From the Front Desk

Book Two in the Gentle Surf Series

Romance - Contemporary
198 Pages
Reviewed on 01/23/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

From the Front Desk: The Gentle Surf Series, Book Two is a contemporary romance novel written by Lori Power. Wendee loved her early morning runs in her new hometown of Coronado Island. It was a big difference from the midwestern state where she had grown up and where her life was still in danger. Wendee’s cousin, Eva, had been an angel in welcoming her into the Cape Cod beach house that she had inherited. Eva had even arranged for Wendee to get a front desk job at the historic Hotel del Coronado. Wendee thought ruefully of Nan, who was still back in the midwest, living in the nursing home that was caring for her. Nan had early onset dementia now, but she had raised Wendee on her own and was Wendee’s strength all her young life. Wendee had a system for sending her Nan letters now, but she could never risk letting her know where she was currently living. Roger and his organized crime mob were looking for her; a threat she feared she would never fully escape.

Toby regretted having tried to warn the young woman that the SEALs were about to swarm all over the beach that she was blissfully running along. He had only survived undetected this long by remaining apart and alone from any human interaction. But there was something about the elfin sprightliness of that runner which touched him in a way he hadn’t allowed before. When he realized that she was working the front desk, he regretted the chance meeting even more, but still he found himself unable to resist making advances to her. Toby still mourned his sister’s death and felt responsible for all the grief his family had experienced over the years.

Lori Power’s contemporary romance novel, From the Front Desk, is the second book in The Gentle Surf Series. It’s designed to read just fine as a standalone novel, but don’t let that dissuade you from beginning with the first book in this impressive series, Sea Breeze, which is a stunningly good historical novel set in the same locale as this book and starring Eva’s grandparents. After reading that book, I expected great things from this novel, and I was not at all disappointed; if anything, Power exceeded my expectations. Her two characters are so well-defined, their tragic backgrounds flavoring how each interacts with their worlds and with each other. Can they trust each other and themselves enough to find love? From the Front Desk is beautifully written, has a stunning locale and features a compelling and sweet romance. It’s most highly recommended.

Patricia Day

In From the Front Desk, Book Two in the Gentle Surf Series by Lori Power, life had thrown many unpleasant events into the lives of Wendee and Toby, the two main characters in this delightful story. In escaping to the island of Coronado, their individual expectations were to be at peace and free from the worldly issues they had experienced on the mainland. They sought freedom and fulfilment with no desire for a relationship. Toby, quiet and unassuming, is dedicated to the well being of his spa clients. In his free moments he runs. Running gives him a cathartic release from any tensions that might be plaguing him.

Wendee is a lively, outspoken free spirit, but she too is hiding from a problematic past. Her role at the front desk of Hotel Del Coronado gives her access to the clients – good and bad – that are continually registering or leaving. She too enjoys running. Her pent-up emotions are stilled while she exerts herself along the beautiful beaches of Coronado. Enter boy-girl possibilities. Will they or won’t they be attracted to each other? Do they even care to become entangled in a romantic relationship?

The gentle development of this story makes it a pleasure to read. Development is a trifle slow at times, but nevertheless it is a beautiful story. These two cautious people have much to protect, yet they are drawn to one another in unexpected ways. I found the book engaging from start to finish. There are sexual episodes, but they are so beautifully written into the story that they are not at all offensive. From the Front Desk is an absolute pleasure to read. Recommended without reservation, a lovely story.

Deborah Lloyd

Wendee Miller works at the front desk of the beautiful, historical Hotel del Coronado. She had been living with her cousin, Evangeline Vincent, for several months in a lovely seaside cottage on the small California island. Her thoughts were never far away from her grandmother, Maribel Cavanaugh-Wakefield, whom she called Nan. Having early onset dementia, Nan was left behind in a facility in Minnesota. One morning, Wendee met a very handsome and intriguing man, Toby. Although there was an instant attraction, both had pasts that prevented them from forming new relationships. Both were surprised when they met again at the hotel. Tobias MacPherson worked in the hotel’s spa. Author Lori Power has cleverly set the stage for a delightful, budding romance in the novel, From the Front Desk: The Gentle Surf Series - Book Two.

The author keeps the reader in suspense as to what the past problems have been in each of the main characters’ lives. But, these problems bring in levels of skepticism and reluctance to engage in a possible relationship, from both Wendee and Toby. Through the author's descriptive prose, there is a sense of tension, lined with doubts and uncertainty. Each new character, such as Calvin, Wendee’s colleague at the front desk, or Evangeline, adds a new perspective to the story. Power writes in a flowing, easy-to-read manner. From the Front Desk: The Gentle Surf Series - Book Two by Lori Power is an engaging and interesting book, perfect for the beach, or a quiet day at home.

Kayti Nika Raet

From the Front Desk by Lori Power is the second book in the Gentle Surf series of contemporary romance novels. It is the perfect novel for readers who are looking for a sweet generational romance saga. Wendee and Toby are two wounded people who both came to the island of Coronado, searching for peace and healing within themselves after a rocky past. A serendipitous encounter on the beach has them soon finding that in each other.

First and foremost a romance, From the Front Desk by Lori Power also has elements of mystery and a potential ghost story, but at its core From the Front Desk is about people learning to embrace the future and the unknown once more. Powers creates a sweet romance with a slow build up leading to flirty moments and passionate encounters. I found myself really enjoying as well how Powers set up the island almost as if it were a third character we would love to visit again.

From the Front Desk is perfect for those looking to move away from dark, angst ridden romance and are looking for something lighter that warms the heart. It is especially good for readers hoping to close the book with the happily ever after they crave. This is a simple romance which will leave you rooting for this heartwarming pair and attracted to the genuine charm of the island and its inhabitants. A quick read, From the Front Desk by Lori Powers is a story of attraction, trust, and passion.

K.C. Finn

From the Front Desk is a contemporary romance penned by author Lori Power, and forms the second book of the Gentle Surf Series. Following in the footsteps of Elleah and Reginald, who fell in love at the idyllic island resort of the Hotel Del Coronado, more relatives of the loved-up couple have come to the island looking for their own love story. Whilst some are hesitant and skeptical about love in general, when main characters Wendee and Toby lock eyes, there’s no denying that something powerful has struck them. What follows is a tale of teasing out love and flirting with the idea, all the while resisting the inevitable pull of the romance that will ultimately consume them.

Author Lori Power knows how to make a steamy read without creating tons of explicit scenes right from the start. What she delivers is far more romance than sex, focusing hard on her central pairing to show off not just their physical desires, but the mental foreplay that draws them to one another and drives them mad with passion, despite their more sensible revelations about the world of love. Toby’s apparent innocence and inexperience play out well as the reader discovers more about him, and Wendee’s confident impression undergoes a similar revelation when we really get into her head. Overall, From the Front Desk is a tale where love conquers all, suitable and satisfying for HEA romance fans, but it’s also a tale where watching the battle unfold is just as much fun.

Caitlin Lyle Farley

Wendee fled from the Midwest to start over on Coronado Island in California. With several military bases on the island, including a SEAL training facility, Wendee believes she is safe from her former boss, Roger. Toby arrived on Coronado by accident when he swam ashore in the middle of a storm with the intention of reaching Mexico. He breaks his self-imposed rule of not engaging with others when he stops during his morning run to warn Wendee that she’s about to get caught up in SEAL training manoeuvres. Neither Wendee nor Toby are looking for a relationship but their chance encounter seems destined to evolve into something more when it turns out that they both work at the same hotel. Wendee can’t help but play the minx when it elicits such awkward reactions from the handsome man and Toby doesn’t want to keep to himself anymore.

Lori Power delivers a fast-paced and engaging romance read in From the Front Desk, book two in the Gentle Surf series. Wendee and Toby are realistic and relatable characters with convincing chemistry and their attraction for each other sizzles through flirting banter and a steamy, stolen kiss in the early stages. Intriguing backstory slowly becomes known through tantalizing hints in the narrative but, while both Wendee and Toby have dark, dangerous secrets, Power veers away from many of the clichés typical of this plot set-up. Wendee is definitely not a damsel in distress, nor is Toby a brooding loner. A fast-moving plot keeps tension high from the first page to the satisfying conclusion in a romance that is as emotional as it is physical and will have readers swooning.

Amanda Rofe

From the Front Desk by Lori Power is the second book in the Gentle Surf Series. It is a contemporary romance focused on a young couple called Wendee and Toby. They have no prior connection to each other but are both hiding out on the Californian coastal island of Coronado. Wendee has been given refuge by her cousin and has begun working at a new job dealing with guests on the front desk of a hotel. Running is her passion and she goes out regularly along the beach where she happens upon Toby, a rather handsome stranger. It turns out that Toby works in the same hotel as Wendee. These two rather mysterious and innocent characters become inexplicably drawn to each other. Both are hiding out in plain sight and both worry that people from their rather muddy pasts will eventually catch up with them.

From the Front Desk was a delightful novel with just the right balance of intrigue and romance. I didn't read the first book in the series but it was easy to get into the story. Lori Power creates engaging characters with fascinating lives. I would never have anticipated how each of the two characters' stories were going to develop and this inevitably contributed to my enjoyment of the book. The ending was well rounded and satisfying but there was a great deal of scope left to develop the story further. If you are anything like me, you will want to buy book three in the series to find out what happens next to the intrepid Wendee and Toby.

Alyssa Elmore

Lives intertwine and romance blossoms while running from the past in the stunning romance novel, From The Front Desk (Gentle Surf Series Book Two) by Lori Power. Wendee Hamsworth has secrets. Running from her former employer who is bent on killing her, Wendee finds herself on the luxurious Coronado island in sunny California. With the kind assistance of her cousin, Eva, Wendee is able to find a job at a local upscale hotel. Determined to stay low and remain as invisible as possible, Wendee has no plans to get involved with anyone. Until she meets the handsome, perfectly built Toby MacPherson. Strong, compassionate, gentle, Toby is more than good looks. Only, he also holds a secret from his past more deadly than Wendee's own. Afraid of her feelings for him, Wendee decides to stay as far away from Toby as possible. To her dismay, she discovers that they work in the same hotel. Now, Wendee must choose between her past and the man that has captured her soul. Can Wendee open her heart to allow Toby in? Will Toby's secret destroy their chances for happiness?

Two people must face their demons and make amends in the romantic suspense novel, From The Front Desk (Gentle Surf Series Book Two) by Lori Power. Wendee and Toby have many things in common; their love of running, their workplace, and the deadly secrets haunting them. Although there were some aspects to the story that didn't quite ring true, such as the resolution to Toby's story, or Wendee's response to her attraction to Toby, this book was still an enjoyable read. The settings were beautiful and the author at times became quite poetic. The characters were masterfully developed, and the attraction was strong between Toby and Wendee. I would recommend this book to lovers of romance with strong characters and exciting plots. I appreciated how Lori Power brought the ending together. It was so neatly tied up and I love the author's writing voice! This book is best for mature readers, as there are adult elements not suited for a younger audience.

Anthony Elmore

From the Front Desk, the second book in the Gentle Surf Series is a romance novella written by Lori Power. Wendee began a new life, starting afresh by moving in with her cousin Eva, which led her to meet one of her new co-workers, Tobias, who was very handsome and a very strong masseur. While trying to escape the dangers of her past life, leaving behind the rest of her family and friends, Wendee started getting more comfortable with the change of scenery and the population, since almost everybody living near her served in the military. With the comfort of her new friends and having regular routines, is she getting so careless that her past will end up bringing her down? Or will she be careful enough to outrun the deadly clutches of her old life?

This book was a captivating but intense romantic story that was easy to read. I happily noticed how the story had very few cuss words, and very few hot but not overly graphic sex scenes in it. I enjoyed reading this book from its very intriguing beginning until the end. I felt content when I got to the end of the story, because of the way it ended on a good note. Even though this book had light romance, I would suggest an audience of at least young adults or older. I would love to finish the Gentle Surf Series; I thank the author for putting enough of her time into making an outstanding book that has just enough heat to lure the reader along, but not enough to make the reader feel uncomfortable. An awesome book!