From the publisher’s website:
Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college during the early 1980s. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, is grappling with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son’s illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can’t seem to leave behind the regrets of her youth. And Lola, sweet-tempered and absentminded, whiles away her hours–and her husband’s money–on little pills that keep her happy.
Now the friends, all in their forties, converge on Lola’s lavish North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their college years. But as the week wears on and each woman’s hidden story is gradually revealed, these four friends learn that they must inevitably confront their shared past: a failed love affair, a discarded suitor, a betrayal, and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever.
Darkly comic and deeply poignant, Beach Trip is an unforgettable tale of lifelong friendship, heartbreak, and happiness.
I love women’s fiction novels, especially during the summer. Some of the best books I’ve read have been “beach reads,” though the term is deceptive. It makes it seem as if these novels are pure fluff that require no deep thought or attention on the part of the reader. However, in reality, women’s fiction beach reads are often some of the most nuanced novels, with excellent character development and true emotional depth. Beach Trip by Cathy Holton is an excellent example of this type of novel.
Beach Trip follows four women: Lola, Sara, Mel, and Annie. Close friends in college, they have reunited twenty years later for a week at the beach. Lola is sweet, but seems completely addled sometimes because she is so out of it. I’m not sure I would want to be friends with her; though she seems incredibly nice, looking after her would be a full-time job. However, I had a lot of sympathy for her, with the loveless marriage she was forced into by her mother.
Mel was definitely a handful. She came across as bitter and resentful that her other friends, especially Sara, were happy. I can’t say I really liked her as a character, but it was nice to see Mel and Sara work through their issues. I think we all have friends like that, people who haven’t been the best to us in the past, but we give them a chance anyways. Though I wasn’t a fan of Mel, I could completely understand why Sara still wanted her in her life, especially after what they had been through together as children. Sara was actually my favorite character in the book, the one I related to the most.
However, it was Annie’s story that I enjoyed the most, though I had trouble sympathizing with her character (not because she was poorly written at all, but because our lives and personalities are so far apart). I loved how she reflected on her life, and what she realized about it in the end. It was a very gratifying story.
I was a little frustrated with the characters because I saw the twist in Beach Trip coming from the very beginning of the book. I thought they were a bit self-involved and didn’t pay enough attention to others. However, in all fairness, they didn’t have the inner monologue that the reader had access to! Still, the twist was very satisfying and went a way I completely didn’t expect. It was really nice to be completely surprised!
I really enjoyed Beach Trip; I thought it was a really worthwhile read. I loved the divided storytelling, reading the juxtaposition of their present-day stories with those from college. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, or are looking for a great beach read, I definitely recommend Beach Trip!
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for arranging this blog tour visit!