Title: Beachcombers: A Novel
Author: Nancy Thayer
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Beach Read
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Rating: 4 out of 5
After their mother’s death, Abbie took over the role of caring for her family when she was just fifteen. She didn’t go to college because she wanted to care for her younger sisters Emma and Lily, as well as their father. Years later, Abbie is working as an au pair in London when she gets a frantic email from Lily – Emma’s fiancé has dumped her and she’s lost her job. She’s returned home to Nantucket, and Lily is really worried about her. Slipping right back into the caretaker role, Abbie runs home to be with her family. However, she doesn’t realize that the summer holds surprises and life-changing events for all the members of the Fox family.
Beachcombers was my first beach read of the summer, and it really fit the bill perfectly. Abbie, Emma, and Lily were all well written characters, and their adventures over the summer in Nantucket made for interesting reading.
I can’t say whether I sympathized with Abbie or Emma more. Abbie was the mothering figure, yet at the same time she was hesitant to become that once again for her family. It was important to her to live life on her own terms; she didn’t want her homecoming to mean that her sister Lily could stop taking on any sort of responsibility. On the other hand, Emma starts out the novel with no direction. Her life has come crashing down around her and she does not know where to turn. She has no reason to get out of bed each morning until Abbie gives her one.
I can definitely say that Lily was the character I sympathized with least. On one hand, she was only twenty-two – she wanted to have fun, not take on responsibility, which is understandable at that age. On the other had, she was petty and selfish, which made her very difficult to like at times. Thayer did an excellent job developing her character though, making her grow up over the course of the novel and begin to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around her.
This was a satisfying read, though things did tend to happen inexplicably quickly. Emma couldn’t get out of bed because of her depression, and a few pages later she’s running around the island. Abbie’s love interest in the novel also comes about quite suddenly. I can understand Thayer’s desire to keep the book moving at a brisk pace, but these jumps were a bit unrealistic.
Still, Beachcombers was an enjoyable novel that is absolutely perfect for a summer read. These women are interesting characters and Thayer does a wonderful job making them seem like real people. If you’re looking for a good book for the beach, make sure you stick this one in your bag.