There’s only one time I’ve spent Fourth of July somewhere other than home or at the park, watching the fireworks on a blanket. It was a few weeks after I got engaged, we were on a short vacation with my now husband’s parents, and we built a fire on the beach and watched the fireworks from the sand. It was pretty incredible.
I’m hoping that we can do something like that again someday: just the two of us. I don’t know if it’s the fireworks, or the holiday falling smack dab in the middle of the summer, but I think Fourth of July can be a totally romantic and sweet holiday.
This leads me to a scene in Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland. Ginger shared two great scenes from Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols and Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson yesterday, and here I am with mine. When we first decided to share snippets from our favorite FOJ scenes, this was the first one that popped into my head.
What’s a little forbidden romance, stolen champagne, and a boat ride? Nothing short of spectacular, that’s for sure.
“Hey, you said champagne. Does this mean you’ve gotten over your French girl?”
“Maybe,” he said smiling. I lean back, elbows on the edge, and looked up. The sun had set, but it wasn’t dark yet. The sky was purple. Above us, a half-moon tipped. We rowed past the homes that lined the harbor; past the squares of lighted interiors; past people sitting on verandas, drinking and laughing. Voices floated out to us on waves, turned to wisps, drifted away. The oars slapped the dark water, slid under and emerged, tilted and weeping as they skimmed the surface. I dropped an arm, let my fingers trace the water. I felt like I could’ve stayed in the back of that boat all summer and been happy.
“So, you see that McMansion with all the lights on?” Zack asked, taking both oars in one hand as he turned and pointed to a house on a distant cliff.
“Yeah.” It was a huge place with hundred windows.
“Okay, now, you see the one next to it, with only one light on? That’s where we’re headed. It’s the best spot to see the fireworks.” He turned to face me again, rowing with effortless strength and confidence. Maybe this was where he got his soccer-player body. The thought made me shiver.
“We’re not going to get lost at sea, are we?”
“Not unless you want to.” Zack smiled. There was the feeling again. The warmth. The fluttering. The heart buzz. I focused on rowing. A few fireworks shot off from a distance beach. Little gold ones.
Howland does such a great job describing this scene. I feel like I can see the whole thing in my head, and I want to be there so badly. Maybe as Cricket hanging out with Zack or maybe just as me, the freedom of the ocean under my boat and sharing a peaceful summer moment with my husband.
I tend to refrain from calling Nantucket Blue the perfect summer read because I feel that implies that it’s fluffy and maybe a little light in plot. Instead, Nantucket Blue is the perfect beach read because Howland makes you feel like Nantucket is right at your finger tips: the beach, the people, the small town. It’s all there. And the story, while it does deal with a lot of growing pains also has a lot of the good stuff: mending a heart with first love, understanding your parents, and accepting who you are. Definitely a favorite read of the year for me.
Happy Fourth, friends! Hope it’s magical and filled with a good book! (Wink, wink.)
P.S. NB fans, did you know there will be a second book out next summer? Get excited!