Berkley, 2016 (2016)
Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle
arah Bradford has been running Folly Cove Inn ever since her husband left her and their three daughters because she wouldn't agree to sell it. The oldest girl, Laura, was twelve, and now at forty lives nearby with her dentist husband and teenage daughter. Even through Laura's husband is a dentist and she boards horses and gives riding lessons, she frequently has to borrow money from her mother and seems to always be in debt. Elizabeth is Sarah's middle child and lives in Southern California where she works in show business, and the youngest, Anne, has been living in Puerto Rico for several years. Now Sarah is about to have a birthday, and when Anne arrives at home unexpectedly with plans to stay for several months, the three girls begin to plan an extravagant birthday party for their mother, who they believe is turning sixty-five.
s we get acquainted with Sarah and her daughters we learn about many lies that have been told by all of them to each other, but particularly by Sarah. Her lies about their father have been harmful to her daughters. They think that their missing father is probably dead and have no idea that Sarah and her sister-in-law, Flossie, have had a number of letters from him over the years. Little by little as the story in
progresses, the misunderstandings and lies come to light, with consequences that cause every member of this family to reevaluate her relationships with the others. They must each look at their own life choices in terms of the new knowledge, as well.
enjoyed the developing plot of this novel with reservations. The many descriptions of the physical characteristics of these women seemed to have little connection with their life experiences. They may have attracted the attention of the men in their lives by how good looking they are or were, but what they were wearing and whether they had put on makeup seemed insignificant considering the various outcomes. For instance, the teenage daughter is thought to be having problems making friends at school, not because of her social ineptitude, but because she is overweight and dresses funny, and suddenly, just because she has her hair styled and her wardrobe changed, she becomes friends with a girl she had previously disliked.
arah, who is actually older than her daughters think she is, has apparently had a face-lift, but always looks better when she's wearing snazzy clothes. All of them seem to worry constantly about their looks, in spite of the fact that their problems with men have been caused by faults in the men much more than in themselves. Perhaps this is just the author's way of emphasizing that the lack of self-confidence is the biggest problem women face in their romantic lives, but I really got tired of all the insinuations that with the right makeup and clothes, any woman can make herself into a beauty whom men can't resist.
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