The Beach House by Jane Green

I just got a great new futon for the family room and need a good book to read while trying it out. I found an opportunity for a great giveaway at S. Krishna’s Books for:

The Beach House – Jane Green

Title: The Beach House
Author: Jane Green
ISBN: 0670018856
Pages: 352
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Beach Read
Review: Originally posted at Curled Up With A Good Book
Rating: **** 1/2 (out of 5)

Wherever Nan Powell goes, whispers seem to follow. At 65 years old, she is one of the older residents of the ‘Sconset area of Nantucket and has quite a reputation around the island. Everyone thinks of her as the eccentric older woman who has lived alone for far too long. While not quite as crazy as she seems, Nan has indeed been alone for a very long time. Her beloved husband, Everett, committed suicide after racking up an enormous gambling debt, leaving Nan to pay his bills and care for their young son, Michael. Now, Michael is living in New York and has trouble finding the time to visit his aging mother.

One day, Nan’s financial advisor comes to her with some dire news: all the money she put in a hedge fund is gone. Her best option now is to sell her property on Nantucket (called Windermere), which is worth several million dollars. As Windermere is the only thing she has left of her dear Everett (she had to sell off the rest of the property in order to pay his debts), she can’t bear the thought of losing the house. Therefore, she comes up with a brilliant plan: she will rent the rooms and run a B&B for the summer, inviting people into her home and slowly watching them become a part of her family.

While The Beach House’s central character is Nan, there are multiple storylines that slowly weave together to form a coherent whole, much as the various persons in the novel gradually come together to be Nan’s family. There are Bee and Daniel, a married couple with two beautiful young daughters who are having marital issues, though it is hard to determine exactly what the problem is. And then Daff and Richard, and their daughter, Jess, who has difficulty coping with what her parents are going through. And then there’s Michael, Nan’s son, and his complicated relationship with his married boss, Jordana. Green tells all these stories seamlessly; there is no jarring disconnect, as happens so often in novels with multiple storylines.

Green’s talent is evident, and shines through in her writing of the characters in the story. By the middle of the book, the reader is invested in each of these characters; it is important that they work through their problems and find a happier place. And at the end of the book, the reader is sad to leave these characters, to not be able to enjoy more of their stories.

The Beach House is the perfect beach read. It is a drama, and is very serious in some places, but it is never a heavy book. It never drags the reader down or makes the reader feel as if he/she has an added weight on their shoulders. Instead, even at the most dramatic moments, it is hopeful and uplifting – a breath of fresh air. It helps to redefine the genre of “beach read;” these books are no longer complete fluff with a lack of depth. Instead the nuances in The Beach House serve to give us a new view of beach reads (and women’s fiction in general). It is Green’s best work to date.

Head on over and check it out.