First Blush is the first book I've read by Rebeca Seitz and I loved everything about it! Contemporary romance, women's fiction, chick lit - no matter the classification, it's an engaging read. Some social drinking is present, but not in a way that stands out. From characterization to storyline, dialogue to setting, and laced with humor throughout, Rebeca is a strong writer. First Blush is actually a novella of approximately 100 pages that sets the stage for more stories to follow, and I'm very eager to continue on with these characters.
When it comes to setting, Rebeca made me "feel" Naples - its breathtaking water views, stately mansions, and with keen insight into how the elite of society think and behave. Money doesn't always bring happiness, as we all know, and I felt for the Mrs. Pelser described by Elizabeth: "Here she sat, day after day, in a beautiful home that she barely saw, married to a husband who barely saw her. It must be lonely. And tiring. And purposeless."
The main characters were very interesting, real, and easy to connect with. 30 years old and alone after her husband left with a younger woman, Elizabeth hasn't found her purpose or calling in life, struggles to pay the rent, and fails to live up to what a society daughter in the Bakersfield family should be. And then there's the personable and mysterious Nick - I really can't wait to learn more about him.
I've never heard of a place like Ganderley's and while I'd like to think it's a real place, I suspect it's a part of Rebeca's imagination. Ganderley's started when two sisters, Elva and Esther, lost their husbands and found themselves in possession of eight houses, two yachts, several vehicles, and tons of books and antiques. I loved these ladies who decided to share their wealth by letting people borrow whatever they needed, kind of like a fancy lending library. As a musician, I found Elizabeth's thoughts about Ganderley's music room moving: "I entered the music room and cast a glance toward the baby grand gleaming in the corner of the room. Instruments captivate me. All that potential, just waiting for a skilled and talented person to notice and take action. They look like orphans, waiting to be loved."
There's not a lot of obvious faith elements in this novella, but I suspect we'll see more as the series unfolds. I liked how Elva shared her spiritual wisdom with Elizabeth: "There's no need to rush about. . . . You'll find your path and then you'll know that everything leading up to it was necessary." Just another reminder of how, even though we might not understand at the moment, we can trust that God was working for our good all along.
Rebeca is currently working on the next story, Second Glance, and I can't wait! First Blush comes to a satisfactory conclusion, but with the promise of much more to come. Highly recommended. 5-star rating given in comparison to other novellas that I've read.
Thank you to BookFun for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.