Review: Jane Green – The Beach House

the-beach-house-jane-green-e1338152306643Not my favourite Jane Green book, but enjoyable all the same. The book (like a lot of Green’s books) has multiple main characters which means it is hard to keep up with in the beginning. It actually takes until about 200 pages into the book before you have been introduced to all the characters and their background stories and the main plot actually gets underway. I don’t like books that take so long to set the scene, it makes it hard to get involved and you definitely have to persevere to keep up with it until you find out if you’ll actually like the story or not.

Of all the characters, the only one I actually liked was Nan. She raised her son Michael on her own after her husband committed suicide when Michael was 6. She’s having money troubles after her investments went sour and now she is renting out rooms in her house in Nantucket to try and raise some extra cash and avoid selling the house she loves so much. She’s a people person and a bit of a match maker and loves having a full house again.

Her son Michael was having an affair with his boss’ wife Jordana and having broken it off, she won’t leave him alone so he returns to Nantucket to get away. She turns up in Nantucket with the bombshell that she’s pregnant, turning his world upside down as he has now fallen for Daff – a woman staying in Nan’s house.

Daff is there because her husband cheated on her and her daughter Jess has gone to live with him so she’s on her own and wants to get away. Jess is causing major problems trying to get attention from her Dad now that he has a new girlfriend, and soon starts shoplifting to make herself feel better. When her Dad finds out, she is sent back to her mum in Nantucket. It turns out that all she needs is the new place and the new people and she’s a little angel again.

The other family is Bee and Daniel. They’ve just broken up after 6 years of marriage because Daniel has finally admitted that he’s gay. A little too late as they have 2 kids together. Things are (understandably) awkward between them until Bee’s dad is taken ill and the Daniel takes the kids in at Nan’s house to look after them. When Bee’s Dad is out of hospital, she brings him to Nantucket where we learn the biggest bombshell of them all. One that changes everything, first for the worst, then for the better.

I’ll not spoil the end of the book for you as it gets a bit juicy, but I did like the fact that we return to Nantucket a year later to wrap up the story, much better than leaving it hanging.

While I enjoyed the second half of the book, I didn’t like the fact that it took so long to set up all the background stories – perhaps it would have been better with fewer characters, but then there would have been less interweaving of all the stories, which is what I liked about the book. I also didn’t like the fact that most of the book revolved around affairs and marriages breaking up. Perhaps I’m an idealist or the maybe the book was aimed at women slightly older than me, but it wasn’t my favourite part of the storyline.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read, but for the reasons above, I’d only give it 3/5. Unusual for Jane Green as she’s one of my favourites.


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