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The Beach House [Paperback]

Jane Green
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 2 2009

At 65 years old, Nan doesn’t care what people think. If her neighbours are away, why shouldn’t she skinny-dip in their swimming pools? But when she discovers that the money she thought would last forever is running out and she may lose her beloved house on the bluff in Nantucket, she knows she has to make drastic changes. As Nan fills her house with people—a recently divorced father of two girls, a single mother of a truculent teen— she finds her family extending. Her son comes home, and then an unexpected visitor throws all their lives upside down.


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Product Description

Review

'A corker of a story, sharply and elegantly told' Heat 'Fizzing with fast-and-furious dialogue, this is vintage Green' Eve --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jane Green Warburg has written eleven novels, several of which were New York Times bestsellers. A native Londoner, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and their blended family of six children.

 
www.janegreen.com

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The bike crunches along the gravel path, weaving around the potholes that could present danger to someone who didn't know the road like the back of their hand. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beach foam July 16 2008
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Jane Green tends to write write fluffy beach reads, the sort of books that get turned into equally fluffy TV movies.

And in "The Beach House," she links together a series of storylines that could have easily made up their own books, with a warm'n'fuzzy sentimental core in an ancient Nantucket house. Unfortunately it begins to come unravelled about halfway through, and some of those storylines simply rush to the finish line without bothering to spin up a satisfactory conclusion.

Eccentric widow Nan Powell is faced with selling her beloved old house Windermere, with its memories of her beloved albeit gambling-addicted hubby. The alternative: take in boarders for money, and fend off the developers who want to tear down Windermere for McMansions.

At about this time, her son Michael returns home after an ill-fated affair with his boss's clingy wife, who now wants a commitment from him. And among the boarders are Daff, a newly-divorced wife and mother who is seeking "herself," and Daniel, a nervy young man who has just realized that he is gay, and is struggling to deal with this. His young wife Bee, who is understandably upset by her husband's distance, is still ignorant of this.

As time winds on -- and the developers circle around Nan's run-down mansion -- the various people begin to relax and open up to each other, like members of a family. But then a series of crises hit -- Bee's father is badly injured, Daff's daughter is arrested, and Michael's desperate former lover shows up with some shocking news for him (yes, you can probably guess what). And even Nan is faced with an old face from her past, who she thought was gone forever....
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2.0 out of 5 stars Another Jane Green Disappointment Dec 23 2011
By Lydia - Novel Escapes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I was terrified to start this book after my last Jane Green debacle, but was pleasantly surprised that I didn't hate it as much as Second Chance, but maybe my expectations were just really low.

I didn't love it, in that I couldn't put it down or would ever read it again, but I didn't feel like I was wasting precious moments of my life reading it like I did with the aforementioned work of Green's. It was fairly predictable, not terribly unique, nor very fast paced. I'm not sure how believable this style of chick lit is when set in the United States. I got to thinking about her past work that takes place in the UK and feel that for some reason this story would have been more believable had it been set there instead. I don't know why that is, maybe I've just read too much Brit Lit from Kathryn over the years and expect this style of story to be set there.

Overall, the writing and editing were much better in this novel and it was clear whose voice was speaking (outlined in sections) so it was easy to read. The story, however, I thought was weak with the characters and their various plights not thoroughly explored.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  288 reviews
99 of 112 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beach house foam July 13 2008
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Jane Green tends to write write fluffy beach reads, the sort of books that get turned into equally fluffy TV movies.

And in "The Beach House," she links together a series of storylines that could have easily made up their own books, with a warm'n'fuzzy sentimental core in an ancient Nantucket house. Unfortunately it begins to come unravelled about halfway through, and some of those storylines simply rush to the finish line without bothering to spin up a satisfactory conclusion.

Eccentric widow Nan Powell is faced with selling her beloved old house Windermere, with its memories of her beloved albeit gambling-addicted hubby. The alternative: take in boarders for money, and fend off the developers who want to tear down Windermere for McMansions.

At about this time, her son Michael returns home after an ill-fated affair with his boss's clingy wife, who now wants a commitment from him. And among the boarders are Daff, a newly-divorced wife and mother who is seeking "herself," and Daniel, a nervy young man who has just realized that he is gay, and is struggling to deal with this. His young wife Bee, who is understandably upset by her husband's distance, is still ignorant of this.

As time winds on -- and the developers circle around Nan's run-down mansion -- the various people begin to relax and open up to each other, like members of a family. But then a series of crises hit -- Bee's father is badly injured, Daff's daughter is arrested, and Michael's desperate former lover shows up with some shocking news for him (yes, you can probably guess what). And even Nan is faced with an old face from her past, who she thought was gone forever....

"The Beach House" has more than enough plot -- any of its subplots would make a decent novel, and Green winds together a series of them with some tenuous links. Jewelry stores, yuppie marriage counseling, and an empty house post-divorce are all explored in detail, as the characters' lives start spinning out of control. And she tackles some of the nastier aspects of adultery and moving on, such as disaster dates and a tantrum-throwing teenager.

But when all the characters get to Nantucket, Green seems to lose some of her inspiration. She rushes through the last quarter of the book after a leisurely build-up. And she seems vaguely embarrassed by the prospect of a big emotional scene -- big shattering events are dealt with via a phone call, a horrifying betrayal is handled by a few sniping comments and general shunning. One character even conveniently expires to avoid dealing with the general baggage.

This is particularly troublesome in Daniel's story -- his coming-out and tentative explorations into the gay subculture is both wrenching and intriguing, as you wonder what this loving father will do to avoid hurting his wife and kids. But once he's out'n'proud, then Green shies away from actually dealing with it, or with his attraction to the conveniently hunky Matt. The drippy "let's not have sex because I want a commitment" scene is simply absurd.

As for the characters, they're a mixed bag. Nan is the biggest problem -- she's not really eccentric, and she's not really nurturing. Yet Green has her randomly flip-flop between being an eccentric old free spirit, and being an earth mother-type. Not that it's very plausible that her tomato garden could instantly turn a spoiled, shrieking, shoplifting regressed teenager into a little angel overnight.

On the other hand, Daniel and Bee are explored with painful, beautiful detail, as he struggles to deal with his homosexuality and she struggles with the revelations about what their marriage was, and where this leaves her as a desirable woman. Too bad Michael is an insensitive and self-absorbed jerk who strings along a married woman until she ditches her hubby, and Daff loses her tragic wronged-woman dimensions as soon as she shrugs off Michael's adulterous liaison. Who cares if that's the sort of thing that broke up her marriage? He's hot and has tight abs!

"The Beach House" has potential and plot to burn, but the rushed final lap and a couple puttered-out storylines leave you frustrated. Here's hoping the next try is longer and more passionate.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed Oct. 11 2008
By Suzy Tosa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For the very first time, I feel compelled to review an Amazon book because of my extreme disappointment. The excerpt made it sound like a fun, interesting read so my book group bought a bunch of hard cover copies. By the end, each of us believed we could have written it. The plot lines, dialogue, and messages were predictable cliches. There were no surprises, and we never really cared about any of the characters whose stories were tied up quickly with neat little bows. Obviously there's a market for this type of book since some people appear to have enjoyed it. From our book club to you, save your money.
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite a "3" July 22 2008
By BeachReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Books like this are the reason for half-stars! I would give this 2.5 if possible. It wasn't AWFUL or I would not have finished it. But it was an audio and it was the only one I had for a long car ride.

The thing that attracted me to this book was that it was set on Nantucket. I love that place. But I wasn't far into the audio when I realized that was the best part of the book!

I have never commented on the production of an audio book - I guess because most are well done. But this one...the narrator barely took a breath between changes of locale, time, or scene. This was quite annoying,

Character development was uneven at best with some characters hardly fleshed out. There were way too many coincidences and the action was very predictable. And the writing itself was awkward.

The thing that really annoyed me were the factual errors that could have been so easily remedied by a good editor. The author had hydrangeas blooming on Nantucket before they bloom in Baltimore! And Nan was fixing her overgrown, heavily laden tomato plants at the same time in June that school had just let out for the summer! No one north of the Mason-Dixon line has tomatoes that early. There were quite a few other mistakes like this which makes me wonder if any editor was involved at all.
44 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Summer fun June 23 2008
By sandmanrdh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Grab your beach chair and prepare to be entertained! Reading Jane Green's latest novel brought back wonderful memories of a Nantucket summer vacation spent in our own beach cottage. While reading this story I was easily absoarbed into the world of Ms. Green's characters and the wisdom of a wonderful woman I wish I would be lucky enough to rent a room from. I recommend you tell the kids to order pizza and spend a few hours with your nose stuck in this book.
45 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book and I don't read Chick-lit (THANKS for putting it on the KINDLE!) June 29 2008
By Patrizia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't read Chick Lit or romance novels and I usually read non fiction. So this was a total departure for me... but I read a review for this recently and thought I wanted a light read and the Kindle price was right on.

I have a Kindle (OMG if you don't have one RUN to the home page and order it!!!).. This edition came out a few days after the publication..

I loved the story and I couldnt wait to get back to it.. I was up way too late finishing it in one day.. its not a tough read but you fall in love with these people.. its a great beach read but its not "dumbed" down as so many books in this type of genre are so I am off to find more Jane Green, this is the first one of hers I have read and I really really enjoyed it! And again thanks for the Kindle Edition. I wouldnt have considered buying this before.. Kindle changed that, and introduced me to new authors such as this one.
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