Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summer at Hideaway Key, by Barbara Davis

DAW, ISBN 9780451474582, August 2015

Lily St. Claire's father has died, and he's left her a cottage in Florida that she never knew he own. It's a surprise that he owned it because it had long belonged to her aunt, her mother Caroline's sister Lily-Mae, who died a year earlier. Lily's back from Paris, before heading to a new job with a major fashion design house in Italy, but she's got a month before she'll start there. Curious and frustrated by her mother's long-standing hostility and silence about Lily-Mae, and puzzled about why Lily-Mae left the cottage to her father, who then left it to her, Lily heads off for Sand Pearl Cottage in Hideaway Key, Florida.

What she finds there are new friends, and old, disturbing revelations about her mother, her aunt, her father, and even herself.

The book alternates between Lily-Mae's journals from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, and Lily's story in 1995. Lily-Mae's story is painful, heart-breaking, even, while Lily has her own emotional upheavals to go through, but with more hope for a better outcome.

Hideaway Key is a charming small town with a thriving tourist industry, and I like the people Davis has populated it with. In some respects, though, despite the absence of cell phones and other contemporary technological trappings, it feels like 2015, not 1995. I don't understand why Davis made that particular choice; very few changes would have been needed to Lily-Mae's story to make it work twenty years later. Or the most obvious features that feel like 2015 in 1995 Hideaway Key could have been dropped. It's an unforced error in the story, though it doesn't change the fact that this is an enjoyable story overall.

Overall, this is a great beach read. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.