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May 4, 2021

Family Reunion by Nancy Thayer ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I feel like summer can truly start when I have Nancy Thayer's latest beach read in my hands. Even though the official start of the summer season is a few weeks away, I happily read this summer's release Family Reunion while a summery thunderstorm shook the house.

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

Family Reunion
May 2021; Ballantine Books; 978-1524798789
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); women's fiction
You never know quite what the story will be when you pick up one of Nancy Thayer's books. Will it be about young women just entering adulthood, a wife and mother trying to remember who is as a woman, a middle-aged woman whose life has taken a sharp turn... So I wasn't shocked when Family Reunion started out with a widow in her 70s alone in the large home that has been in her family for generations. 

Though she is the age of my own mother, I immediately connected with Eleanor. Partly I saw what would be a similar life for me and partly I saw what I hoped my life would look like at her age. As much as I loved Eleanor from the start, I instantly disliked her daughter Alicia and to a slightly less degree her son Cliff. I do believe that is the intent. But I can't remember disliking, okay hating, a character more. Usually, I can see some redeeming quality or understanding of their behavior, but that wasn't the case for Alicia. She reminded me of the parable in the Bible of the prodigal son - she was demanding her inheritance while her mother still lived. And I felt enraged on Eleanor's behalf.

Alicia and Cliff only have small appearances as the story is focused on Eleanor and her granddaughter Ari who is staying the summer with her on Nantucket. One of the things I love most about Thayer's books is the Nantucket setting (I will visit there one day) and I loved seeing the island and summer season through the eyes of two women on different ends of the adult spectrum.

I enjoyed the secondary characters of Silas and Beck. I would have liked a little more of Cleo and Poppy as they seemed like fun characters - maybe they will get their own book one day.

Besides the over-the-top selfishness of Alicia, the only other thing I didn't was a storyline involving Ari. It just seemed like a too easy (or maybe overused) source of conflict. I rolled my eyes when I read it - I won't spoil it for you though.

Overall, it was a great read that has me anxiously waiting for summer to really get here. It also made me want to visit Nantucket more than ever. So whether you need a book for your beach bag or just want to go on a fictional vacation, this is the perfect book.

Buy Family Reunion 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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