With summer right around the corner, beach reads are starting to pop up. Wendy Wax’s Ten Beach Road, about three very different women who inherit a beach house in an extreme state of disrepair, should be right at the top of the list.
Maddie’s kids are out of the house and she’s enjoying her newfound freedom. But then she finds out her investor-husband lost his job 6 months earlier and along with it, their life savings, her mother-in-law can no longer live alone and moves in, her daughter moves back home, and her son may get kicked out of college. Life can’t get much worse.
Avery is a licensed architect who has a home improvement TV show with her husband. She’s let him and the show walk all over her and has been relegated to the role of bimbo.
And Nicole owns her own matchmaking business, drives a vintage Jaguar and wears designer clothing, having successfully left her poverty-stricken upbringing. But she’s hiding a pretty big secret that could destroy all she’s built.
All three women have lost everything thanks to a Ponzi scheme, each receiving one third of a mansion in a Florida beach town as their settlement. They find the house, Bella Flora, in a state of extreme disrepair. With no choice but to renovate so the house can be sold, they agree to work with a local contractor who will foot the bill for a percentage of the final sale.
As the house is slowly gutted and then rebuilt, the women form a friendship, learning a lot about each other and themselves. They each work through family issues – Maddie has to deal with her husband, who refuses to leave the couch back at home, and her pregnant daughter, who joins her at Bella Flora. Avery’s mother – interior designer to the stars – also joins them at the house with her own agenda. Nicole has the FBI breathing down her neck, though her housemates don’t know it.
The main characters are well fleshed out; they are realistic and flawed, but mostly likeable. While the story revolves around all three women, Maddie takes center stage, and she also takes the role of leader in the group. As the only mother of the three it’s a natural role for her, and it also helps her realize she can get by just fine on her own, even though she does want to be with her husband.
If you’re looking for a novel with relateable characters and a good plot to read this summer, Ten Beach Road is a great place to start. There is mild language – well used, in my opinion – and I would have liked an epilogue, but I have no other complaints.
Nancy wouldn’t mind having a beach house, preferably one that doesn’t need to be renovated. She writes about her 2 boys and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys.
I love books with complicated, flawed, strong women. This one sounds great.
And as for the beach house? Sign me up! I’d love a beach house, but please don’t ask me to renovate.