This is a beach story, but so much more! Barbara Delinsky never fails to incorporate lessons about life into her books, and this little gem is no exception. Mallory travels home to Bay Bluff, Rhode Island, taking her daughter Joy with her because Joy wants to find her family roots. There, Mallory encounters her sister Anne and her father who suffers from dementia, possible Alzheimer’s. Anne owns a small breakfast restaurant and has cared for their father for the last twenty years. Mallory calls NYC home and is a photographer for real estate brokers. The third sister, Margo, is married with two sons. All three sisters are together for the first time in two decades and the reunion is one of many memories, good but many bad ones. Mallory is trying to navigate the waters of broken relationships with her sister Anne and with their neighbor Jack. She is also determined to solve the mystery of the death of Jack’s mother Elizabeth, a victim of a boating accident involving Mallory’s dad. I thought that the story was slow-paced and deliberate, kind of like the ocean’s tide. The story unraveled just as the sea leaves debris on the shore. There were little pieces everywhere that I had to keep reading to find all of the truths about the relationships and the secrets that everyone had held in for so long. The element that kept the family together and brought some light to the story was Joy, an energetic teen who just wants to get to know her Papa Aldiss and her Aunt Anne. Joy is like a supporting character in a movie without which the movie could not have been made. I liked her character the best because she was honest and up front about everything. I enjoyed the story, guessed the ending easily, and felt comfortable with the beach setting. What I did not like was that the mystery that was referred to throughout the tale was not really resolved. Reflecting back on that, however, I see that Ms. Delinsky was also teaching a lesson there. Not everything in life can be wrapped and tied up with a bow. There are some things that are unresolved at times. The lesson I enjoyed the most was to remember the past, cherish the present and look forward to whatever the future holds. A trite lesson to be sure, but no one teaches a lesson in a novel with more finesse than Barbara Delinsky! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction, but I will add the disclaimer that it is not a completely clean read because of expletives and extra-marital sex scenes.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
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