fast forward seventeen years later where Madelyn is Sarah’s teenage daughter who desperately wants to know who her father is and wants her mother to stop being so overprotective. Can Pleasant Bay help them find happiness or are they doomed to suffer?

This story really surprised me, but in a good way. When I began reading Pleasant Bay, it gave off vibes of Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever and I thought it would be a carbon copy of that. But I was glad to be proven wrong. As I read through Sarah and Madelyn’s lives, I saw both women grow and come into their own, whilst learning from their mistakes, and for Maddy, learning from her own and her mother’s mistakes. Truly an inspirational and insightful story. 

Although, I disliked Maddy and Sarah’s characters when the story was read from Maddy’s perspective. Maddy was a bratty teenager who disrespected her mother and didn’t try to understand her at all, while Sarah seemed stubborn and unwilling to bend to reach an understanding with Maddy as well. However, as I read through the novel, Maddy grows exponentially, learning that things aren’t what she thought and that what she seeks is true happiness and love, which is also what her mother wishes for her to have. 

Also, I truly loved the parts where Sarah and Luke interact with one another. Luke isn’t just some good-looking guy looking for a good time, he truly cares for Sarah and she learns to let herself be happy with him. Sarah and Luke show what real love looks like and how hard it can be to maintain but how easy it is to choose to make it work. 

There are many stories about healing from past traumas as well as generational trauma (Disney’s Encanto comes to mind) and how hard it is to overcome the pain one has endured, but I think Pleasant Bay does a great job of exploring that trauma through the eyes of a mother and daughter. Sarah and Maddy find a happy ending that isn’t neatly tied in a bow but leaves the reader with a realistic sense that things have and will work out for the best. An amazingly 4.5 out of 5 stars novel.

Reviewed by

A writer and a reader of all books but my favorite genres are young adult and contemporary romance. Just trying to read as many stories as I can.

Chapter One, Summer 2002

About the author

Emily Wakeman Cyr is a lifelong New Englander. She taught reading and writing in public schools before becoming a stay-at-home mom/stay-at-home writer. She and her husband and three children divide their time between their home in Connecticut and their home away from home on Cape Cod. view profile

Published on July 31, 2023

Published by

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Women's Fiction

Reviewed by