I love beach reads season! I love the carefree, relaxed, fluffy appraoch to beach reading every year and as the summer approaches I usually have a list of books that I can’t wait to read on vacation over the summer. This book was right up there for me. It sounded like a blend of The Parent Trap and an HGTV show that I could absolutely get behind. Plus a friend of mine recently went to Destin, Florida and the photos looked amazing so I could completely visualize what this beach house might look like!
But as I got into this one I found that it was NOT in fact a fluffy easy read that I had been expecting. This one had some teeth and substance with some heavier content that I wasn’t exactly expecting. That’s not to say that it wasn’t good because it absolutely was! But I felt like the cover was a little misleading in some ways. The summary clearly promised some family drama and sibling/friendship stuggles but it also promised creative rennovations and romance so when I picked it up I thought it would be a little heavier on those topics but it was actually more focused on the sisters and their relationship.
This was a book that grew on me and took my by surprise. When I realized that it was more emotionally intense that I was expecting, I almost just wanted to pass on it because I was in the mood for easy fluff, but then this one just took hold of me in a surprising way and I was reluctant to put it down and I am glad that I didn’t because it was absolutely wonderful! If you are looking for a beach read that has some teeth this is the book for you, plus it really is a little Parent Trap mixed with an HGTV show but with so much more to recommend itself in the process!
Two best friends torn apart by a life-altering secret. They have one summer to set the record straight.
When twelve-year-olds Kat Steiner and Blake O’Neill meet at Camp Chickawah, they have an instant connection. But everything falls apart when they learn they’re not just best friends—they’re also half-sisters. Confused and betrayed, their friendship instantly crumbles.
Fifteen years later when their father dies suddenly, Kat and Blake discover he’s left them a joint inheritance: the family beach house in Destin, Florida. The two sisters are instantly at odds. Blake, who has recently been demoted from regular nanny to dog nanny, wants to sell the house, while social media influencer Kat is desperate to keep the place where she had so many happy childhood memories.
Kat and Blake reluctantly join forces to renovate the dilapidated house with the understanding that Kat will try to buy Blake out at the end of the summer. The women clash as Blake’s renovation plans conflict with Kat’s creative vision, and each sister finds herself drawn into a summer romance. As the weeks pass, the two women realize the most difficult project they face this summer will be coming to grips with their shared past, and learning how to become sisters. (summary from Goodreads)
My own sister and I have had a contencious relationship over the years, but at the end of they day we are still family and we always work out our issues. That’s what really makes this book shine—-the realness and complexity of the relationship between sisters and friendships. I think the author/s, Ali Brady, really captured what it means to have complicated friendships and relationships in ways that almost any reader can relate to even if they don’t have siblings etc. Ali Brady is the penname for the BFF writing duo Alison Hammer and Bradeigh Godfrey—I literally cannot imagine a better pairing when it comes to a book like this! Clearly these two women have a strong friendship and understand how to write about the nuances of female friendships.
I really enjoyed watching Kat and Blake resolve their issues and reconnect as friends and iultimately sisters. Their joint story is strong but it’s their individual stories and journey that really shined for me and made the shared narrative so good. Having two authors writing in a story like this really makes it authentic. Each author was able to write one of the characters giving them their own unique voice and story. But them they would come together collectively and made a beautiful joint story. This was a book that I was thinking would be just a fluffy beach read but ended up being rich in characterization and drama. Yes it was more of a beach read but with teeth! I ended up loving this one more than I thought I would and I am so glad that it came across my desk in time for my summer reading kick off!
The other thing that I really liked about this book was the setting. As I said one of my friends recently visited Destin, Florida and her pictures looked so cool! In this one the setting plays a big role in the story and not just the house. The house is clearly important but the setting in combination with the house made me feel like I was really there. I would love to visit this lovely beach town now! I have never been to a true summer camp but this books makes me wish I did! The last thing that really endeared this book to me was the slow moving romance for both of the women. Normally I don’t care for a slow moving romance but in this book it worked well for me and wasn’t the main focus. Overall I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would and I was surprised by how much emotion this one had (in a good way!). If you are looking for a great beach read with substance this is the book for you!
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 14th 2022 by Berkley Books
ISBN 0593440153 (ISBN13: 9780593440155)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influneced.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: beach reads, romance, womens fiction