Two Great Beach Reads

I was lucky to receive an email from NetGalley about these two books before I left on vacation, as they ended up being exactly what I needed–great beach reads. Although they’re different in style, I enjoyed them both and zipped through them, completely absorbed in the stories they tell.

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

16058650Format: E-book galley

Length: 336 pages

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Source: NetGalley

From the publisher:

After losing her job and leaving the husband she dearly loves, twenty-nine-year-old journalist Gemma Hendricks is desperate to save her career by scoring an interview with Colin Firth. But a much more local story steals her heart—and just may save her rocky marriage too. Thirty-eight-year-old waitress Veronica Russo, shocked by the unannounced arrival of the daughter she gave up for adoption two decades ago, becomes an extra on the movie set, wondering if happy endings—and a real life Mr. Darcy—are even possible. Twenty-two-year-old student Bea Crane, alone and adrift, longs to connect with Veronica, her birth mother, but she’ll discover more than she ever imagined in this coastal Maine town. And just when they least expect it in a summer full of surprises, all three women may find what they’re looking for most of all…

Here’s what I thought:

This is the story of three women who are each, for different reasons, going through a period of personal crisis. Although there is emotional drama, nothing really bad happens and all the main characters are likeable. While this might sound a little boring, the setting of small town coastal Maine is fun and inviting, and there’s even a bit of romance thrown in to keep it interesting.  My favorite character was Veronica, the town pie-maker extraordinaire, and reading about all the different pies made me alternately hungry and inspired to get into the kitchen (I’ve even since bought a pie cookbook, although I haven’t tried to make anything yet). The ending of the book was predictable but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story. Recommended beach reading.

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

16058645Format: E-book galley

Length: 352 pages

Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Source: NetGalley

From the publisher:

Impressionable and idealistic, Esme Garland is a young British woman who finds herself studying art history in New York. She loves her apartment and is passionate about the city and her boyfriend; her future couldn’t look brighter. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.  

Esme’s boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, is old-money rich, handsome, successful, and irretrievably damaged. When he dumps Esme—just before she tries to tell him about the baby—she resolves to manage alone. She will keep the child and her scholarship, while finding a part-time job to make ends meet. But that is easier said than done, especially on a student visa.  

The Owl is a shabby, second-hand bookstore on the Upper West Side, an all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters: handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke; Chester, who hyperventilates at the mention of Lolita; George, the owner, who lives on protein shakes and idealism; and a motley company of the timeless, the tactless, and the homeless. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her? Even when Mitchell, repentant and charming, comes back on the scene?

Here’s what I thought:

It’s fair to say that this book was not what I expected. It starts off reading like chick lit (and I really enjoy well-written chick lit and don’t use the term in a derogatory way), but then it surprised me by becoming something else. What, exactly, it becomes is hard to define. Although Esme is in general a positive person, the story is not particularly “light”, with a lot of very real emotional angst and touching on deeper subjects. As a PhD student in art history, the character of Esme is the essence of an enlightened woman, yet she makes choices that fly in the face of logic and reason. I had a really hard time with this, even as I admired the way Meyler portrays her. There is also a lot of clever writing, and I found myself highlighting lines throughout my reading of the book. The story did not go at all in the direction that I expected, and although I would have liked more closure by the end of the novel, I have to be impressed by the way Meyler doesn’t write the story the way you think she will (or even should). I think the story will stay with me longer because of it, and because of the unexpected realism in what I thought would be a light-hearted beach read. Recommended.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for providing me with a copy of these books.

Buy Finding Colin Firth from The Book Depository*

Buy The Bookstore from The Book Depository*

*THIS IS AN AFFILIATE LINK, SO IF YOU PURCHASE AN ITEM USING IT, I WILL BE PAID A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE PURCHASE PRICE.
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4 thoughts on “Two Great Beach Reads

  1. Pingback: The July Wrap-Up | Too Fond

  2. A.M.B.

    Both of these books sound interesting to me, particularly Meyler’s “The Bookstore.” I like books that aren’t predictable (though a predictable ending in an otherwise well-written book usually doesn’t bother me too much).

    Reply

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