Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Published: May 8, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 15 – August 7, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.
Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.
The High Tide Club features Brooke Trappnell who is introduced in Save the Date. You do not need to have read Save the Date first, but I would recommend it as you will know Brooke’s backstory. Save the Date was the first Mary Kay Andrews’ (MKA) book I read and she has since become an author who I will read anything she writes! The High Tide Club has become my favorite of MKA’s that I have read!
The High Tide Club has a little bit of everything that keeps you reading: A little romance, a murder mystery that spans decades, a group of girlfriends, secrets and lies, making amends, and family: the biological one and the ones you choose.
There are two timelines that connect: One starts in the 1940s, and the other is in present day. I never lost interest in both timeline stories and I never figured the twists out. Everything fits and flows together well. Though it is a fun and intriguing read, there are also some serious situations that occur in the novel including rape and abandoned babies. MKA may be starting to turn a little ‘dark’ in her novels, but they are still enjoyable and definitely easy beach reads.
The High Tide Club is a longer novel, coming in at 470 pages, but I couldn’t really see any of it being discarded. I do have the book, but listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Kathleen McInerney. I have listened to most of MKA’s books on audiobook and McInerney narrates them all. Both of those ladies just go together like peas and carrots!
If you have not given MKA a try you really need to!
Author: Lisa Wingate
Published: September 1, 2015
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Wingate’s third Carolina book follows the highly reviewed, The Prayer Box and The Story Keeper as well as related three novellas.
From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny. . .
Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at The Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a depression-era love story change everything
A pattern seems to be emerging with Wingate’s works: I find them unsatisfying. It seems that when I read her books, I get really involved in the story, I like the characters, I want to find out what happens, the description draws me in, I’m fascinated . . . And then I’m left hanging. It’s not that all the questions aren’t answered, they are, they just aren’t answered satisfactorily. For example, Child is sent to an orphanage, Child disappears from orphanage, brothers and sisters of Child grow up, other lost children from the family reappear, at the end of the book, it’s implied that Child is dead, end of book. That’s it?? Cmon you gotta give me more than that!!!! And this book was exactly the same. The bones of the historical mystery come to light at the end of the book, but no details and no real resolution. End of book.
The story was really interesting and I wanted to learn as much as possible and I couldn’t wait to see what happened . . . And then nothing did. I think I may have to DNF any more of her books because I just can’t live with this emptiness inside!
Everything really was good, until the end. She captures the beauty and mystery of Appalachia, and after reading this book, I wanted to go out to Manteo to spend a weekend. I even mostly liked the characters. It was just unsatisfying.
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Perfect Son by Lauren North. One of us enjoyed it, the other not so much. This is what is great about reviews, we all have different experiences and opinions and even though we read the same book, we can have varying opinions of it.
The Perfect Son
Author: Lauren North
To Be Published: August 13, 2019
A disturbing and shocking debut novel of psychological suspense about a recently widowed mother, her young son, and the lengths she’ll go to in order to keep him safe.
When Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital the day after her son Jamie’s eighth birthday, she’s sure of these things: She’s been stabbed, her son is missing, her brother-in-law and her grief counselor are involved. But no one is listening to her.
After her husband, Mark, died suddenly in a terrible accident a few months earlier, the only thing keeping Tess together is Jamie. As they struggle to make sense of their new life without Mark, they find joy in brief moments of normalcy like walking to school and watching television together. Life is hard without Mark, but Tess has Jamie, and that’s what matters.
But there in the hospital, confused and surrounded by people who won’t listen, Tess’s world falls apart. To save her son, she must piece together what happened between Mark’s death and Jamie’s birthday, but the truth might just be too much for her to bear.
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway and the cover really intrigued me, so I read it. What surprised me most was how easy to read it was. I finished it in less than 48 hours and I read huge chunks at once. Before I knew it, I was almost finished and I felt like I couldn’t put it down. The emotions were also very overwhelming. I know that many people will react to Tess they way they did with Rachel in The Girl on the Train; that she’s too weak and she’s a set back to women’s independence, and so on. For the record, I also really enjoyed The Girl on the Train.
Tess’s reaction to losing her husband sounds pretty reasonable to me. In fact, I experienced some pretty crazy anxiety while reading the first half of this book. All I could think about was how horrible my life would be if I lost Ivan. I will admit that I didn’t guess the ending of this book. I should have and I feel a little dumb that I didn’t, but in my defense, I had a million theories scrolling in my head through the whole book. I’d get one little detail and then I’d run with it and expand it into the most unlikely scenarios that weren’t even close to reality. Overall, I was happy with the ending.
Obviously, I can’t get into any details, but considering how predictable it actually was, I did enjoy it and was satisfied. I would recommend it to those who enjoy psychological thrillers, just be prepared for that predictability. Thankfully, there were other good things I got from the story other than just solving the mystery. A very good book!
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
With an intriguing premise and a “pull you in from the first few lines” introduction, The Perfect Son had promise, but sadly it fell victim to “I read too many thrillers” as I had the big twist figured out from the first few chapters. It was also very slow moving and I was not attached to Tess. I felt for her with the grief she is experiencing, but is she just grieving, is she crazy, or is someone ‘after’ her and her son Jamie?
Tess is yet another unreliable narrator, and by now you know those are mainly a miss for me. Occasionally, the unreliable narrator works for me (see my review for The Woman in Cabin 10 here), but for the most part they miss the mark.
Even the ending had no conclusion; It was as if nothing was learned from the situation. This is North’s debut novel and even though it was not for me, I would give her writing another try.
Kim won two arc copies via Goodreads and she sent me one so we could do a double review.