Beach Books – Good All Year Around
Cocoa Beach: A Novel by Beatriz Williams (William Morrow, $27.99, 384 pages)
Ms. Williams is the author of six previous novels. If they are anywhere as well-crafted as Cocoa Beach, readers may have an entire vacation’s worth of adventures from this author alone. The U.S. Prohibition Era brings the Florida coastal town of Cocoa Beach more than just exciting parties and illicit drinking.
The central character, Virginia Firzwilliam, has endured years of abandonment by her secretive husband only to be called to Florida after his death in a house fire. Virginia learns the hard way that she and her little daughter are at the center of a deadly deception.
All Summer Long: A Novel by Dorothea Benton Frank (William Morrow, $15.99, 374 pages)
Get ready for a study in contrasts. A popular and successful interior designer finds herself held to the promise she made 14 years prior when she married a college professor. Nick, the professor, has has long-awaited retirement dream fulfilled – a move back to Charlestown, South Carolina. Olivia, who is a fourth-generation New Yorker, has quite a task ahead. She must adapt to the cultural differences of her new home and keep her design business alive.
Ms. Benton Frank has a beguiling way with words, especially when she’s describing her beloved Low Country. Readers who enjoy this novel will be happy to know that there are 16 published works by this prolific author.
The Beach at Painter’s Cove: A Novel by Shelley Noble (William Morrow, $15.99, 432 pages)
Way up north in Connecticut, family estrangement is the theme of this novel set at the run-down mansion known as Muses by the Sea. The interplay among four generations of a most dysfunctional family can be confusing as there are proper names, nicknames and strange last names. The original family name is Whitaker. Long ago, Wesley and his wife Leonore hosted an artist’s colony on the property of their rambling home situated on Painter’s Cove.
The drama of four generations coming together to decide the fate of the house and property is at best hard to follow. Author Noble uses breathless dialogue and much scurrying about to tell her tale of jealousy and misunderstanding. A family tree at the front of the book would have been a useful addition.
Despite the drawbacks, readers will connect with the message of enduring love that unites the family.
Review copies were provided by the publisher.