Promise at Refuge Point by Donna Alward

Valentine’s Day marked the release of the much anticipated and long-awaited final installment in Donna Alward’s Jewell Cove series, Promise at Refuge Point. It was also a well-timed snow day here in Nova Scotia and it enabled me to binge-read this contemporary Summer Fling, Small Town Romance. The sixth in a series set in a fictional coastal community in Maine, this novel, as with the rest in the series, can be read as a standalone. But a word of warning: like potato chips, once you read one, you will want to read the rest.

Jewell Cove is not only picturesque, but it has a rich and colourful history, which is what brought Jax Brodie – a lecturer and historian at Penn State and owner of a small production company — to the cove to do a documentary. His company produces lesser-known stories of American History and brings them to life. His interest is in the three founding Fathers of Jewell Cove, their treasure, the blockade-running these men were engaged in, and bringing their story to the world. Logs of names and dates of those who traveled the underground Railway and those who helped them were found hidden in the caves of Aquteg Island and this is where they are filming at the beginning of the story.

Jax grew up surrounded by privilege. His mother is a world-class surgeon, and his father owner of Brodie Biotech. He refuses to follow in the family’s footsteps, wanting to follow a different path from his parents. He suffers guilt about not continuing the family legacy. He also has survivor’s guilt as his older brother by 18 months died of cancer 3 days after his 12th birthday. He idolized his brother — he was his hero.

Summer Arnold has led a very different kind of life from Jax. She has lived in Jewell Cove since she was eight years old. High School Graduate (barely that), she isn’t educated or well-traveled, she has hardly been out of Jewell Cove. She is a people pleaser and has worked at just about every low-end job in Jewell Cove. At 38 she wants to improve herself and study in the fall to become a paralegal. She needs a job after her lunchroom monitor and afterschool program finishes for the summer so she applies to become Jax’s assistant.

Her mother was addicted to drugs and died of an overdose, and her father was killed shortly after being released from jail. Orphaned, she was put in the foster system and eventually came to live with her father’s parents in Jewell Cove. Summer has trust issues because it feels like everyone always left her. She also has a secret heritage — the piece that is missing in Jax’s documentary — a secret she is keeping because she doesn’t want the town to know about her past. Will it ruin their relationship?

Promise at Refuge Point is a story chock-full of suspense, mystery, and secrets. It’s about two lonely characters with deeply held hurts, unresolved issues in their pasts, and some amazing chemistry. If you are a fan of Happily Ever Afters, then this is a story for you.

Chock-full of suspense, mystery, and secrets … If you are a fan of Happily Ever Afters, then this is a story for you.

Since 2006, New York Times bestseller Donna Jones Alward has enchanted readers with stories of happy endings and homecomings that have won several awards and been translated into over a dozen languages. She’s worked as an administrative assistant, teaching assistant, and in retail, but always knew her degree in English Literature would pay off, as she is now happy to be a full-time writer. Donna currently lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, with her husband and cats.

Find out more at

  • Publisher : ‎ Self-Published
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 327 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-1-9891-3268-5

Sue Slade has a Bachelor of Child Study from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax. After working with children and adults with special needs, she now has her midlife dream job of working with books. Sue manages an independent, locally owned bookstore, Dartmouth Book Exchange. Through her charismatic sharing centred around books and community, Sue has created an engaging cornerstone for authors, customers, and book lovers of all ages. Sue is an avid reader and her reviews cross over many genres.