Summer is officially here - time for beach reads!
The lazy days of summer are finally here. Time to grab that sunscreen, beach chair and umbrella and relax with the perfect beach read. My top choice for this summer is Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews. Set on the sunny beaches of Florida, it has the perfect combination of romance, mystery and comedy. Though it is a tale of divorce and betrayal, the author tells it with her trademark humor and mixes a bit of revenge and sweet justice in for good measure. This one is chick-lit at its best.
Grace Stanton is an interior designer and lifestyle blogger, and with her advertising executive husband, Ben, has made her blog GraceNotes a huge success. She thinks she is living a perfect life, until one evening she catches her husband and her assistant fooling around in his car. She confronts them, and in a fit of anger she drives his prized sports car into the family pool and leaves to spend the night at her mother's. Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home and denied access to not only her checking account and credit cards, but even her beloved blog. She has no choice but to move in with her widowed mother above the rundown beach bar her family has owned for years called the Sandbox. She is left with no relationship, no money, no work, no friends and sentenced to attend a mandatory six-week "divorce recovery group" by an angry judge who frowns on those who take revenge on their cheating spouses. It is through these weekly sessions that Grace meets Ashleigh, Camryn, and Suzanne, all women who have also reacted badly to their philandering husbands, and the lone man in the group, Wyatt Keller. When the so-called therapist "passes out" at their first session, the group decides to continue their own therapy at the Sandbox, with Grace's mother, Rochelle, playing the unofficial role of therapist. The bond that develops between the members of this unlikely group is what makes the rest of this book so enjoyable.
Having no choice but to rebuild her life, Grace finally gets the break she has been waiting for. On her morning jog one day she discovers a run-down Florida "cracker" house with potential. After a brief conversation with the landlord, she decides to put her interior design skills to work and take on its renovation. She jots down her ideas and takes photos of her progress to use as fodder to start a new blog called TrueGrace. The landlord agrees to Grace's plans for the little house but has one additional condition - Grace must keep the poor little abandoned poodle-mixed dog the previous tenants left behind. She names the dog Sweetie and they form an instant bond. Throwing herself into the project, Grace attempts to undo all the damage of the former tenants. Spending her days stripping floors, sanding cabinets, and picking out paint colors, Grace proudly displays each accomplishment on her new blog. I found myself cheering her on as she overcomes each challenge in her renovation of the house, as well as in her life. She also begins a flirtatious friendship with Wyatt, who is battling with his own issues. I don't want to give away too much, but he does become an important part of Grace's life.
Once I started this book I could not put it down. What I love about Mary Kay Andrews is that she draws you in to each of the character's lives so you become emotionally vested in what they are dealing with. Of course there is a little romance, but the overall message of this book is to show you what basically good people are capable of when pushed to their limits by people they thought were the love of their life. What more do you want for the perfect summer read?
Looking for other great beach read authors? Try Elin Hilderbrand or Nancy Thayer.