J.L. Campbell is an excellent writer, and proves it in this novel, where she takes some difficult and sometimes taboo themes (adultery, addictions, domestic abuse, sexually transmitted diseases) and writes with beauty and compassion about them. My heart went out to these three women and their lovers and families, who live through an exciting soap opera of problems as this novel develops. Though this is "women's fiction" rather than "romance"--because the romance genre often doesn't dare touch said taboo themes--there is plenty of romantic interest that had me sighing and cheering and feeling bereft as the relationships twisted and changed. Take for example Xavier, a serious distraction to the married Justine: he's tall, gorgeous, patient, understanding, *and* can play guitar and sing. Yeah, I see how she got distracted. Yum!
Best of all was the flavor that the setting lent to the whole story. Campbell excels at sprinkling enough Jamaican dialect and cultural details (foods, plants, gorgeous beaches...) into the novel to make me feel like I got to know the island, without it ever being confusing. Since I've never been to the Caribbean, and wasn't sure what to expect of the culture, that was especially interesting and fun.
From the teaser chapter of the sequel, at the end of this novel, I get the impression there'll be more coming from these characters, for which I'm glad. I want the soap opera to go on! Great beach read, whether you're anywhere near the Caribbean or not.