“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Jane Green / Hardcover / 432 Pages / Book is published 2008-06-12 by Michael Joseph Ltd „
This novel by Jane Green called the Beach House, was bought for me by my Husband for £1.20 from a local junk shop. I recovering as you most probably know by now from a broken paw. Was in need of more reading material and he spotted this book thinking it would be right up my alley and he was oh so right.
The story starts with a lady called Nan Powell, she is found swimming in her neighbours pool in her all together. Taking a stolen moment while her neighbours are away. It is a lovely day and too nice to be cooped up indoors, anyway she thinks even if I get caught I am a bit eccentric, and does what she likes when she likes. The neighbours it seems love her for this.
She is left a Beach House when her Husband is supposed drowned, as his clothes and note are found by the seashore, and the assumption is that he walked into the sea and drowned.
She is then left to fend for herself, and finds that money is getting scarce, so she decides to rent out rooms in the beach house and this is where the story starts.
You meet Daff, Danielle, Carrie, Richard and a host of others with their own story to tell all the way through this book. They all meet up and make friends and their stories intermingle in such a way it would be wrong of me to let you in on their stories as I think it would spoil a very good read for you.
Needless to say things tend to get out of hand several times and Nan has a party to get everyone together.
When one of the family units in this book comes to the beach house it brings a surprise for Nan.
This is a bit of a twist in the plot and I found it a lovely book too read, always with tissues handy as I am a sucker for a sob story or more in this case.
I am finding it hard to tell you more on this book without spoiling it for you as there are little bits all the way through that keep one's interest peeked.
All I will say is give it a go after all it was rated one of her best , and a compelling page turner by some of the top critics.
So don't just take my word for it give it a read for yourselves.
Years ago I enjoyed reading several of Green's earlier books, so when I saw this for sale for a mere 25p - and on bogof! - at my local library, I snapped it up. Would the story telling be as good as I remembered?
-- The premise --
A group of characters step out of their ordinary lives - and romances - and meet at a rented beach house in Nantucket. The blurb informs us that the owner, Nan, is mischievous and free-spirited while her guests are rather more unhappy. Daniel is breaking wife Bee's heart; Daff is struggling with her relationship with her daughter, Jess; and Michael, Nan's son, is having an ill-advised fling with his boss. Quickly, new relationships form and old ones change, but will any of them find the new beginning they are hoping for?
-- My thoughts --
Green is a well-established writer of chick-lit so I was fully expecting the answer to the above question to be yes, and I wasn't disappointed. This is the kind of book you read anticipating a happy ending and the only question mark is over the exact shape of it. I didn't find that this spoiled my enjoyment, but it does make for a slightly predictable story and will not suit all readers.
Originally a journalist, Green's style sometimes feels a little bit clunky. She feels the need to briefly describe characters when they first appear and her descriptions add little to the plot or the readers' understanding. I found them distracting and not helpful. Her characters also feel a little bit too glamorous sometimes. How many people can really own massive houses or drip with diamonds or throw up their job at a moments notice? Again, I think this tilt towards impulsivity and financial security is a fairly common feature of some chick-lit and, really, these are minor quibbles. Ultimately, this is meant to be a feel-good read and it is definitely that.
What I did find surprising was how long it took to get to the point described on the book jacket. It is not until half way through the book that all the characters are gathered at the titular beach house and most of the first third of the book focuses on establishing the situations already described in the blurb. The reader learns all about Bee and Daniel's relationship from meeting through marrying to breaking point. The breakdown of Daff's marriage and the subsequent problems with her daughter are also fully described. Michael's whole relationship with boss Jordana is described from the moment they begin to be more than purely employer and employee to the moment he realises what a terrible error he has made. I found this established the characters well but it did mean that it felt like the whole first half of the book was set-up rather than story. This didn't really bother me, but it might irritate some readers. This approach does allow you to get to know each character well which helps you to care about them.
More problematically for light chick-lit, the beginning of the book is rather depressing. Marital infidelity is rife and all the initial relationships have been discarded by a third of the way through the book. I found this rather sad as Green seemed to suggest that most marriages fail. Of course, this does rather match the real-life statistics! I did not find it reassuring that, by the end of the book, all these characters have decided that their original marriages were terribly flawed. I think I prefer chick-lit that ends with marriage rather than chick-lit that begins with the destruction of one - or several! ('Pride and Prejudice' is one of my favourite ever books.) There is only one successful long-term relationship in the book and this is between peripheral characters. Even the minor supporting characters are all divorced. Green's moral voice is also a little worldly for me. Her characters acknowledge that men can't resist infidelity and that an affair doesn't have to mean the end of a marriage. This certainly makes her romantic fiction more realistic than some; I think my prefer my romantic fiction to be unrealistic! It is interesting to note that between this book and Green's earlier books she has gone through a divorce herself. I do not know the details of this but I suspect that it has influenced her writing. I seem to remember her earlier books being more positive and I preferred them to this more realistic, or perhaps simply pessimistic, mode.
I also felt that the characters were rather cliched. Gay characters are not into sport and teenage girls hate their mothers. Furthermore, gay characters are able to magically recognise other gay characters and old ladies have amazing intuition. I appreciate that you don't typically look for well developed characters in chick-lit, but I still felt that Green could at least have avoided ticking as many stereotypes as she does.
The story is suitably interesting as the various plot lines develop and converge. Sometimes it is very predictable (newly single woman meets newly single man and they fall in love) and there are the obligatory misunderstandings that are rather easily resolved, but there are also a couple of twists that I didn't see coming. I was always ready to pick up this book and continue reading, although I never found it gripping or compelling. That said, I don't expect to find chick-lit gripping or compelling, so that is a statement of fact rather than a criticism.
Green is a British author who has moved to Connecticut and this book is set in America. Interestingly, some reviewers online have complained that the characters are too British in their idiom and that this spoilt their enjoyment of the book. This is not something that I noticed but it didn't feel American in the way that some books by American authors do and it may be that for some readers this lacks a strong enough sense of place.
Something the book certainly possesses is a few twists. I didn't anticipate any of them, but I do tend to read this kind of fiction with my brain switched off, so I cannot really comment on how surprising other readers may find the twists. I think they are actually relatively common twists for this kind of fiction and so keener readers may find the story a little too predictable.
-- Conclusions --
I felt that this was a mildly enjoyable read as it had a set of likeable characters with distinct plot lines that made their histories easy to follow. The story is ultimately rather reliant on coincidence and the happy ending is unrealistic because of that. However, if readers are willing to suspend disbelief at the end then the story is otherwise quite realistic, which I liked. The paperback is priced at £7.99 for 420 pages, which I think is a little steep for something that you are only likely to read once. I think it would certainly be worth getting as part of an offer or second hand as it would then offer value for money as well as being entertaining. I found this easy to read but did not enjoy it as much as Green's earlier books. I would recommend reading one of her earlier books rather than recommending this one specifically, but I imagine more dedicated fans will really enjoy it.
Read this if:
- You are already a fan of Jane Green's recent offerings.
- You enjoy reading straightforward chick-lit.
- You want a relaxed, easy read that focuses on relationships.
Avoid this if:
- You enjoy fiction with a strong and accurate sense of place.
- You enjoy more intelligent fiction.
- You dislike stories which are predictable and simple.
I bought this after reading the back of the book - as usual and I knew that this wasn't exactly the usual fluffy chick lit story, but since I like books by this author then I thought I would like to read something a little bit different.
The story is about a older lady called Nan (makes a change from the younger ladies that I tend to read about. Nan lives on an Island in Nantucket and she has lived there all her life. Nan lives on her own as her husband killed himself as he had a Gambling addiction, so from this description it doesn't look like some sweet airy story does it?
Nan is struggling for money and there is lots of developers only happy to buy her house off her to make way for some new developments. Nan is keen to keep staying there since she has stayed there for so long, but with a lack of money what can she do to keep staying there? Nan decides to rent out the spare rooms to holidaymakers. After all it is a large house and too large for Nan alone.
We also touch on a few other characters in the book so it's not all just about Nan. Michael who is Nan's son features through the book as well as a character called Daniel and his family and also Daff and her family. These characters have their own stories to tell and these are mixed through the book. The book is quite long at over 400 pages so I feel that focussing on a few different groups of people breaks the story up a little. There is a few little twists and turns in this book but nothing all too dramatic in my view.
I did enjoy to read this. It is a lot different to the usual books that I read and I couldn't see myself reading this kind of book that often. It requires a little concentration at times and is that bit deeper than my usual style of book - Sophie Kinsella and Carmen Reid.
Still a good book from a good author.
I have read and enjoyed quite a few books by Jane Green so I was well pleased when I picked up The Beach House for only ten pence at a school Christmas Fair. It was, like her others, an enjoyable read, although it did take me quite a while to really get into it. When I did though, I read the second half within about twenty four hours as I could hardly put it down!
The book is about a group of quite different and disparate people who all find themselves at the same beach house in Nantucket one summer. They are all at a point in their lives where crisis seems to be looming and a break from everyday life is just what they all need.
The beach house. Which is in need of much repair, is owned by Nan, an old lady who's husband committed suicide many years ago. She has kept on the house even though she can hardly afford to maintain it but she is determined not to sell to any of the hard edged property developers who seem to be constantly sniffing at her door. In a last ditch attempt to keep the house on, she decides to let out some of the rooms for the summer.
Daniel, who is just coming out of an unhappy marriage, is first to arrive. It is not his wife Bee's fault that he has been so unhappy, but the fact that he has never been true to his real feelings. Now, he is trying to cause Bee least pain but also find a way of remaining a father to his two daughters as well as living the life that he wants.
Next to arrive is Daff. Her husband has left her and is now living with another woman while she struggles to bring up her difficult teenage daughter Jess. Jess has decided that she wants to spend some time with her father which provides a break for Daff and the chance to rediscover herself.
Finally there is Michael, Nan's son, who is running away from a disastrous affair with his married boss, if she would only leave him alone. He is also frustrated that he always seems to fall for the wrong kind of woman for him and this is yet another example of things ending badly.
They all need a bit of respite from everyday life and Nan and Windermere (the house) provide welcome relief. Before long, they are all confiding in this wise old lady and lapping up the advice that she gives freely. When Jess turns up, the old lady really seems to relate to her and gets to the heart of what might be troubling her. She is a fantastic character and it is through her that all the different characters' stories become entwined. The other characters are all very good too and Jane Green has created a collection of people that you just want to read about.
All of the different story lines are fascinating too and. As a reader, I found myself caught up in all that was going on. The stories are all about relationships - how they work and sometimes how they don't - and that is always fascinating to me. As the story progressed all the different stories merged to create new ones. However, there were one or two quite extreme coincidences which I did feel were just that little too far fetched and that did slightly annoy me. Otherwise though, I found this an extremely readable and enjoyable book, with a gentle and relaxed style that was quite therapeutic. I would definitely recommend it to any Jane Green fans.
The Beach House is currently available on Amazon for £4.54 (December 2010).
I have just finished reading The Beach House by Jane Green. I've read a few of her books and always enjoyed them. This one does not disappoint.
The book is set around a character called Nan, a once glamourous Lady, who now she is in her mid sixties, is regarded as aging and eccentric. Nan's husband disappeared 30 years previously, leaving a pile of clothes on the beach, so presumably had committed suicide, leaving her with his massive gambling debts and a young son to bring up on her own.
Nan lives in a run down house on a huge 9 acre estate on the island of Nantucket. Running low on funds, she decides to rent out several of the rooms of her house for the Summer. This is how we meet the several characters whos lives become entwined through the course of the book.
There's Daph - a recently divorced single mum, who is looking to re-discover herself after so many years of concentrating on being a wife and mother. There's Daniel, who on the surface has everything, but has left his wife and is trying to come to terms with emotions he has buried for years and then Michael, who is Nan's son.
Michael has been having an affiar with his boss and comes back to Nantucket to extricate himself from the situation when he realises it wasn't what he wanted.
All the residents of Nan's house are emotionally damaged, but over the course of the Summer and with some not unwelcome meddling from Nan, they sort their lives out and get back on the right track.
For me this book is chick-lit at its best. Once I started reading it I struggled to put it down - desperate to know how things would pan out for all the characters.
A great holiday or beach read.
== Jane Green: The Beach House ==
Jane Green is a "chick lit" author who I have come across a few times during my life! I love reading, especially chick lit type books, and even though been pregnant I don't seem to have the energy to sit up all night reading anymore, I still love to have a read of my books before bed most nights!
This book was the last one I read, and although it took me a couple of weeks to complete it, I really enjoyed it!
I bought this book a while ago from Books Direct book club online, and it has sat on my book shelf for a while now, having hundreds of books (literally!) on my bookcase to read, this one wasn't one of the "top" books I had to read, so it was a while before I picked it up to read! But I needed a sunshine fix in April when the rain was pouring, and this book, been called The Beach House, made me think of holidays in the sun and so I decided on this to be my Spring read!
== Plot ==
The story is about an old lady, Nan, living on an Island called Nantucket in the USA, she has lived there all her life in her huge house, Windermere, she has lived there ever since way before her husband Everett killed himself due to his gambling addiction and her son, Matthew was born.
Now 40 years on, she is still there all alone bar her house keeper Sarah. And in money problems! With hundreds of builders and developers hunting after buying the huge house off Nan for millions of dollars to build elite mansions for the rich!
So, instead of selling the house and her memories with it, she decides to open up the spare rooms to holiday makers.
It is then the story develops into the lives of Michael- Nan's middle aged son and his love life, Daniel and his wife Bee, and their two young children, and the new battles they have to face, and finally Daff and her family when her husband has left her for another woman and her teenage daughter seems to have drifted away from her. Life will never be the same for any of them again though once the truths are revealed and revelations are turned out.
== Opinion ==
The book took me a while to get into, but this was more my lifestyle than the book itself! Once I started reading again, I found it hard to put the book down again! The lives of all the characters gel together very well, and keep the reader engrossed in the story and what is going to happen! It keeps you guessing and has enough twists and turns throughout to keep us engrossed! The book has us second guessing each and every judgement we make about the characters and what is going to happen in their own individual stories, which I love, I hate a book which is very predictable and I know right from the start what is going to happen!
The story is written in the Third Person (i.e. Emma went to the shops to meet up with the man she met in the bar last night.), and is cut up into relatively short chapters, each of which goes into the stories of all characters rather than a chapter for one character then another chapter for another.
The book is 420 pages long as so isn't too long for a summer read or something to take to bed with you.
I thought this book was going to be very much summer and holidays related, but it didn't turn out to be that kind of book, I love the books by Belinda Jones because of the imagery used by the author which takes you to the place the book is about, I love this in a book as it means I can be carried away to the story and the place and "be there" with the characters, this book didn't really have this, so it was quite hard to lose myself in the book and imagine the scene it set.
I would recommend this book to young adults and the middle aged; it is mainly aimed at the female audience, but may not be to the taste of the younger audience, the characters are all between 30 and 80 or so, whereas when I was a teen I would rather read books about people my own age, something I could relate to a little more.
== Would I read it again? ==
I don't think this would be a book I would keep to re-read as I do with some books, I think this will be a book I pass onto my mum for her to read and pass on to someone else. Although the story was good and kept me reading, it wasn't the best book I have ever read, but it also wasn't anywhere near the worst!
So not one I would read again, but one I would recommend to other people to read if they were looking for a simple book to read!
As a fan of Jane Green books I am over half way through her collection now. For my holiday I wanted a beach read and that is exactly what I got with The Beach House. A chic-lit beach read actually on set on the beach.
** The Plot **
The book begins with the lovely eccentric 65 year old Nan Powell who lives in a beautiful crumbling house set on 9 acres in Nantucket. She has lived on her own for a long time due to her husband committing suicide after racking up a lot of gambling debt. This left Nan having to pay his bills and bring up their son Michael who is now living in New York.
The book takes a change when Nans financial advisor comes to inform her that she has no money left and suggests she sells the Beach House. Nan cannot bear the thought of losing her home and so comes up with a plan to rent out the rooms for the summer to earn some money little does she know these people become part of her family.
The way Jane Green writes this book is amazing she gives you this base of a story then goes elsewhere to bring in the other characters, but this is all entwined so well.
We are introduced to the characters Bee and Daniel who a married couple who are having marital issues. Daff and Richard, and their daughter Jess,who has difficulty coping with the divorce of her parents. And then there is Michael, Nan's son, and his complicated relationship with his married boss, Jordana.
Daniel, Daff, Jess and Michael all come for the summer to get away from their problems and stay with Nan in Nantucket. There are twists and turns as the characters try to make sense and changes of their lives.
** My Opinion**
The Beach House is the perfect beach read. The book is quite serious in some places, but this is very light so does not make you feel low like in some books. I have read a number of books like this where there is a main character in the book with one story line and then a few other characters are then added with a completely different story and I usually find it hard to keep up with who is who and what their story is and seem to come together as a book. This was not the case with The Beach House the way Jane Green writes about the characters and brings them all together is beautifully done. I feel this book is one of my top 3 Jane Green books so far. I couldn't put this book down.
I've read several Jane Green books in the past so I was pleased to come across this one at my local library.
After finding herself in financial difficulty, Nan realises that she will have to rent out her house. Being in an idyllic-sounding location, it's hardly surprising that more than a few people are looking to escape their everyday lives and stay at the house. The main story begins once these characters converge at Nan's beach house.
Nan - Renting out her beach house is the catalyst for bringing the other characters together. She is somewhat eccentric, but likeable and has a fair amount of baggage from the past weighing her down which makes a surprise reappearance in her life.
Michael - Nan's son has embarked on an ill-advised affair with his boss, who now won't take no for an answer. His stay at the beach house is designed to get her off his back and give him some breathing space. I liked him as a character and found him to be one of the more well-rounded characters in the book.
Daniel - He is experiencing a crossroads in his life that is silently destroying wife Bee but he can no longer live a lie. Although I liked his character, I found him to be a bit dull as his character didn't extend much beyond his situation.
Bee - As I've previously hinted, she is struggling to cope with husband Daniel's revelation. I couldn't really warm to her as a character as there was something that I couldn't take to.
Daff - Having split from her husband, Daff is adjusting to life as a single parent and to the hurt and anger of her daughter Jess, who blames her for her father's decision to leave them. I really liked Daff as a character and she was my favourite.
Jess - Daff's daughter is coping badly with her parents' divorce and is a somewhat prickly and stroppy character. At first, I found her immature and annoying until I began to understand her character better.
As is typical of Jane Green, the book is written in a light and easy style trying too hard to be overly fluffy. The characters are very realistic, even if I didn't like all of them. The plot might sound basic but it's only really a good excuse to get the various characters in the same place at the same time, and this is where things begin to get interesting. Jane Green delves deep into their characters to explore them. Unlike many 'chick lit' books, I didn't feel that the ending was too predictable.
I like to read books from various genres and sometimes there is nothing more appealing than a nice, easy-to-read chick-lit book, especially if I am going on holiday. It was searching for holiday reading that had me in Tesco, perusing the shelves for something light and entertaining. I spotted The Beach House by Jane Green and thought it would probably be ideal. It was part of an offer, 2 for £7. The cover design is simple with the title set against a metallic turquoise background with small nautical illustrations.
Jane Green is an English born author who now lives in America. She is synonymous with the chick-lit genre and I have often seen her books about. I only recall reading Mr Maybe and Babyville and both of those were a long time ago but I was sure I had enjoyed them so had no qualms about buying another one.
Nan is a rather eccentric old lady who lives in a delightful but run-down property called Windermere in the exclusive beach island area of Nantucket. She has financial worries that may lead her to leave the home she has loved since the day she first saw it. Her son, Michael, knows that he owes her a visit but his life as an artistic jeweller keeps him busy. Elsewhere other peoples lives are falling apart. Thoughtful Daniel has realised that life with his beautiful wife and sweet daughters is not as idyllic as it appears. Stroppy teenager Jess is finding the break-up of her parents marriage hard to cope with and her mother, Daff, feels like a failure. Everybody feels that a change of scenery will help heal the problems in their lives and as they gradually find their way to Nantucket Nan finds that she, too, benefits from the influx of new people. As their stories unfold will they find the peace they are seeking or are they just running away from their problems?
At 440 pages this is a reasonable length book but it certainly did not take me very long to read. Although I actually liked the basic storyline I felt that some of the characters were lacking in real personality. Nan was well created but definitely a little too good to be true, I am not sure that she would have developed the relationships described so quickly, especially considering what we learn of her past. Daff was likeable and also believable but her ex-husband was portrayed as ridiculous in the way he could not see through his daughter's excessive behaviour. Daniel and his wife Bee just stayed too two-dimensional for my liking. When reading I like to feel that I really get to know the central characters and can almost predict their behavioural quirks, with these two I just couldn't work them out. Michaels turmoils were better described and you could understand his relationships with most people but I felt that the relationship with his mother was never particularly explored.
Having said all that I still found this a good read. For holiday literature there is nothing to beat delightful descriptions of sunny days exploring new areas. The storyline was reasonably predictable but Jane Green managed to throw in just enough twists to make it enjoyable rather than boring. If you are looking for complicated plots and serious dram then this genre will not be for you. However if you want an absorbing read that will have you smiling and dreaming of summer then pick yourself up a copy!
RRP £7.99 but always available much cheaper!
I'm not a fussy reader. If a book is captivating enough to grab my attention quickly, I will more than likely see it through to the bitter end. That said, I am short on time for reading these days so I don't look for anything too heavy or taxing, or things that make me think too much (shamefully!). These days I like my books warm and funny, with a gripping enough storyline to keep me turning the pages. So when I heard Jane Green had released a new book it went straight onto my Amazon wishlist.
Jane Green is up there for me with my other favourite chick-lit authors, Marion Keyes and Tasmina Perry. She has the ability to provide me with 300 or so pages of pure escapism that can keep me awake in bed until the wee hours, still reading, even though I know I should've been asleep hours ago.
Her latest offering is a heart wrenching but heart warming tale which revolves around 4 characters: Nan is an eccentric but loveable widow of indeterminate age who lives on the fantasy island of Nantucket, so idyllic does it seem. Her age old residency and ownership of a sprawling, charming old house named Windermere is under threat when Nan's comfortable financial rug is pulled from under her. Missing the vibrancy that Windermere used to house in Nan's younger days and also for extra income, she opens her home for the summer to lodgers and attracts a small gathering of lost souls.
Michael, Nan's 40-something son, has as yet been unable to find the elusive Miss Right and instead has recently embarked upon a foolish fling with his married boss.
Daff is lonely and struggling after a divorce, finding it hard to connect with her difficult teenage daughter.
When Daniel arrives at Windermere he just has taken the first steps towards happiness for himself but in the process has caused heartbreak for his wife, Bee.
Nan is quietly confident of a certain magic quality that hangs around Windermere and the island of Nantucket, but is it enough to heal the aching hearts? And will this magic quality reveal more than Nan bargained for?
Jane Green once again spins a funny, compelling fable that will have you devouring each chapter, eager to learn the story's end. Her ability to construct likeable characters that you can't help but root for is certainly helpful.
That said, the character of Jessica, Daff's daughter most definitely provides a stark contrast to the other gentle characters this story portrays. A stubborn teenager, smarting from the pain of her parents divorce, the way Jane Green describes Jess's temper tantrums and difficult behavior was enough to set my nerves on edge. The character is very well placed though, and brings another dimension to the plot, so is not needlessly irritating.
The idyllic beach setting on treasure island makes the reader yearn to step inside the story and take a slice of it back home with them. There is something fantastic about the idea of living at the beach, for children and adults alike, kind of a year round holiday.
Overall, another brill read from Ms Green, not her best, but certainly good enough and as ever, I eagerly await the next one!
Thanks for reading.
As a fan of Jane Green's previous books I was excited to notice this new title in the 3 for 2 section of waterstones and quickly added it to my basket. I have been reading a lot of heavier material lately and felt in the need for some light reading of the chick lit variety and I knew Green wouldn't dissapoint and thankfully she didn't.
Jane Green is a journalist turned book author who used to write for the Daily Express until she discovered her talent for book writing with her first novel Straight talking. The beach house is her 10th novel in a list of best sellers including Spellbound, Bookends, Babyville and Life swap.
The Beach House is a story about one summer that changed the lives of many people. Sounds boring and cliche right? Wrong.
Nan is a fantasticly free spirited woman living in a house in Nantucket, she loves her life but misses her big house being full of people since the death of her husband and her son Michael growing up and making a life for himself as a jeweller in New York. So when Nan hears the bad news from her financial advisor that there is just no more money left and that she will soon need to sell her much loved Windemere, the house that Michael grew up in and that holds so many memories for Nan, that she cannot bear to part with it. Then comes a bright idea, Nan will open the house as a rental to guests for the summer season, rooms with bed and breakfast. She is killing two birds with one stone so to speak, her house will be full again and she will be making some money to help her survive without giving up the house.
Nan's beautiful old home is soon full of life again with the arrival of Daniel, who is breaking the heart of his wife Bee albiet not on purpose and who seems kind of lost in life, Daff, gorgeous in a natural way but who is trying to find herself after her divorce from her husband Richard who is currently giving her a well earned break from her teenage daughter Jess who Daff fears she is losing more by the day. And finally Nan's son Michael who comes home to relax and regain some perspective after a stupid fling with his married boss.
With so many people searching for answers in Nan's house will they find them? Will Daff find a way to reconnect with her stroppy teen daughter Jess? Will Daniel and Bee ever be able to deal with the reasons behind their split ammicably? What other secrets will be brought to the forefront of life in quiet Nantucket?! You will have to wait and see because I won't spoil the story for you!
I am a self confessed Jane Green fan so there was a large chance I was going to love this novel, but I have to say that of all her books so far The Beach House is definately my favourite.
Maybe the book came at the right time for me, I am currently have a bit of a quarter life crisis where I'm not sure where my life is going so I had definate empathy with a few of the characters in the book who were feeling like the were missing something in their lives.
Green has a brilliant way with characterisation that really draws you in and makes you feel as if you are part of the lives of her characters. For example reading about how hard life is for Daff when she can't seen to connect with her daughter Jess after her divorce, reminded me of how awful I was to my mother growing up. I was always close to my father, but reading about Daff made me think of how my mother must have felt when I lashed out at her after a bad day at school as a teenager. I think any woman who is having trouble dealing with a recent split would love this book, it shows how people can overcome things without even realising it is happening. The healing can begin with something so small you barely notice, until one day you are smiling again and things are looking brighter.
Definately one for the chick lit lovers out there, this fantastic story of secrets, heartbreak, finding happiness and the power of a new place to heal the soul is one to give you a kick into doing something about that project you have been wanting to finish or that holiday you have been meaning to take as well as a story that will melt even the most frozen of hearts.
5 out of 5 for Jane Green's 10th novel!
Price : £7.99 retail price but can be found on amazon marketplace from 0.53p new and used.
There's something alluring about the idea of living by the seaside, I always wonder what it would be like to be able to stroll to the beach whenever you feel like it. My only experience of doing so was, briefly, off-season Morecambe which wasn't, sadly, quite as halycon as the world the characters in this book are drawn to. The story here is set in Nantucket, an island off the New England coast, where days are a little more sunnier than in our Northern seaside towns, and real estate prices a little higher no doubt.
Jane Green has written a pretty perfect Summer read with this, her latest book. The story is set around Nan, a likeable eccentric in her twilight years. We meet her in the first pages of the book as she cycles her bike around the island, popping into an absent holiday house owner's swimming pool for a swim and generally enjoying life. Nan has an interesting past, as we will discover in the book, but owns Windermere, a rambling and crumbling house set in nine acres, and practically circled by developers keen to build on the land.
Nan has slightly fallen on hard times and decides to let out some rooms in her house for the Summer, and so the story unfolds. This isn't perhaps a very original premise for a story, it is an easy way of bringing different characters together to a new place, however Jane Green manages to create a set of likeable and believable personages. This is a real page turner which strikes just the right balance of interest and intrigue without being a taxing read.
We meet Michael, Nan's son, who is drawn back to the island after his personal life has taken a disasterous turn. There is Daniel, married to Bee, who is finding out that he isn't the person he thought he was and struggling with being a husband, whilst loving his two daughters, and Daff, who has been left by her husband completes the band of lodgers. They are all overseen by Nan, who has ways of quietly directing them in the way their lives are going but is also going to find her life much changed by the end of the book.
All the characters find themselves facing different challenges in this book, the decisions they have to made all being magically made somewhat easier by the effect of living in this house. Whether it be questions about their sexauality, worries about a mother-daughter relationship, or lack of a soul mate, being at Windermere is the catalyst these characters need for their lives to move on.
I really enjoyed the story as I read this book. Some developments I could see coming, but this didn't detract from my delectation. There were a few surprises along the way and I found plenty to provide me with just the right amount of escapism to keep me reading rather too late into the night.
If you have read any other Jane Green books, of which I have read about another 7, you will know that you are not going to find high-fluting literature here, but this is a worthy addition to her bibliography. If you enjoyed some of her other titles like "Spellbound" or "Life Swap", you will find more of the same quite satisfying light read. The characters are likeable, believable and everything turns out the way you would like it to, just as you feel the author has planned it from the start. If I had one criticism it would be that Nan is a little too perfect to be true, however I was happy to go along with this and it didn't effect my enjoyment.
I highly recommend this book as a light holiday or Summer read. I bought it as part of a 2 for £7 Sainsbury's offer, but it is also on Amazon currently for £3.86, details below.
As the French say - Bonnes Vacances!
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Penguin (11 Jun 2009)