Sometimes there is so much heavy reading material to get through, that what you really need is a short, light, fun book, and Beachcombers is just that. The novel centers on three sisters and their father and what they learn about themselves and each other in that time.
Their mother died when they were young and the oldest sister, Abbie, took some of the burden of raising her younger sisters because her father was dealing with his grief. Now adults, the youngest sister, Lily, is the only one who still lives with her father in Nantucket. The middle sister, Emma, moves back home after being dumped and losing her job because of the bad economy. Abbie has returned to help console her sister and spend time with her family. Meanwhile, their father has rented a room to Marina, a woman who is dealing with a break-up of her own.
As the summer starts, the family is scattered as each member deals with their own lives. As the summer progresses, they start to come together as they face falling in love and letting go of their mother, whose death still affects them.
What I loved most about this book is how much the reader gets to know each woman in the story. Though written in the third person, each chapter focuses on one of the sisters or on Marina. We get to know their insecurities, what they’re really thinking, and how they really feel about one another. Most importantly, we get to see how the past continues to affect them and how they reconcile that with the promise of their future.
The thing that surprised me about this book was how it was able to bring up issues of grief, mental health, depression, suicide, etc. while remaining a light read. I suppose most people would classify this as chick lit, so in some respects, you know what you’re getting when you start reading it. And yet it kept me interested on a deeper level than I expected when I picked it up.
Of course, most of it was very predictable, but I was impressed by how much I enjoyed reading it in spite of that. If you completely hate anything that might fall near the realm of chick lit, then I suppose it’s best to stay away. But if you’re open to having some fluff accompany interesting women characters and discussions about mental health, then it’s definitely worth checking out Beachcombers.