Thursday, July 13, 2017

Julie's Review: Homegoing

Author: Yaa Gyasi
Series: None
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 320
Obtained: Library
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Grab this book immediately. It is special.
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Summary: The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day. Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.  

Review: You know how some books get a lot of hype, you read them and wonder what the hype is all about? Well, Homegoing is NOT one of these books. This book is so powerful and moving. The writing is striking and lyrical. It is a book that should not be missed.

We are first introduced to Effia and her life in her village and then in the Castle. How a family secret changes the course of her life and her descendants. Then we meet Esi who has a completely different fate in the Castle than Effia and how that affects her descendants. Which begs the question, do we have control over our own lives or is it already written? Do the choices of our ancestors affect our lives?

I loved and learned something different from each of these short stories. You never fully go back to the characters you are introduced to but you learn more about them from their offspring and their stories. You see history through different eyes and perhaps open your eyes to a different view.

Ms. Gyasi has a true gift. Her storytelling is wonderful. Her use of words evoke strong feelings towards the characters. I really can't wait to see what she has for us readers next. This is a book that you need to experience yourself and then recommend to everyone you see. So, go grab Homegoing now.


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Friday, July 7, 2017

Julie's Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Series: None
Publication Date: June 3,2017
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 400
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Not at all what I expected but it was wonderful
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Summary: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.  

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a book about the choices we make and the consequences of those choice on our life and those we love the most. Evelyn Hugo is one of the most famous actresses from the 1950s and 1960s with her fair share of scandals. Now she's ready to tell her story without apologies. Although even at the beginning you have to wonder what is in it for her? What's her angle because Evelyn always has one.

Monique Grant is a journalist with Viviant magazine who Evelyn has requested to do a piece on her for the magazine, only that's not what she wants. Monique is to write her biography and to publish it after she dies. Which means that Monique will make millions off of it.  She just has to figure out how to handle it with her boss at Vivant.

I won't go into the details of all seven marriage of Evelyn's but each one took a piece of her and also helped her accomplish a goal. Evelyn wasn't anything if not resourceful and strategic. Evelyn very rarely felt remorse for the things that she had done. It is this and the fact that she states, several times, that she would do it all again even if it had the same outcomes and hurt the same people. How honest is that? It is what made me admire her just like Monique did.

This book might have been a stray from what Ms. Reid usually writes about but it still has her humor and eloquence. While the novel has several themes running throughout it, the main one is love. It always comes down to the ones we love the most and what we will do for them.

I highly recommend The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo for any one who wants a wonderful book that is character driven and centered around a strong female.


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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Julie's Review: Final Girls

Author: Riley Sager
Series: None
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 352
Obtained: publisher via Edelweiss
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A fast-paced thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the end
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Summary: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet. Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.  

Review: Let's get this out of the way first, Final Girls would be a fantastic film. It's part psychological thriller, suspense and slasher film. Thank goodness for most of the book that last part is alluded to and not described in detail. Quincy has been a survivor of a massacre for 10 years. She's powered through the aftermath and built a life for herself in NYC. She's got a popular food blog and a live-in boyfriend who she thinks is going to propose.

Then her life begins to slowly unravel as Lisa is found dead and Sam, who has been off the grid for years, shows up at her house. The life that Quincy has so carefully crafted is starting to fray at the seams as Sam pokes at the very things that she has tried to bury. Sam wants to make Quincy remember what happened at Pine Cottage but why? Why is it so important to her that Quinn remember? What's in it for Sam? It certainly isn't Quinn's mental health. As Sam causes Quinn to unleash her rage, it will have consequences for both of them and set in motion things that can't be stopped.

There are a few twists and turns throughout the book with puzzle pieces coming together. Honestly I felt that Ms. Sager was moving us in one direction with the story while waiting for the other shoe to drop. Throughout the whole book I kept thinking that I should really be figuring it out a lot quicker than I did. The ending to me though, wasn't the biggest reveal and twist; that came earlier for me. 

Quincy is a complex character. At times you truly feel sorry for her and want her to be ok and then other times you wonder if you even know her. You want her to be able to be her true-self but you also begin to doubt her and what she's forgotten. Has she really forgotten or is she just protecting herself? It's understandable that she doesn't let people in very easily. So it irked me that she so willingly opened her house and emotions up to Sam. The only thing they shared was a similar experience but other than that, their lives were vastly different.

You will turn the pages very quickly during this novel and you won't want to put it down until it's over. I highly suggest you start it when you have several hours to devour it. Final Girls is the epitome of a summer read because it sucks you in and doesn't let you go. I can't wait to see what Ms. Sager writes next.


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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!!

 photo happy-4th-of-july-usa_zpseymg4efr.jpg

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Julie's Review: The Book of Summer

Author: Michelle Gable
Series: None
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 416
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A story about the importance of memories and family
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Summary: The ocean, the wild roses on the dunes and the stunning Cliff House, perched atop a bluff in Sconset, Nantucket. Inside the faded pages of the Cliff House guest book live the spellbinding stories of its female inhabitants: from Ruby, a bright-eyed newlywed on the eve of World War II to her granddaughter Bess, who returns to the beautiful summer estate. For the first time in four years, physician Bess Codman visits the compound her great-grandparents built almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Bess must now put aside her complicated memories in order to pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave. It’s not just memories of her family home Bess must face though, but also an old love that might hold new possibilities. In the midst of packing Bess rediscovers the forgotten family guest book. Bess’s grandmother and primary keeper of the book, Ruby, always said Cliff House was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother’s words in ways she never imagined.  
Review: Book of Summer is a wonderful story about family history and the stories that can get lost from generation to generation. Bess Codman comes home to help her mom, Cissy Codman, move out of the family house that is about to fall into the sea. Cissy Codman doesn't go down without a fight and a fight is what she's going to give them. Of course Bess thinks she's going to help pack but she pretty much does everything but that, including run into old flame, Evan. Bess is also using this time to adjust to the fact that the person she married wasn't anywhere near who she thought and how to rebuild her life after a divorce. Luckily, she's got a great career to go back to and a new apartment. Bess hasn't told her family all the details surrounding the demise of her marriage. Somehow she feels just fine unloading it all to Evan.

Through the Book of Summer, we get to know her grandmother Ruby and her formative years in Cliff House. We learn about her romance with Sam, her playful younger brother Topper and her budding friendship with Hattie. We also see the change of the US's part in World War II through the eyes of Ruby who just wants her husband and brothers safe. She does her part by joining various women's organizations. I enjoyed reading about Ruby and Hattie's escapades together.

Not only does Ruby's past come to light but Cissy's been holding back her own secrets as well. Bess is a bit thrown by all the family drama, including her own. As Bess struggles with her own predicament, she realizes how good it feels to be back home and how much she missed Cliff House.

I really enjoyed  Book of Summer even if some of the parts were predictable. I enjoyed how family history is held in houses we occupy but most importantly the memories we create in the house rest in our hearts not in an object. If you are a fan of family drama, secrets and old houses you will want to pick up this book.


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Julie's Review: The Night the Lights Went Out

Author: Karen White
Series: None
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 416
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line:A wonderful story about friendships that are cemented by similar experiences not age
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Summary: Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail. Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past. Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world. In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three

Review: The Night the Lights Went Out is about rebuilding your life, learning to trust those around you and letting go of the past. When Sugar Prescott rents her cottage to a recently divorced Merilee Dunlap she doesn't expect to be drawn to her and her children. She doesn't plan to infiltrate their lives but it happens.

Merilee Dunlap is looking to start over after she gets a divorce husband and the cottage seems like the perfect place for her and her two kids to move. They also will start a new school due to their father's affair with a teacher. Merilee quickly finds herself ensconced with Heather Blackford and the other mom's that run the school. As Merilee struggles to learn how to balance it all without having a husband there to help, she is easy to identify with and cheer for.

Merilee and Sugar have more in common than they even know until some of Merilee's past begins to come to light. Sugar finds herself wanting to protect and defend Merilee even though she thought she had closed off her heart.

There is much mystery in The Night the Lights Went Out as well. Both Merilee and Sugar have secrets and pain in their past. What secrets they are holding onto are slowly revealed in bread crumbs laid out for the reader. I loved both Sugar and Merilee but I think I found Sugar's past more fascinating than Merilee's but probably because I put Merilee's story together fairly early on.

If you are a fan of mysteries and of Karen White's novels, then you definitely won't want to miss out on this one.


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Friday, June 16, 2017

Julie's Review: The Confusion of Languages

Author: Siobhan Fallon
Series: None
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher via First to Read
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: How well do we know the people who we call friends?
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Summary: Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After two years, Cassie’s become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance. With achingly honest prose and riveting characters, The Confusion of Languages plunges readers into a shattering collision between two women and two worlds, affirming Siobhan Fallon as a powerful voice in American fiction and a storyteller not to be missed.  

Review: The Confusion of Languages is the story of a friendship that is rooted in a mystery. Cassie and Margaret couldn't be more different. Cassie is a rule follow and Margaret ignores them but in Jordan not following the rules can cause issues. Truly the only thing that the women have in common is that they are there because their husbands are military. When their husbands are sent to Italy to help the Jordanian forces navigate NATO, the women have only each other to rely on. Cassie and Dan even throw Margaret and Crick a welcome party to make sure that they feel like they are part of a group.

Cassie and Margaret's friendship is tenuous at best. Cassie doesn't have a lot of patience for what she perceives to be flippancy on Margaret's part of the rules they need to abide by to honor the Jordanian culture. Margaret sees Cassie as being a bit of a stick in the mud. Yet somehow they enjoy each other's company. Although I'm pretty sure that had they met under different circumstances, neither of them would have befriended the other. I think they became friends because they were both lonely and they could relate to each other through that loneliness.

How well does Cassie really know Margaret? She seemed like such an open book but what was she hiding? Did she find herself in trouble in Jordan in such a short amount of time? Is there any way for Cassie to help her?

Both women are complex characters and each aren't what they seem. Cassie is bitter in a way that someone who is dealing with her circumstances can be. Margaret is dealing with a lot of pain from taking care of her mom and then her mom's death. This shaped Margaret's need for Crick and her son. Mather is an integral part of the story because if not for him Cassie wouldn't have stuck around when Margaret had to go deal with the accident report.

As the hours bleed into each other, we find out through Cassie snooping in Margaret's journal what she's been keeping from her friend and her husband but not all at once. It really is layered and you have to peel it back to get the heart of what happened. Who is at fault? Is there really any one to lay fault with?

Ms. Fallon has written an exquisite story about how well we know or don't know the people we call our friends. It is layered and multi-faceted that will keep you guessing the outcome until the end. It isn't a thriller but a story about how we keep some secrets close to us, not letting people know our inner most selves.

I highly recommend The Confusion of Languages.


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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Julie's Review: The Sunshine Sisters

Author: Jane Green
Series: None
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Berkeley
Pages: 384
Obtained: Publisher via First to Read
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: No one does family drama like Jane Green
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Summary: Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters. As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her. But now the Sunshine sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all.  

Review: I haven't missed a Jane Green book since she started publishing them and The Sunshine Sisters  is what I expect from her; perfect blend of drama and humor. Ronni Sunshine isn't very likable and was a horrible mother. She was/is self-absorbed and rude. She, at least on her deathbed, recognizes what an ass she was to her girls. All of them have been effected in different ways but mostly they have moved on, until she summons them all home. The novel isn't so much about Ronni Sunshine as it is about the destruction she leaves in her wake.

Nell, the oldest, took the brunt of the moods while trying to shield Meredith and Lizzy from them. You can only shield them so much. Meredith was the sensitive one and didn't know how to back away from her mother when she was in her moods. Lizzy is the baby and pretty much got away with whatever she wanted. What Ronni did was not only alienate them from her but she alienated them from each other.
For years they lived separate lives, only calling when necessary. They were never there for each other and drifted apart. Meredith is getting married and none of her family is invited. Nell lives 20 minutes away from her mom running a farm and never sees her. Meredith took off for London and hasn't looked back. Lizzy has crafted a successful business of her own in NYC. 

I enjoyed learning about all the sisters and their lives as adults. I found Meredith's story to be the one that I thought was probably the most real. She's the one that struggles from all the emotional abuse that her mother dosed out. She's the one that questions her decisions and then settles for a career and man who aren't worthy of her. Nell is the one who built a wall up around herself but I'm not so sure it has so much to do with Ronni as it does with having a child young and having the father walk out on you. Lizzy, well she's the entertaining one in the family. She's always needed to be the center of attention and now she has all the attention she wants from her career. She's not happy though and her priorities are messed up. Maybe being around her sisters can bring her back to reality. 

Jane always crafts a great story that is accessible and grounded in great characters. The Sunshine Sisters joins that history. The Sunshine Sisters  is about finding your way home and accepting who you are all the good bad and ugly of it.


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Monday, June 5, 2017

Julie's Review: The Arrangement

Author: Sarah Dunn
Series: None
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Pages: 368
Obtained: Local Library
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Bottom Line: Fell flat
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Summary: Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They've got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It's the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school's "hot lunch," dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, "chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife's version of chopping wood." When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they've made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There's a part of her, though-the part that worries she's become too comfortable being invisible-that's intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she's known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-"real life," or the "experiment?"  

Review: I had huge hopes for The Arrangement based on the buzz and recommendation of some people I respect but it fell short for me. I was expecting the same kind of humor that I find in Ms. Dunn's show American Housewife but it wasn't there for me.

Lucy and Owen are yuppies to the nth degree. They moved to Beekman to have quality of life and to raise their son Wyatt. Wyatt is on the autism spectrum and is most definitely a handful. Lucy has lost herself to raising him and getting him the therapy he needs.  So she could careless that her hair is greasy, always in sweats and barely getting dinner on the table. Owen is helpful with Wyatt, as he should be, but he does get to leave and go socialize. One night while drinking a lot, they have a discussion with friends about an "open marriage".  What starts off as a joke quickly becomes something that they both agree to do but only for 6 months. 6 months is a long enough time for things to go very wrong.

There is no doubt in my mind that both Lucy and Owen are fantastic parents and I really do believe they loved each other but this 6 month experiment was the very wrong way to go about it. There are other ways to light the spark in your marriage to find yourself again. What pissed me off the most was how Owen assumed that Lucy would never partake in it, even if it was her idea. I mean, why not? Why do you have to be the only one to have all the fun? I think it's what insulted Lucy the most as well.

Trust me I have a sense of humor and I could even laugh at the concept of an open marriage if it was written a bit differently. I was actually expecting a more humorous look at it but didn't get it. There were parts of the novel that had me chuckling (Hello, Sunny Bang) but most of the time I just felt that Lucy and Owen were completely selfish. Not once did one of them say no, let's not do this.

How do you go from having a monogamous relationship to an open one? To me, that's something you go into a relationship knowing/doing and not change during the course. So this experiment was doomed from the start. Real life and marriage isn't dating. It's learning to live with some one faults and all through the peaks and valleys. Sometimes the valleys last longer than you hope but you climb your way out.

If your curious what all the hype is about with The Arrangement, read it, it won't take you long. If you decide to skip it though, you won't miss too much either.


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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Julie's Review: Same Beach, Next Year

Author: Dorthea Benton Frank
Series: None
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Obtained: TLC Book Tours
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A intriguing look at marriage and how friendship can change that relationship
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library

Summary:One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives. A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own. Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach. Bursting with the intoxicating richness of Dorothea Benton Frank’s beloved Lowcountry—the sultry sunshine, cool ocean breezes, icy cocktails, and starry velvet skies—Same Beach, Next Year is a dazzling celebration of the infrangible power of friendship, the enduring promise of summer, and the indelible bonds of love.    

Review: Seeing how I have never read Ms. Frank before I wasn't really sure what to expect from Same Beach, Next Year. I will admit, I was pleasantly surprised, it had more depth than I thought it would. We live two decades in the lives of two couples; Eliza and Adam, Carl and Eve but the story is mainly told through the eyes of Eliza with Adam chiming in here and there. I liked Eliza but I thought she was too good for Adam. Adam is a bit self-involved and cocky. It's even more evident when they befriend Eve and Carl. Eve is a bit caught up in the superficial and Carl is consumed by his work as a pediatrician.

It is clear from the beginning that Eliza and Adam are in love and happy in their life that they share together. They have twin boys that keep them busy and have a construction company both of them are a part of. So when they happen upon Eve and Carl at the beach, they strike up a friendship. Little known to Eliza, although she can sense there's more to the story, Adam and Eve (yes, it's funny) have a history together. And this of course is where Adam completely messes up. He should have told his wife the truth in the beginning instead of burying it deep so that only he and Eve know the truth. So it festers over 20 years with it coming to a head one night.

For me it was amazing that Eliza let the sexual tension between Adam and Eve go on for so long. I know we get absorbed in our lives but seriously? I would have put that to bed early and called him out on his shit.

What I did like is that Eliza came into her own. Instead of living her life for her boys and Adam, she finally takes it into her own hands. I loved reading about her escapades in Greece and her love of cooking. I also appreciated that Ms. Frank didn't take the plot cliche way out in a couple instances during the novel. She shows how hard marriage is and what it takes to get through some tough times. I pretty much also want to live at the beach in the Lowcountry but sadly that's probably not going to happen, so I'll think about a vacation there some day!

If you are looking for a read while you are at the beach or pool this summer, then  Same Beach, Next Year would keep you entertained.


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