Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer

Heat Wave
Author: Nancy Thayer
Published: June 21, 2011
Genre: chick lit
Hardcover: 304 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Making the startling discovery that her family finances are in dire straits is only the latest shock endured by Carley Winsted after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack. Resisting her in-laws’ well-meaning overtures to take in Carley and her two daughters, the young widow instead devises a plan to keep her family in their beloved home, a grand historic house on the island of Nantucket. The solution is right at Carley’s front door: transforming her expensive, expansive house into a bed-and-breakfast. Not everyone, however, thinks this plan prudent or quite respectable—especially not Carley’s mother-in-law. Further complicating a myriad of challenges, a friend forces Carley to keep a secret that, if revealed, will undo families and friendships. When her late husband’s former law partner keeps showing up at the most unexpected times, Carley must cope with an array of mixed feelings. And then, during a late-summer heat wave, the lives of Carley and her friends and family will be forever changed in entirely unexpected ways. 

My Thoughts: I was so anxious for summer to start (since it's March and we've had several days in a row where the temperature was 70+), I decided to get my summer reading started early. I wanted to read this book last summer but never got around to it, so when I saw this on my library's shelf, I thought it would be the perfect pre-summer read. Unfortunately, this book fell far short of my expectations and left me shaking my head through much of it. 

Following Carley, a woman who is recently widowed and discovering that her husband squandered their savings and his life insurance policy, she has to come up with a way to make money for her and her two daughters. Now, instead of focusing on the difficulties of opening up a bed and breakfast and how her daughter's cope with the loss of their father, Nancy Thayer breezes through this as if it was mastering a new recipe in the kitchen. It was so unrealistic how easy it was for Carley to renovate her home and start having guests. She made it seem as if opening a business were so simple! Then, there were the characters. Carley was unlikeable as a main character. I didn't feel any of the grief of losing her husband or desperation to find a way to support her family. She just bobbed along like everything was hunky-dorey! Seriously, it was so cliche that she was able to cope with everything so well. On top of this, there was little to no mention of how her daughters dealt with the death of their father. The girls seemed fine and adjusted within a few weeks of the funeral. I know that life goes on, but everything was just smooth sailing in this book.

Also, I found Thayer's writing to be subpar with other authors. The way the characters spoke reminded me of how a seventh grader would write a story. Whenever there were three characters in a scene and one was speaking, they would address the other two multiple times in conversation. It wasn't authentic and felt so forced that it was hard to read at times.

I finished the book quickly, which is one of the few positives that I had with this book. The other positive was the setting. I enjoyed reading about Nantucket and felt that it was portrayed beautifully. It was an easy read but I'm not sure that I will ever read anything by Nancy Thayer again.

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