The Beach House by Jane Green
Reasons for reading: I've enjoyed all of Green's books; Building title for the What's in a Name? Challenge
Summary: "Nan Powell is a free-spirited, sixty-five-year-old widow who's not above skinny-dipping in her neighbors' pools when they're away and who dearly loves her Nantucket home. But when she discovers that the money she thought would last forever is dwindling, she realizes she must make drastic changes to save her beloved house. So Nan takes out an ad: Rooms to rent for the summer in a beautiful old Nantucket home with water views and direct access to the beach. Slowly people start moving in to the house, filling it with noise, laughter, and with tears. As the house comes alive again, Nan finds her family and friends expanding. Her son comes home for the summer, and then an unexpected visitor turns all their lives upside down. "
First line: "The bike crunches along the gravel path, weaving around the potholes that could present danger to someone who didn't know the road like the back of their hand."
My thoughts: This was a fairly average chick lit read - enjoyable but fairly predictable. I enjoyed the Nantucket setting, I'm always intrigued by those New England vacation islands. It starts out describing all of the trials and tribulations of all of the people who will eventually move to Nan's house (but you don't know it yet), which isn't my favourite device - I do like it when a bunch of people come together, but I tend to find the descriptions of them beforehand a bit confusing and boring because I don't know the context.
My favourite part was when Nan got the better of the sleazy developer (you knew she would) and Nan is a good character - she seems to alternate a bit oddly between naive and very wise, but she's a loving, eccentric old bird who really wants the best for everyone.
The surprise visitor at the end was mostly a surprise - I half-suspected it and people better at predicting than I am probably would have long before I did, but it still made for a not-bad twist. There are lots of misunderstandings but you know that they'll all work out in the end.
The verdict: Not a bad summer read, but not dazzling.