The Beach House by Jane Green

22 Jul

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

I’ve found that how well you like a novel depends on what you expected from it to begin with.  If you  expect a book to deliver something specific to you (tears, suspense, a thrill, etc.) and it doesn’t, you don’t like the book.  If it meets what you expected you like it, and if it exceeded, you love it.   My expectations used to be way too high which led me to be frequently disappointed.  I had no flexibility with my expecations either – every book must have a plot that blows me away, or a character that is something I’ve never seen before, or make me cry from the 3rd page.  I still set my expectations pretty high, but I’m trying to get better at taking certain books for what they are meant to be – just a nice story that occupies my time.   Not everything has to be some earth-shattering concept that changes how I look at the world!  Setting my expectations more realistically has helped a ton in my enjoyment of reading.  It has taken some practice since I tend to be an extreme realist, but overall this is coming much more easily for me.

The Beach House is a perfect example of one novel I needed to be careful with when setting expectations.  Several years ago I would have passed it up because it wouldn’t be a book to have a profound message.  Now, I simply save it for a time when I want to read something that I expect to hold my attention.  Nothing profound, just tell me a story.  I need to relax.  And sure enough, when I asked the book to deliver that, it did.  Well!   

The main character in this story is Nan, an older, quirky woman who lives alone in a huge old house on the shores of Nantucket.  She live by herself and find she is in need of money so she decides to rent out her house to island visitors.  The house becomes filled with guests and her son joins the mix too.  They bring their own lives and experiences and create a unique dynamic in the house.  The ending has some twists to it, which surprised me. 

This novel was well written with the right amount of description to get you to know and understand the characters.   I liked Nan and all of the other characters just fine.  The Nantucket setting was so great – I could almost smell the salty air when I was reading this.   The plot was developed at a nice pace and all of the story lines were interwined nicely.  The story was heartwarming and touching, but not overly emotional. 

I recommend this book if you want something to hold your attention – it’s light-hearted and fun and  reminds you of a warm sunny beach vacation.

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