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Book Review: Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (#1 in The Port Willow Bay series) – Kiley Dunbar

Guys, it has finally happened!

I have found my FIRST 5 star read of the year!!! I can’t believe it finally happened, I was so scared this year would also suck book-wise, but then Kiley Dunbar came along! I have read a lot of books this year, some of which were ok, some of which were a bit meh, and some of which I have LOVED. And yet, none of them have pulled me in enough to rate them 5 stars (at least not that I can remember!).

When I found the author of this book, the lovely Kiley Dunbar, on Twitter, and saw the cover, I instantly knew I would love it. And I was right (well done, gut feeling!!). It looks so pretty, and it promised a feel-good romance. Well, after reading it I can tell you that it does deliver, but not only that. It’s so, so much more than that. So, I’m more than happy to share this gem with you! Here comes the synopsis – but first, a content warning, which contains a SPOILER! If you do not want to read this you can skip ahead to the synopsis.


This book contains mention of a miscarriage. It’s not explicit and lies in the past, but the emotions are very happy, and they made my heart ache. While I’m spoilering – and I guess you might already know – the book has a HEA, and the heroine comes to terms with it. But I wanted to mention it, just to make sure you know in case it is a sensitive topic for you xxx


The Synopsis (taken from Goodreads)

Escape to the Highland Coral Beach – where broken hearts can be healed

Beatrice Halliday needs a break from life. Booking a trip to the Highlands on a whim, Beatrice hopes learning Gaelic in a beautiful Scottish village might help her heal her grief after losing her baby, her husband and her much loved job in a space of months.

But Port Willow Bay isn’t exactly as the website promised. Instead of learning a new language, she’s booked in to learn the ancient skill of willow weaving, her hotel room is Princess and the Pea themed (with a stack of mattresses for her bed!) and worse still, her tutor is Atholl Fergusson, grumpy landlord of the hotel where Beatrice is staying – and she’s the only one doing the course.

But as Beatrice finds herself falling in love with Port Willow Bay and its people, and as she discovers the kind heart beneath Atholl’s stony exterior, can she really leave?

Escape to the beautiful Scottish Highlands with this utterly romantic, feelgood book; one visit to Port Willow Bay and you’ll want to come back!

Fans of Sarah Morgan, Carole Matthews and Holly Martin will be captivated.

My Review

In the beginning of the story we meet our heroine and main character Beatrice, or Bea for short. She is unhappy – with her surroundings, with the owner of the inn she’s staying at, with the inn itself – overall, with her whole life. She is grumpy, and angry, and she is sad. And actually, she booked this trip to Scotland on a whim. It was a bad idea. She should return home, and get her life back on track, right? Well, as much as Bea wants that, there is no chance for her to leave Port Willow Bay today, as there are no other trains back out. So she decides to bow to her fate and stay the night.

I love how Bea is introduced and little by little, tiny, precious bits about her life are revealed. She has been through a lot, and she tries to cope with the turns her life has taken somehow. I love how at first, Beatrice thinks that her journey to Scotland was the wrong decision, but it might turn out that it was the best thing that went wrong in her life lately.


Not only is family super important to Beatrice – she loves her sister and her wife, their daughter, and she loved her mum dearly; family is also a very big thing for the Princess and the Pea’s (that’s what the inn is called – lovely, magical name, isn’t it?!) owners. Especially for Atholl, whom we’ll get to know better…


I love that friendship is a strong theme in this book too. At first, Bea wants to be left alone, to grieve, to be sad, to live on her own. But soon she realises how much she has missed having real (and real close) friends in her life. The friends she makes during her stay in Scotland are definitely bound to stay in her life forever, and I love that. Good friends are like diamonds – so very precious. And I love books that show that.


Life is never just sunshine and rainbows and fun times – it has ups and downs and everything in between, and sometimes it hits us with full force that can take our breath away. Bea experienced that not long ago, and she’s still trying to cope with the aftermaths. Maybe this is what makes Summer at Highland Coral Bay so special: it is real, raw, and full of emotions. Did it make me cry? Yes, yes it did. And I loved every tear I cried. The best thing though is that things start looking up soon. And they make up for every tear!

The book promises “one visit to Port Willow Bay and you’ll want to come back!” I can tell you that this is true, word for word! 5 big, fat, shiny stars from me!!! I recommend it to everyone who loves to read about the beautiful Scottish scenery, about frienship, love and finding yourself after a hard time. Definitely give this a read and let me know what you think!

Thank you all so much for reading!


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