Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review: Lighthouse Beach

Summary: From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Noble comes a heartrending and uplifting novel about friendship, love, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for our dreams. What was supposed to be an idyllic wedding leads to an unexpected journey of self-discovery…

When Lillo Gray pulls up to Kennebunkport’s most exclusive hotel wearing a borrowed dress and driving a borrowed VW van, she knows she’s made a big mistake. She’s not even sure why Jessica Parker invited her to her posh wedding. They haven’t seen each other since they were unhappy fourteen-year-old girls at fat camp. And now they’re from two completely different worlds. There’s no way Lillo fits in the rarefied circles Jessica travels in.

Jess isn’t sure she’s ready to go through with this wedding, but she’s been too busy making everyone else happy to think about what she wants. But when she and her two closest friends, Allie and Diana, along with Lillo, discover her fiancĂ© with his pants down in the hotel parking lot, she’s humiliated…and slightly relieved. In a rush to escape her crumbling life, Jess, Allie, and Diana pile into Lillo’s beat-up old van and head up the coast to Lighthouse Island. Once there, she hopes to figure out the next chapter in her life.

Nursing broken hearts and broken dreams, four lost women embark on a journey to find their way back into happiness with new love, friendship, and the healing power of Lighthouse Beach. -- William Morrow

Last week, I was in the Outer Banks. I always get a lot of reading done, and it's a great opportunity for me to read some books that I might not pickup at home in Central PA... especially "beachy books." One of those books was LIGHTHOUSE BEACH by Shelley Noble. This novel takes place on the coast of Maine, and it was a heartwarming story about self-discovery.

LIGHTHOUSE BEACH begins when Lillo Gray shows up to a posh Kennebunkport hotel for a childhood friend's wedding. She doesn't exactly fit in with her beat up, borrowed van and her borrowed dresses; and truth be told, she's not even sure why she was invited because she hasn't seen Jessica since they were teens at summer camp.

Every summer, Jessica came to a summer camp for fat kids that Lillo's parents ran; and she was a bit of a lost soul. Her parents were extremely critical (and still are), and the saving grace was getting to hang out with Lillo. So when it came time for her to get married (to a man she isn't sure is right for her but her parents adore), she wants her old friend there to help her get through it.

Well, it's a good thing Lillo came because the first night she is there, they see Jess's fiance "with" a waitress in the hotel parking lot! Between Lillo and Jess's friends Allie and Diana, they convince her to not go through with the wedding. Much to Jess's parent's dismay, all four hop in Lillo's beat up van and head to Lillo's house on Lighthouse Island.

These four woman are a somewhat unlikely set of "friends," and Lillo isn't really sure she's ready to let anyone into her some after everything she's been through. However, within a few days, these four become extremely close, and they all learn some important things about themselves in the process.

I liked LIGHTHOUSE BEACH and I did have the ideal setting to read this "beachy book." I don't know if I'd go so far as to say I loved it, but it was a fun and quick read with some good messages. All four of these women had some serious issues in their lives, and it was through the healing effects of Lighthouse Beach and friendship that helped them find hope and move forward.

Lillo was definitely the main character in this story, but Jess, Allie, and Diana were also fun (and likable) characters. Lillo didn't fit in at all with these women, and she was still reeling from a past trauma that isn't apparent to the readers until later in the story. When it's finally revealed, it's a doozy; and it's no wonder that she was hesitant to forgive herself and truly live again.

Jess, Allie, and Diana all had their far share of problems too, and it was interesting to see how they worked through them. Jess learned to finally stand up for herself and follow her dreams, while Allie was eventually able to move on after the early loss of her husband. Diana was a piece of work who provided some humor in the book, but I think it's safe to say that she found her softer side and maybe even love.

Another wonderful aspect of LIGHTHOUSE BEACH was the setting of the novel. I loved how the author brought this area of Maine to life. It's not your typical beach locale because the economy is depressed, but the beauty of the area was still apparent. I especially appreciated how the author focused on the social problems of this town and how so many of the town's residents were helping to keep their town (and the children who live there) alive and well.

All in all, LIGHTHOUSE BEACH was a fun vacation read that also had some depth. It warmed my heart in a time when it's nice to see the good in people, and the resounding message of hope is one that is always welcome!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a great summer read. I'll have to take it to the beach when I go next month.