You might think Beach Trip by Cathy Holton would be a light, fun, summertime romp, based on the cover and the description, but it really isn’t that. I’d call it women’s fiction, which to me means it’s a bit more serious than chick lit, and a lot less fluffy than what I think of as a beach read.
The story is about Lola, Mel, Sara, and Annie, college roommates and close friends who get together some 20 years later, in their 40’s, for a week at the beach. Life has taken them in completely different directions since their college years, but they still have a bond.
Alternating between the past and present, we get to know the women as they were and are. Lola- rich, beautiful, married to the very controlling Briggs, is sweet but childlike- she seemed medicated and in her own little world during the week at the beach. Mel, the wild one, is a twice-divorced writer and a breast cancer survivor who gets the women talking over margaronas. Sara is an attorney whose marriage is suffering under the strain of a difficult medical diagnosis for one of her children. Annie is an empty nester and uptight clean freak with secrets of her own. I related most to Sara, a former career woman with a long marriage and a couple of kids, whose life isn’t perfect, but I found Mel to be the most interesting of the four.
The women don’t connect immediately at the beach- they definitely have their guard up- and it takes almost the entire trip before they have any meaningful conversation with each other. I doubt they would have been friends without their shared history- they are friends because they’ve known each other forever. But as the week wears on and the secrets start coming out, their friendship grows and changes to allow for the mature people they’ve become.
So much of the first 3/4ths of the book is made up of the women’s inner dialogue- being around their old friends brings on a flood of memories- so much so that I kept thinking, are they ever going to really talk to each other? They are all so self involved! But then, finally, they do talk and share their lives with each other. That’s when the book starts to get really good.
I like when a book can surprise me, and there are a couple of big twists in Beach Trip. The ending was great- it totally made the book for me! One twist was obvious to me from the beginning (I’m not sure I’d even call it a twist, but then in our Summer Reading Series discussion, several people said that their favorite part was when it was revealed, so I guess it was a twist). The end, though, really took me by surprise. If you’ve read the book, don’t give it away! It’s a great ending.
Filed under: book clubs, Book Reviews, books, reading, Uncategorized Tagged: | beach trip, Book Reviews, cathy holton, online book clubs, summer reading series, tlc book tours, virtual book tour, women's fiction