Title: Beach House Summer
Author: Sarah Morgan
Publication: March 17, 2022
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: General Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
When Joanna Whitman’s famous ex-husband dies in a car accident, she doesn’t know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more painful secrets than she cares to remember. But when she discovers that the young woman with him in the crash is pregnant, Joanna feels compelled to act, knowing exactly how brutal the media spotlight will be on celebrity chef Cliff Whitman’s ex-wife and his mysterious female friend.
Ashley Blake can’t believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and suggests they hide away at her beach house on a sleepy stretch of California coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley can’t turn down Joanna’s offer. Yet she knows that if Joanna ever found out the real reason Ashley was in that car, their tentative bond would shatter instantly.
Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return causes major waves in the local community, especially for the man she left behind years ago. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future, and to avoid causing any trouble for Joanna. But as secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is about to be put to the test.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I’m usually the person reading the murder mysteries or suspense novels. I do like a good women’s fiction and romance novel though and I had good feelings about Beach House Summer when I read the description. Sarah Morgan did not disappoint.
The story follows Joanna, ex-wife to celebrity chef whose past indiscretions come back to cause chaos in her life. I liked Joanna, but I definitely was silently screaming at her to grow a backbone in the beginning. She was very resigned to her life and hiding and not wanting to be seen or do anything. She had no relationship. I wanted to shake her. I think Morgan wanted us to feel like that though, because this story was really a story about fresh starts and taking back control of your life. I loved that storyline. There were also lessons about going for your dreams, not letting setbacks because permanent in your life and embracing the things coming at you instead of trying to always fix things.
The other characters in this story; Ashley, Mel, Nate, Greg I just adored. I have a very strong urge to go live in this small beach town with these people. A bookstore? Yes, please. A beautiful view of the ocean. Sign me up. Great people who will protect you no matter what? Yup! The scenery that was set by Morgan really drew me into this story. It gave you good feelings while you read it and really had you cheering for everyone involve to get some form of a happily ever after, even if it wasn’t what they had originally planned.
My one drawback to a five star rating was that Joanna sometimes was too flip-floppy to me. Someone who spent two decades in the spotlight would usually be a little bit more… tough. I think that is a good word for it. She obviously can withstand just about anything because she made it this far, but she seemed so broken and almost weak, and I don’t think those two things make sense in the same individual. I would have felt it was more realistic if she was simply resigned, but not weak or scared like she was portrayed.
Otherwise I really enjoyed this story and the lessons about life built into it. This book has everything you could want in a great summer read; family, growth, friendship, romance and a quaint seaside town. This is perfect for all ages.