REVIEW: A NANTUCKET WEDDING, BY NANCY THAYER

 

A few years after losing her beloved husband, Alison is doing something she never thought she would do again: getting married. While placing the finishing touches on her summer nuptials, Alison is anxious to introduce her fiancé, David, to her grown daughters: Felicity, a worried married mother of two, and Jane, also married but focused on her career. The sisters have a somewhat distant relationship and Alison hopes that the wedding and the weeks leading up to the ceremony will give the siblings a chance to reconnect, as well as meet and get to know David’s grown children.

As the summer progresses, it is anything but smooth sailing. Felicity stumbles upon a terrible secret that could shatter her carefully cultivated world. Jane finds herself under the spell of her soon-to-be stepbrother, Ethan, who is as charming as he is mysterious. And even Alison is surprised (and slightly alarmed) by her new blended family. Revelations, intrigue, resentments—as the Big Day approaches, will the promise of bliss be a bust?

My Thoughts: In her inimitable style, Thayer takes the reader to a lovely setting in A Nantucket Wedding. At the moment of the union between this fascinating couple, she also brings us right into the family, with all the issues that come along when the joining of two brings about a blending of assorted personalities, each with their own expectations and conflicts.

David Gladstone, a wealthy man, is about to step back from his business, but when his petulant daughter Poppy asserts herself about the business and his personal assets, he and Alison have to very tactfully, yet assertively, set some boundaries. Additionally, David’s handsome son Ethan presents numerous challenges as he flirts outrageously with whatever woman strikes his fancy.

Meanwhile, Alison’s daughters are dealing with issues within their marriages, bringing to light some concerns that might jeopardize those unions.

Can a wedding in a beautiful setting help them all face and deal with these issues? Will the upcoming nuptials remind them of their own romantic unions, or will those very beautiful moments only emphasize their jarring differences?

I loved the book, the setting, and how the author revealed those true-to-life conflicts that all families have at times.

I enjoyed Alison’s efforts at nurturing and peace-making. I also liked watching Jane and Scott figure out how they could solve their own problems going forward.

I did not like Noah, Felicity’s husband, who revealed himself to be smug and offensive with those who did not share his moral high ground regarding the environment, and then turned on a dime when someone offered what he wanted.

Could any or all of them come out of the romantic event with their families intact? Would the event itself be a reminder of what they all could learn to love about one another? 5 stars.

***

REVIEW: THE DENIM BLUE SEA, BY JOANNE DEMAIO

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As we gather in Stony Point, Connecticut, with the characters of The Denim Blue Sea, we are reminded of their histories, along with their secrets and flaws. There will be a wedding between two beloved residents of the community: Maris Carrington, a denim designer, and Jason Barlow, an architect who renovates cottages. Friends and family from all around will come together for the event.

As we watch the friends gather, like Kyle and Lauren, and Matt and Eva, we see the connections between them and feel the camaraderie…and as we follow them through the days at the beach, we can almost literally smell the sweet salt air.

Like the waves beneath the sea, there is an undercurrent of secrets, some of which will surface. Will the friendships survive? Will each of them find a way to repair the damage of the past?

I enjoyed Maris, from a previous book, and love how she had found her sister Eva. Elsa, the aunt from Italy, brings a wonderful sense of the lost mother, just in time for the wedding.

Central to the community and the lives of the friends is Foley’s, the battered up beach shack where they all convened as teenagers; it brought some of my own memories to light. Mine were not on a beach, but another kind of place where everyone gathered…those are the moments that help us remember who we are.

At the heart of some of the angst, as well as some of the connections, is Jason’s brother, Neil, who died too soon. His legacy includes those he left behind, and an old battered journal that contains some secrets of its own. Will his friends be able to move beyond the pain? Will Jason find creative energy within the pages of the journal as he begins a very special project?

I love how the author brings us right into the setting until we can smell the sweet salt air, the scent of the hydrangeas, and see the seashells they gather. I can feel the friendship, too, and the pain of conflicts that test the strength of their bonds. Another wonderful and memorable story that earned 5 stars.