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July 1, 2019

Surfside Sisters by Nancy Thayer ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I fell in love with Nancy Thayer's writing when I read The Guest Cottage (read my review), but I haven't had the chance to pick up any of her other books (I bought The Island House last summer in hopes of getting it read. Maybe this year). Because I so wanted to read another one of her wonderful Nantucket tales, I stalked NetGalley until I saw this summer's book, Surfside Sisters, listed.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

July 2019; Ballantine Books; 978-1524798727
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); women's fiction
I didn't love the story as much as I did The Guest Cottage, but I did love Thayer's writing. I don't have much of a bucket list, but ever since reading her books, Nantucket has been on the list. You can tell she loves the place; it shines through her words. I did enjoy how this book focused on the year around residents of the island rather than the visitors that descend upon it every summer.

Surfside Sisters focuses on two best friends who have grown up on the island. We journey through their friendship from childhood to middle school into high school and beyond. As they grow older we see more of their relationship and lives. Childhood and the tween years are briefly touched on with each year of high school getting more and more detailed. It is really post-high school that the story focuses on. I think having the girls be so young is why the story was less enjoyable for me. I couldn't click with them and some of the situations I found annoying (I'm in a different season in my life). As they grow up and enter their thirties I did identify a bit more with them and the story became more enjoyable for me as well.

Keely is from a middle-class family. She's the only child of two working parents. Isabelle, on the other hand, comes from a very well off family - okay they are rich. She spends the summers and other school breaks with her brother and parents traveling Europe and extended trips to New York City. By outward appearances, you wouldn't think they ran in the same circle (and maybe in a larger location they wouldn't have) let alone be best friends, but what binds them together is their dream of one day publishing a novel.

For how much Keely loves Isabelle, she is also jealous of everything she has. While she doesn't want Sebastian for a brother (because she's in love with him), she wants to be part of their family. Since the story focuses much more on Keely, I had trouble determining if Isabelle was just as jealous or if she was just selfish - begrudging Keely the little successes she had (because she worked her butt off to get them). There were definitely times I didn't like Isabelle. While I grew to love Keely more and more as she showed an inner strength, first by dropping out of college to help support her mother after her father dies (though I wondered what kind of mother lets a child do that) then by never letting go of her dream despite the odds.

As it often happens in life, as they grow up they grow apart until an incident finally tears them apart. Perhaps the story picked up for me after their estrangement because I too have lost a best friend due to life circumstances and like Keely, as I've gotten older I have wished I could have that close friendship once again.

When I reviewed The Guest Cottage, I compared its theme to a bowl of cherries. Thayer continues this theme in Surfside Sisters - while reading the story I actually thought 'life is like a bowl of cherries' and then remembered that I had the same thought about the other book.

Without the overly gritty bits of life, Thayer provides a nice, realistic drama with a pleasantly happy ending. It really is the perfect book for the lazy days of summer.

Buy Surfside Sisters at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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