A reunion of four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton's luminous new novel.
Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college during the early 1980s. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, is grappling with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son's illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can't seem to leave behind the regrets of her youth. And Lola, sweet-tempered and absentminded, whiles away her hours-and her husband's money-on little pills that keep her happy.
Now the friends, all in their forties, converge on Lola's lavish North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their college years. But as the week wears on and each woman's hidden story is gradually revealed, these four friends learn that they must inevitably confront their shared past: a failed love affair, a discarded suitor, a betrayal, and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever.
Darkly comic and deeply poignant, Beach Trip is an unforgettable tale of lifelong friendship, heartbreak, and happiness.
Break out the tissues, sunblock and margarita mix as four old friends reunite after 23 years for a beach party in Holton's feast of Southern friendship (after The Secret Lives of the Kudzu Debutantes). Mel, Sara, Annie and Lola head out to Wild Dunes, a beachfront palace owned by Lola's super-rich husband on exclusive Whale Head Island in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Spacy Lola is miserably married and leans heavily on medication to deal with her husband's manipulations. Obsessive-compulsive Annie still broods over a college fling with a married professor even though she's got a great husband. Social worker Sara still envies glamorous Mel, a witty crime novelist (I'll Sleep When You're Dead is her latest) living in New York who's unlucky in marriage. At 45, each stands at a familiar crossroads covered by many novels of the midlife-empowerment genre, but Holton refreshes the action with winning humor, especially with Mel, whose take-no-prisoners attitude inspires everyone to embrace their present and let the past go. (May)
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May 10, 2009
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