The Island is a story about relationships centered around four women: Birdie, Chess, Tate and India.
Birdie, a divorcee, planning her daughter’s wedding and generally looking for things to occupy her time since her divorce from Grant two years ago. She proposes a last hurrah of sorts with Chess, her eldest daughter. who is getting married in the Fall. She would like to go to Tuckernuck Island (near Nantucket) and spend two weeks at the old Tate family house. Chess, a successful editor at Glamorous Home, initially is hesitant. She then decides to go with her mom.
Birdie calls the man who had been the caretaker of the house and asks him to prepare it for their stay. The caretaker is retired, but his son, Barrett, can take care of the renovations to those house. After being abandoned for thirteen years the house has seen better days. It needs a lot of repair, but Barrett feels that he can have it repaired in time for Birdie’s trip with her daughter in July.
Then everything changes. Chess calls off the wedding and she quits her job. She also cuts her beautiful hair. She flees the city to stay with her mother. And then tragedy strikes, her ex-finance dies in a mountain climbing accident. Continue reading
There is something about summer that compels me to read books centered around beach communities in the Northeast. So it should come as no surprise that I picked up Nancy Thayer’s latest, Beachcombers, a story about three sisters who find themselves all living in their childhood home in Nantucket.
Abbie, the oldest, has been away from the family for two years living in Europe and working as a nanny. She’s enjoying her independence after giving up her dreams for so many years to take care of her sisters after her mother died. Emma, the middle child, was a successful investment banker. When the economy stumbled, she found herself broke, without a job and or a fiance. (He was kind enough to dump her and take up with another banker in their office.) Lily, the baby, lives at home and works for a local newspaper covering the social events on the island.
The book begins when Emma’s job loss forces her to move home and her depression worries Lily so much that she summons Abbie to return home. When Abbie arrives at home she finds that the economy has also placed a strain on her father. He has rented out “the playhouse” to a 40 year old recent divorce from the Midwest. Marina, hurting from her ex-husband’s betrayal, has fled to Nantucket to escape and heal in a place that brought her much joy when she was younger.
Beachcombers is a wonderful story about unexpected relationships and the process of healing. Each of the women becomes involved in a relationship which on the surface may appear complicated or not to work but is exactly what they need. Thayer does an excellent job painting the characters especially Howell, Harry and Mrs. Bracebridge.
My one complaint about this book centered around the character of Lily. At times, I found her behavior too childish for a woman in her early 20s. I also found myself frustrated at times with her sister’s reaction or over-reaction to minor incidents like Lily forgetting to buy milk for the house. I understood what Thayer was trying to do but it just felt a little much.
That being said I highly enjoyed this book. I found myself losing myself in the story and the characters. I would recommend this book and give it a 4.5/5. Now to to check out more books by Thayer….
I don’t know if it is me or if it is the books. I used to run out and buy Jane Green’s books and devour them immediately. Now, I get them at the library and they leave me feeling not quite disappointed but not all together satisfied either.
The Beach House was a light, summery read. But it was also incredibly predictable. There are two big reveals with two characters that I saw coming from a mile away.
I also found myself frustrated at times with the editing. You could tell that Green is English and at times her word choice seemed unnatural to an American ear. (A 13yr American girl would never get excited over a “proper job”. American’s don’t have rows. We have arguments or fights.) I could have excused this if one of the characters was English, but all were East Coasters.
All in all I would rate this a 2.5/5.