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Sunday, November 14, 2010

'The Beach Hut' by Veronica HENRY

Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:


FOR SALE: a rare opportunity to purchase a beach hut on the spectacular Everdene Sands. "The Shack" has been in the family for fifty years and was the first to be built on this renowned stretch of golden sand...'

Jane Milton doesn't want to sell her beloved beach hut, which has been the heart of so many family holidays and holds so many happy memories. But when her husband dies, leaving her with an overwhelming string of debts, she has no choice but to sell.

THE BEACH HUT follows the stories of the people who own the beach huts, families who come to Everdene each year, people who fall in - or out of - love, remembering their pasts, or trying to forget them...

Jane Milton’s husband has sadly passed away. . . leaving her with 3 sons to care for, a mountain of debt, a rock and a hard place. Drowning in bills, Jane is forced to sell her family’s beloved beach hut in the Everdene Sands - but not before one last blow-out summer to say goodbye to all the memories.
“Oh yeah,” said Florence. “Dad was saying you’re going to have to sell the hut. What a bummer.”
Harry winced. He knew Jane didn’t much like discussing it. But she didn’t seem to mind Florence’s forthrightness.
“Yes,” she said drily. “It’s a real bummer. But that’s life. Nothing good lasts forever.”
“Doesn’t it?” Florence wrinkled her nose. “Why not?”
Why not indeed? thought Harry. This summer, for instance. He hoped that was going to last forever.
I must confess, I've never read a Veronica Henry book before. But since it’s summertime in Australia and I’m in the mood for some sunny fiction, I thought ‘The Beach Hut’ was an aptly titled novel to pique my interest. And pique it did. . .

The ‘novel’ is really a collection of short stories as Henry introduces us to the various hut-residents of Everdene. But each perspective is a cohesively woven tale that ultimately tells the story of Everdene and its significance for the various beach-goers and residents, particularly for the Milton’s. And there are over-arching themes and interconnected stories – like Roy, who keeps up Hut maintenance and has been nursing a crush on Jane for years.

I loved that the book revolved around a setting and evolved from there. Place is intricate to the story, and Everdene Sands became a character unto itself as all the various beach-goers reveal the Sands significance to them. I think this was a lovely concept, and if a picture is worth a thousand words then Henry wonderfully captures Everdene Sands so it’s like you’re reading a snapshot in a family album. This little place the holds so many memories and ties so many people together – beautiful.

‘The Beach Hut’ is both a ‘beach-read’ and a little bit ‘chick-lit’, though I am wary to use either label for their frivolous connotations. ‘The Beach Hut’ is an easy read – both because the story sucks you in from the first chapter (and doesn’t let up) and because the stand-alone chapter stories make it easy to put down and pick up. I use the word ‘chick-lit’ only because Henry beautifully examines the interconnections of family and the memories we keep of a place. All the good ‘touchy-feely’ female stuff, so to speak. But don’t go thinking that ‘The Beach Hut’ is a throw-away bit of reading fairy-floss. The book has real heart and soul, and Henry will suck you in from the opening chapter and keep a hold of you until the last page. Fantastic summer reading!

5/5

... So, after reading this great book I found out that Ms. Henry used to be a scriptwriter for ‘Heartbeat’! OMIGOD! You don’t understand. . . I grew up on episodes of ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘The Bill’ and now having read ‘The Beach Hut’, I can totally see a connection between Henry’s screen and novel writing. I will definitely be reading more of Veronica Henry’s books.

Heartbeat
Heartbeat, why do you miss when my baby kisses me
Heartbeat, why does a love kiss stay in my memory

2 comments:

  1. great review! I had not heard of this book before, but it sounds awesome! =)

    so cool that you found out she wrote a series you loved!! I love when things like that happen =DD

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  2. this sounds really cool.

    i love beach reads and characters and a sense of time and history in a setting. i'm going to try and track it down.

    i grew up on heartbeat too! i love your enthusiasm for it, haha :) good times, hey.

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