Circle in the Sand: Oceanic Dreams Book 3 is a novel in a romantic comedy series by Tracy Krimmer based around romance on cruise ships. Isla Hunter is a librarian, about to turn 30, who allows her two best friends, the vivacious and adventurous Charlotte and the gorgeous “player” Asher to convince her to celebrate the event by going on a cruise. Charlotte hopes the cruise will allow Isla to forget her old boyfriend, who left her a year ago, after eight years together and that she might “hook up” with someone and just have some fun for a change. But when Charlotte unexpectedly has to cancel her participation in the trip, it is just Isla and Asher, alone on a big cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean. When Asher appears to immediately hook up with an old childhood friend Isla begins to feel pangs of jealousy. Although she tries to rationalize it as just annoyance that Asher is not celebrating her birthday exclusively with her, she also begins to question whether, perhaps, she might have feelings for someone she had always thought of as being in the “friend zone”, albeit, the best-friend zone. This cruise maybe will allow them both to discover and explore anything that may be between them.
I love a good romance and especially a romance with a twist of comedic writing, which, as an author, I know is not an easy thing to do. In Circles in the Sand, author Tracy Krimmer is able to develop a character in Isla that appealed to my sensibilities and my sense of humour. Her self-deprecating manner and her habit of studying people (people watching) definitely resonated with me. She was, at her core, a fairly old-fashioned girl and not about to throw herself at the first man that gave her a cheesy pickup line and yet, a little part of her longed to be free, easy and sexually loose like her best friend Charlotte but she wasn’t actually sure she was capable of that. The author did a great job of developing Isla through the story and Asher was well drawn also, as the archetypal “player” who perhaps was not a player at all and had some extraordinary hidden depths. I particularly enjoyed the interplay between the two old friends who perhaps were not just old friends. The read is seamless, well edited and not at all pretentious; it is a straightforward romantic comedy that makes no bones about being anything else. I can definitely recommend this book if you love romance but require a slightly edgier and tougher format than perhaps your typical Mills and Boon. I’m impressed with this author’s style and will keep an eye out in future for work by her.