Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Today: Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

It would perhaps be an over-statement to call Nancy Thayer queen of the beach read. Even so, 16 novels into a fantastic career, one would not go far in saying that about the Nantucket-based author.

Just in case you don’t believe me, have a look at the first edition cover of her latest book, Island Girls (Ballantine). As you can see: ocean, a horizon line, a beach umbrella. If ever a book were designed to tempt you onto the strand, this is it. And the content? Well, the cover informed it. And whichever Ballantine publicist who, in the press release that accompanied the book into reviewer’s hands, warned that, “Thayer’s newest tale will have readers at the edge of their beach towels.”

Like many of Thayer’s novels, Island Girls is set on Nantucket. The girls in question are Meg, Arden and Jenny, three half-sisters who are forced to spend the summer on the island when their dashing father dies and they come home to spend the summer in the house together, as their father insisted so that they might sell it. The trio have old issues that need resolution before they can live together harmoniously and having them forced to work things out seems to be their late father’s unspoken last wish.

Though I liked Island Girls well enough, it lacked some of the grit and substance of a few of Thayer’s earlier titles. Heat Wave, for example. Or The Hot Flash Club. That said, Island Girls is a perfect book to chill with. The conflict resolves itself acceptably, and the characters are engaging enough to warrant spending some time with. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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