by Cecelia Dowdy

February 2005
ISBN: 0-373-87298-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Steeple Hill
Mass Market Paperback

Rainey Jackson has just suffered the traumatic breakup with her long-time fiancé, so her two best friends decided to send her on a Caribbean cruise—just the thing for a broken heart. It doesn’t hurt that one of the first people she meets is handsome fellow passenger, Winston Michaels.

Winston is on the cruise to celebrate his thirty-fifth birthday—the first birthday he’s ever had to celebrate without his twin sister Pam. He’s heartbroken and trying to get over her untimely death. The last thing he expects is to fall head-first into a cruise ship romance.

After the cruise ends, Winston and Rainey decide to keep seeing each other and since both are involved in various aspects of the financial world, they collaborate to teach money management classes to African Americans. But is their romance doomed to fail when Rainey’s ex-fiancé returns? What about when Rainey learns that Winston is a recovering alcoholic?

First Mates is the first book I’ve had the privilege of reading by Cecelia Dowdy. The story is, for the most part, centered on Rainey, so the reader gets to know her pretty well. Even though some parts are written in Winston’s point of view, they are usually short sections and focus on his anger or unhappiness, so I am left wondering what Rainey sees in Winston.

The account of the cruise in First Mates differs from most books I’ve read that occur onboard cruise ships, and most of the romance occurs on dry land. Readers will enjoy getting to know Rainey and her two best friends—and the warm climate of Miami, Florida, during the final frigid days of winter.

Reviewed in January 2005 by Laura.

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