Saturday, July 13, 2013

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

2 Star

Charming ladies’ man Rory Randall dies with one last trick up his sleeve: His will includes a calculating clause mandating a summer-long reunion for his daughters, all from different marriages—that is, if they hope to inherit his posh Nantucket house. Relations among the three sisters are sour thanks to long-festering jealousies, resentments, and misunderstandings. Arden, a successful television host in Boston, hasn’t been back to the island since her teenage years, when accusations of serious misbehavior led to her banishment. College professor Meg hopes to use her summer to finish a literary biography and avoid an amorous colleague. And secretive Jenny, an IT specialist, faces troubling questions about her identity while longing for her sisters’ acceptance.

To their surprise, the three young women find their newfound sisterhood easier to trust than the men who show up to complicate their lives. And if that weren’t problematic enough, their mothers descend on the island. When yet another visitor drops by the house with shocking news, the past comes screaming back with a vengeance. Having all the women from his life under his seaside roof—and overseeing the subsequent drama of that perfect storm—Rory Randall might just be enjoying a hearty laugh from above.

2 Star

The premise of Island Girls snatched my attention immediately when I read the synopsis, and I was eager to dive into this book. A story about estranged sisters forced to live together in order to inherit their father’s estate per his wishes, sounded fabulous. The novel touches on a family that is far from average and three sisters who have very little in common. A easy, read, this novel might suit your beach bag if you’re looking for a something light to read. Sadly, this one was a bit too mindless and void of emotion for me.

The synopsis of Island Girls promises drama and tension with three sisters who harbour resentment and hold a decade-old grudge. Their dysfunctional family dynamic involves three women who share the same father, but have different three mothers. Ready to sink my teeth into gritty sisterly angst, I discovered a read that I found lacked emotion instead. I was incredibly disappointed. The sisters all got along famously. Huh? Sure, there was a moment, or maybe two, that was supposed to be tense, but I anticipated many more explosive scenes. And even those that were supposed to be tense all blew over quickly like a gentle Caribbean rain where I wanted a day long hurricane.

The sisters complete lack of concern over their father’s death left me a little disturbed. There was only one instance where tears of grief fell. Because of this, I assumed the storyline took place well after his death. But no, I found out shortly after that scene that it was only a few months later! Again, the novel really lacked heart, in my humble opinion, and almost made the characters shallow for wanting his money more than him – although he was quite a ‘character’ in his own right and I’m not sure why they really wanted anything to do with him, other than get his money, so maybe it does make sense. It did bother me that they didn’t have serious issues with dear-old-dad after he kept up-and-leaving their mothers for another woman. It struck me as odd.

To me, this novel lacked depth. Everything seemed surface, even their grief. I couldn’t grasp onto the characters or relate to them in any way. In fact, sadly, I can barely remember them at all at this point and I only read the book a few short weeks ago. It is unfortunate because the plot had promise.

There are great reviews out there for this one, and to be fair, lately I’ve craved heavier reads. I’m not a huge fan of these lighter ones anymore. If that’s your thing, you may very well ended up loving Island Girls.

Thank you to Simon&Schuster Canada  for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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