SUNSHINE BEACH No Idyll for the Idle


SUNSHINE_BEACH coverTen Beach Road #4
By: Wendy Wax
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Penguin Random House Audio/Penguin Audio 

Genre: Fiction – Contemporary Women 

Release Date: June 21, 2016 

12 Hours and 48 Minutes

Audiofile provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

In this brand-new summer read by the USA Today bestselling author of The House on Mermaid Point, three women join forces to bring a historic seaside hotel back to life…
There’s nothing that a fresh coat of paint and a few glasses of wine can’t fix…
After losing their life savings in a Ponzi scheme, Maddie, Avery, and Nikki have banded together to make the most of what they have left, using their determination, ingenuity, guts, and a large dose of elbow grease. It’s Maddie’s daughter Kyra who stumbles across a once glorious beachfront hotel that has fallen into disrepair. The opportunity to renovate this seaside jewel is too good to pass up—especially when they come up with the idea of shooting their own independent television show about the restoration. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything. With the cameras rolling, Maddie’s second-chance romance with her all-too-famous new boyfriend gets complicated, Avery struggles with grief over the loss of her mother, and Nikki’s reluctance to commit to the man who loves her could leave her to face the biggest challenge of her life. Even the hotel seems to be against them, when their renovation uncovers a decades-old unsolved murder which just might bring their lives tumbling down all over again…

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My Take Oblong Shaped

This is light fiction — perfect for vacations or stay-cations — with several stories running through it and, I suspect, story-line continuations from the first three books.  I didn’t even realize this was a series at first; it’s pretty complete on its own, but there are a few things I felt were glibly handled — like how one creates a TV show — that were probably addressed in earlier books.

One aspect of the story that doesn’t resolve is one woman’s on again, off again relationship with a married, movie star.  His involvement in her life is kind of permanent because they share a child but his constant wanting a relationship with her seems less than sweet, and she doesn’t want to cheat on his wife any more than they have.  He keeps pushing and I couldn’t tell if the character had given in. Because of a weird living situation her parents are also there and after an initial unpleasant encounter with her father and the guy the parents don’t ask or do anything. 

Other issues left up in the air also involve whether someone is cheating because he can, and whether a man is really committed to a woman from whom he has been wanting a commitment.  There are a couple of other ends left untied. 

Except for one man, the characters in this story are, like most people, very busy.  The “slacker” situation is a thorn in the side of the busy people.  But his eventual good intentions are not helpful.  He would have been better off working on his tan, somewhere else.  But, he learns the hard way that you cannot go home again.

 I loved the story of the old hotel and the mystery there.  It’s a unique and interesting premise and an exciting mystery. 

The recording was okay, but Ms. Rubinate presents a “descendant of a roofer brought [from Italy] by Addison Minzer to help complete the transformation of Palm Beach (p 119 at Amazon “Look Inside”) as having an accent (apparently genetic) and let me tell you, it is not an Italian accent.
This male character sounds more like Chekov than Fabio.
Plus, Addison Minzer died in 1933.  So this Italian American should have no more accent than I or my mother would. Seriously, the last time I saw the “classic Italian gesture” Wendy Wax ascribes to him was in a TV Ad in the 1970s (Anna Maria Alberghetti selling salad dressing).

Of course the family is also described as a large Italian family that spread across Florida so it’s possible she was confused about his nationality, but still it is a terrible accent and a distraction.

There is one scene near the end of the book that is really lovely and is a good description of how ideas in a collaboration can form.  In all the story is a nice look at the lives of these women and their families, and how they work together to achieve the improbable.   I think books placed on a beach are great vacation reads.


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