Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes

Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub Date: June 19, 2012
Paperback, 288 pages
ISBN: 9780312643041

My rating: 5.0/5.0

My Review:
Monarch Beach is the perfect beach read of the summer. I spent my Saturday laying out in the sun just enjoying this book. Enjoying the story, enjoying the characters and enjoying the writing. It's just one of those books you read, it's a great diversion for an afternoon yet you still think about it when it's over. Amanda is a character I will remember as well as her mother and her son.

Amanda has found her husband cheating on her and has no idea how to proceed. Her life has fallen apart in the span of just a few minutes. I can't even imagine what that would be like. Now unfortunately I don't have a wealthy mother to take me away for the summer, but just as well I got to escape with Amanda in this book. Ms. Hughes does a wonderful job making the reader feel the emotions that Amanda feels and empathizing with her. Everything she felt I felt. It was really great writing on the author's part. And I didn't even feel jealousy or disbelief that she got to go away for the summer. These things do happen and Amanda and her mother were so likable, that I was pulling for them so it didn't matter that they could escape in this way that most people can't. I wanted them to and I wanted to see what would happen. The characters were amazing. Mostly we see Amanda since the book is about how she deals with this situation. But I also enjoyed her mother, her son, her best friend and the others that were brought into the plot. All were interesting and kept the plot moving.

The plot never waned from the opening scene where Amanda's life breaks in two. At the start she goes back in time, remembering and that really helped in getting to know Amanda and how she got to where she is and how she will get to where she will be as well. Everything that is in the book really has a point and you understand it by the end. I read quickly through the book while enjoying the sun on Saturday afternoon. It seemed the perfect place to enjoy the book. And enjoy it I did. Once I finally could put the time into reading it without interruptions I could not put Monarch Beach down. I wanted to know what would happen next and how Amanda would handle things. I was almost sad when it was over because I was done with Amanda, yet the book came to a very satisfying conclusion for me. But I had been around Amanda for several hours and I was not ready to let her go yet. That to me is a hallmark of a wonderful character and book.

Ms. Hughes has crafted a book that while it seems simple in plot, it's not and the meaning creeps up on you at the end. You feel very satisfied once you have finished it. But the beauty is to get to that satisfaction you have just read a wonderful light, yet not light beach read if that makes sense. While the subject matter is tough, I never felt down. Ms. Hughes manages to handle the subject matter in a way that never belittles it but never makes it completely depressing. How she did that I'm really not sure, but I loved it. It never felt like it was playing down Amanda's troubles but it wasn't playing them to the hilt either. It's really hard to explain without giving away the book. The simplest thing to say is to read it when it comes out tomorrow. It's a fabulous book that can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys general fiction or women's fiction. It's a must for your beach bag, pool bag, lake bag or any vacation bag this summer.

About the Book:
Anita Hughes' Monarch Beach is an absorbing debut novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and lifewhat it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again.

When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kindhearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuild it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max, spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life—and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention… and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turned upside down. 

About the Author:
Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia. She received a B.A. in English from Bard College and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in English and Creative Writing program. Her debut novel, MONARCH BEACH, will be published by St. Martin's Press in June 2012. A second novel, MARKET STREET, will be released in early 2013.


***I received this book from the author for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***


Mary (Bookfan) said...

Great review, Crystal! It's on my list :)

susieqlaw said...

Sounds like a great book!

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