New York lawyer, Ellen returns to her grandmothers home town, Beacon in Maine to deliver a letter that she wrote just before she died. Ellen learns about the life her grandmother had. Ellen knew nothing of this previous life. Ellen also learns about herself as well.
In Beacon Ellen finds various people related to her grandmother’s past. She meets those she would not have anything to do with in New York and does things that not only surprise herself but also her fiance and her mother.
I wanted to really fall in love with this book, the title and the cover said to me, this was going to be a story where I could get absorbed by the setting and want to be friends with the characters, but it was not to be. I had visions of a girl setting up a cafe with infamous blueberry muffins, and being the centre of a town where you can see all events unfolding in different people’s lives. How wrong I was.
I found Ellen, rather self-centred and far too snobby for her own good. Her constant rebuking herself and justifying why she should be eating muffin’s, apple cider doughnuts and alcohol wore a bit thin after a while. When her fiancé appears he seems to carry on this and starts criticising Ellen just as much. Ellen is not living up to the ideal of a New York woman who her fiance wanted her to be as well as her mother.
Although all the events of her visit to Beacon are publicly recorded for posterity, she does actually step away for this ‘New York Woman Ideal Model’ was, but it still did not make me like her anymore. She finds something true in herself, helped along by meeting Roy everywhere she goes in this small town. You cannot be invisible in Beacon. Even when she learns about her grandmother and tries to relay it to her mother she is met with non acceptance. It was very much as if none of these women could possibly survive outside of New York and they certainly did not have colourful pasts.
But Ellen was as wishy washy at the end as she was at the beginning. This was a slow book with an inevitable outcome, but there was nothing in it that made you stop and think just maybe this book won’t follow that path. It did follow that path. The writing was good, I was certainly there in the place from the descriptions; it was the plot and the characters that let it down for me.
I so wanted to like this novel. I thought I was in for a cosy novel of the Debbie Macomber Katie Fforde ilk. It was just a bit too American slush and not as succinct as it could be. I was not absorbed or involved in it at any time.
So why did I finish it? Well It was a fairly easy read, nothing too taxing and I was content with the way the author describes Beacon the town and surrounding areas. But that cannot hold a book entirely. I just wanted to give this author a chance as it was her debut novel.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book.