I love Elin Hilderbrand’s books and I really can’t express this enough. Her novels are always set in Nantucket and have characters who are at a turning point in their lives. The stories are wonderful contemporary fiction that leaves me smiling. The Beach Club is her fist novel and tells the stories of the staff of one of Nantucket’s best hotels. Bill and Therese have own the Beach Club for years. In fact, it has been in Bill’s family for three generations. The plan is to give the hotel and club to their daughter, Cecily, after she finishes college. Bill’s health is starting to decline so it is looking like Cecily will have to take on the responsibility sooner. Mack is their hotel manager and is a charming and efficient employee. He makes all of the guest feel welcome and at home, and everyone loves him. It seems highly unlikely that the hotel would function or succeed without Mack’s hard work. His girlfriend Maribel doesn’t work at the Beach Club, but her life is wrapped up in the hotel due to her relationship with Mack. Vance has been the head bellman for the Beach Club for the past twelve years even though he had applied for the manager’s job. Needless to say, this has been an enormous thorn in his paw. Jem and Love are new to the island and the Beach Club. They are both excited for their season on the island and have big expectations. Lacey doesn’t work at the hotel, but she might as well. She is their oldest club member and frankly the one person everyone goes to for advice. Things are changing for everyone and they can feel a storm is brewing.
This was a great story. It had all the qualities that are quintessentially Hilderbrand: relationship drama, feelings of being lost in life, and a huge emphasis on the island and food. It seems that every year in May I have to read one of Hilderbrand’s novels. For some reason, this is what starts my move into summer reading. She never disappoints me and I finish a book feeling good about life. I always recommend her books when someone asks me for a nice read or a book to just get lost in for a few hours.
Becky Masterman’s debut novel Rage Against the Dying is a hair raising mystery set right in our back yard. Pushed into retirement, former FBI agent Brigid Quinn and her husband are starting to settle down in Tucson and live a quiet life. Brigid has decided retirement isn’t so bad and is starting to rather like her quiet life , but then her past finds her. Now she finds herself involved with an old unsolved case that was rather gruesome and horrific. A man has come forwarded claiming to have been the Route 66 killer that Brigid spent years searching for. He evens tells the FBI that he knows where Brigid’s missing protegee has been taken and will help them find her. Of course, the new FBI agent on the case believes the confession to be a fake, leaving it all up to Brigid to once and for all close this deadly case.
Materman’s writing style is compelling. She weaves in and out of the past and present flawlessly, making the reader unable to put the book down. She also uses multiple narrators to tell the story, giving you a complete look at what is happening. This book has a few graphic and intense moments that will both make you both cringe and keep reading to find out what happens. I was utterly immersed in the story from the first paragraph and all the way through the book. And of course, I loved that it took place in Tucson. Somehow it just makes the story that much better when I know the setting. Be sure to get Masterman’s novel, this is an author to start looking for.
Sally Koslow’s novel The Widow Waltz is a great read that really looks at family relationships and the support that can be drawn from each other. Georgia Waltz has the perfect life in New York city with her attorney husband and two daughters. One of her daughters is living abroad in Paris and the other is attending Stanford. Everything seems to be in order for the Waltz family, but everything changes after her husband suddenly dies from a heart attack. This alone is enough to put the family in turmoil, but soon they discover that there is no money, their New York apartment and the beach house in the Hamptons are mortgaged to the hilt and they have no idea what Ben did with all of their money. Forced to change her life completely, Georgia sets out to find a way to support her daughters while trying to discover her late husband’s secrets.
I really like this novel. Koslow’s characters are transformed by the end of the novel, not only individually but in their relationships with each other. It was encouraging to see how everyone learns to adapt, even if reluctantly, and becomes a family again. This is a great summer read when you are ready to sit back and escape your daily life for a few hours.
The Widow Waltz will be on sale June 13th so pre-order today.
Wendy Higgins’ debut novel Sweet Evil is an exciting new look at angels and demons. Anna has always known that she is different from other kids. Her senses are supercharged and she has the unique ability to see and feel people’s emotions. She always assumed that she was alone with this ability, that is until she meets Kaidan. Now she is discovering that her heritage is not the typical teen story. Her father is a fallen angel, or demon, and her mother is an angel. The fact that she was born from theses two conflicting types of angels is completely unheard of. Not only is she learning about her parents, but she is also learning that due to her father’s betrayal she is expected to do the work of Lucifer. Now she has to learn to deal with her ever changing emotions towards Kaidan while she tries to avoid working as a demon.
I was a little skeptical when I started reading this book. I was afraid that the seven deadly sins theme would be too trite and cheesy, but Higgins did an incredible job with it. The offspring of the demons are all very interesting characters and even though they each represent a specific sin or vice their characters are developed enough that you want to learn more about them. There was never a time when I thought they were one dimensional or limited due to their “sin label”. Higgins did a great job showing Anna as a very naive teen who has to quickly grow-up and learn the harsh realities of life. I am really excited to see how the story progresses. I finished the book and immediately had to get book two, Sweet Peril, which luckily was just released. If you enjoy reading about fallen angels, this would be a great series to read next.
Sarah Dessen writes amazing young adult novels that often have bigger issues resting right under the surface of the plot. Her characters are fabulous and easy to get attached too. This Lullaby is the story of Remy and her reluctance to fall in love. She has watched for years as her mother moves from one husband to another and learned that the best way to be in a relationship is to move on before things become too serious. And this is exactly how she lives her life. She goes to parties, hangs out with her girlfriends, and dates boys. That is until she meets Dexter. Now all of her dating discipline is being tested and she may not have the ability to avoid love any longer.
Dessen creates characters that are rich with emotion. They are smart, funny and show how life can make you very vulnerable. I really liked Remy in this story. She had to grow up fast and learn how to become the adult in her family, which made her much stronger and tougher. She quickly learned how to keep her emotions in check but somehow managed to keep some of the wildness in her life. I really liked how Dessen paralleled the grown-up relationships with young adult relationships. It was interesting to see the dilemmas of trying to be a grown up when you aren’t quite ready. This was a great book that examines the dynamics of friends and families and all of the emotional landmines that comes with growing up.