The Beach House by Jane Green
Published By: Penguin
Published On: August 1, 2009
Genre: Chick Lit
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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.
With plenty of changes and misfortunes in the lives of a group of strangers, they each decide to escape their day-to-day lives for a summer on the island of Nantucket where infamous resident Nan is renting her home as a house share. When the group are thrown together in Nan’s home, friendships form and the group must help each other through the trials in their lives.
For me, this was just an okay read. I found it to be a fun read but nothing particularly special. It is the kind of book I wouldn’t mind reading while laying on a beach or by the pool during the summer while not wanting to do too much thinking. However, it is not something I would go out of my way to read.
One of my main issues with this book was the very slow first half. From the synopsis I had understood that this book was about a group of people who had gone to the island of Nantucket for the summer. Half way through the book, not one person had made it to the island, except Nan who lived there. I felt like far too much time was spent introducing the characters and their stories, which made for a very slow read.
Despite the amount of time taken to introduce the characters, I didn’t connect with any of them. The characters were likable and fun to read about but there were just too many to properly connect with. I found myself getting confused between the people and their stories and connecting the wrong couples as they all blended together.
Just as the first half of the book was very slow, the last half went way too fast. So much time was taken up by introducing the characters that everything that happened when they reached the island felt very rushed. Relationships were formed within days of the characters meeting and the instalove aspect made it seem like a badly written YA book.
It may have something to do with the rushed second half of the book but the big plot twists felt very forced. I was reading the book, getting annoyed at the romance but a little bored and then suddenly a not very realistic huge plot twist was forced onto me. It was as though Green was trying too hard to shock the reader but the result was more confusion.
Overall, I like this book and found it an enjoyable read but I was not impressed by the writing or the character development. It is the kind of book I would not mind reading on a summers day while trying not to make my brain work too hard but it is definitely not the best chick lit I have read.