Saturday, November 9, 2013

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

This is the story of three women: Arden, Meg and Jenny. They are the daughters of Rory who has just passed away. They need to spend the summer together in Rory's Nantucket house in order to inherit it.  They have only seen each other once a year since they were children.  They all have baggage they need to settle with each other and their lives before the end of the summer.  
This is an enjoyable summer story with characters that seem very real!

From Random House:
Nancy Thayer returns to her beloved Nantucket in a highly emotional, wholly entertaining tale of three sisters forced to confront the past over one event-filled summer on the island.
 
Charming ladies’ man Rory Randall dies with one last trick up his sleeve: His will includes a calculating clause mandating a summer-long reunion for his daughters, all from different marriages—that is, if they hope to inherit his posh Nantucket house. Relations among the three sisters are sour thanks to long-festering jealousies, resentments, and misunderstandings. Arden, a successful television host in Boston, hasn’t been back to the island since her teenage years, when accusations of serious misbehavior led to her banishment. College professor Meg hopes to use her summer to finish a literary biography and avoid an amorous colleague. And secretive Jenny, an IT specialist, faces troubling questions about her identity while longing for her sisters’ acceptance.
 
To their surprise, the three young women find their new found sisterhood easier to trust than the men who show up to complicate their lives. And if that weren’t problematic enough, their mothers descend on the island. When yet another visitor drops by the house with shocking news, the past comes screaming back with a vengeance. Having all the women from his life under his seaside roof—and overseeing the subsequent drama of that perfect storm—Rory Randall might just be enjoying a hearty laugh from above.
 
Nancy Thayer’s novel insightfully illustrates how the push and pull of family altercations make us whole. It’s how the Randall sisters come to forgive, and learn to open their hearts to love.


Excerpt:
One

Arden’s half-hour television show for Channel Six, a local Boston station, was called Simplify This, which Arden privately knew was a ridiculous title because, really, nothing in life was simple.

She couldn’t remember when she’d last had a vacation, and even when she had a weekend off, she’d worked, tapping away at her laptop or considering DVDs prospective entrants had sent her, or reviewing call sheets or expenses. Even watching television was work because she recorded and savagely studied competing shows, comparing theirs to hers, searching for what she was missing, what she could improve. Reading books and magazines: same thing. Even exercise was work for Arden because she had to keep her thirty-four-year-old body in shape for the merciless cameras that made everyone’s butt look ten inches wider and ten pounds heavier. Same with having her nails and her hair done. She was fairly certain she worked when she slept.

Simplify This expressed her hard-won life’s motto: to simplify your life, to stuff useless old family heirlooms like grandmothers’ tea sets and framed photos of relatives so distant you couldn’t remember their names into neat cardboard boxes, tidily labeled and piled in the attic or basement, or given away to the secondhand shops so you could claim a tax deduction. As you did this, you vanquished the ghosts of the past, the should-haves and could-haves, the expectations of parents, the dreams of childhood. Then your present life was clear and spacious, facing forward, not back.

Arden had spent her adult years simplifying. She had created a television show and her own life’s battle cry out of the desire to simplify her odd, complicated family (if you could even call it that), which was like a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces scattered by the winds.

Today she parked her posh little Saab convertible in her reserved spot in the station’s lot, whipped through the glass doors, nodded to the security guard, and strode down the corridor to her private lair. She unlocked it, stepped inside, leaned against the door, and kicked off her high heels.

It was a hot day for early May. Arden stripped off her suit jacket and unzipped her tight skirt. She collapsed in the wonderfully padded chair behind her desk, put her feet up, and listened to her voice mails.

Messages: The dry cleaner said the stain wouldn’t come out of the lavender silk dress. The masseuse reminded her she’d changed the time of her appointment. Marion Cleveland understood that all entries to Arden’s wonderful show should be sent by mail with a DVD, but Marion was a close personal friend of Ernest Hilton, the program director of Channel Six, and so Marion thought Arden wouldn’t mind Marion phoning directly because Marion’s house would be perfect for Simplify This.

Four forceful thuds sounded at her door, and before she could speak, Ernest Hilton barged in, followed by a tiny wide-eyed brunette.

“Ernest.” Arden swung her legs off her desk and straightened in her chair, yanking her shirt down over the undone zipper of her skirt.

“Arden.” Ernest hauled a chair from the corner of the room, moved the stack of folders off it onto the only empty space on Arden’s desk, and set it next to the visitor’s chair facing Arden. He gestured to the size zero to sit.

I’m not going to like this, Arden thought. She knew Ernest well enough after six years of working with him. He was fifty, jovial, and fat, and he never appeared in front of a camera.

To read more, click here.

Pages: 302

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