rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this for the BooksOnTheBrain Summer Reading Series. Thank you Lisa for sending the book! The discussion was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the author’s answers to the questions she was posed.
The first thing I want to say in my review is that I enjoyed the book.
The second is that the book never called me back to read it further. I was always OK with needing to put it down to do something else, and never felt the need to find a few more minutes to read. It took me longer to get through than I expected. But I still enjoyed reading it, and I thought about the characters when I wasn’t reading. Perhaps this indicates that I needed to savor the book, rather than rush through it.
The synopsis from Cathy Holton’s website:
A reunion between four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton’s luminous new novel. Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since the early 1980s and their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, contends with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son’s illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can’t seem to leave the regrets of her youth behind her. And Lola, sweet-tempered and absent-minded, whiles away her hours and her husband’s money, on little pills that keep her happy.
Now the friends, all in their forties, converge on Lola’s idyllic North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their college years. But as the week wears on, and each woman’s hidden story is gradually revealed, they find they must inevitably confront their shared past; a failed love affair, a discarded suitor, a betrayal, and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever.
It is my favorite kind of book– one that is primarily about the characters. The plot only mattered in how it affected the four women.
I liked the way the story flowed between the present and the past. It felt like as I got to know the women, they shared more parts of their history with me, bringing me closer to them. We discovered each of their secrets, and saw how each secret contributed to who they were now.
Mel and Sara were my favorite characters, and the ones I felt I understood best in the end. The choices that Lola and Annie made early on were so foreign to me that I was never able to fully “get” their characters. I still found them interesting reading!
This read was an interesting, entertaining look at the complicated lives and friendships of four women. If that sounds appealing, give this book a try.