New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer delighted readers with her sparkling Hot Flash Club series. Now she has written a vibrant new novel set within a tight-knit island community, where two women struggle to rekindle a childhood friendship damaged by harsh words, betrayal, and the passing years.
Lexi Laney and Clare Hart grew up together swimming in the surf, riding remote bike trails, and having wondrous adventures across picturesque Nantucket. And when it was time to share intimate secrets and let their girlish imaginations run free, they escaped to their magical private hideaway: Moon Shell Beach.
But nothing stays the same. With the complicated pressures of adulthood, their intense bond is frayed, hurtful words are exchanged, and Lexi flees Nantucket to a life of luxury while Clare stays behind.
Ten years later, a newly divorced Lexi returns to make amends with those she left in her wake. Living at home with her father and dating a gorgeous carpenter, Clare still simmers with resentment toward her glamorous friend. And when Lexi opens an upscale clothing boutique next door to Clare's chocolate shop, their paths are fated to cross.
Their emotional reunion is beset with major challenges: Lexi's return sets off a series of startling events that fracture the status quo and set the town gossips' tongues wagging. And as Clare's life takes an abrupt detour, Lexi wonders if the happiness and peace they once knew on Moon Shell Beach will, in the end, prove to be as fleeting as time and the tide. In the turbulent adult world, awash in failed loves and romantic disappointment, can childhood dreams still come true?
Irresistible reading, Moon Shell Beach explores the evolution of a tumultuous lifelong friendship, the power of forgiveness, and the rewards of believing in miracles.
Childhood friends Clare Hart and Lexi Laney work toward reconciliation in this bland novel by The Hot Flash Club author. Lexi wants to leave stifling Nantucket, so when wealthy Ed Hardin proposes marriage, Lexi seizes the chance to live a life of off-island luxury. But after 10 years in a lonely and adulterous marriage, Lexi divorces Ed and lands back on the island seeking to repair the relationships she left behind. As Lexi and Clare take steps toward salvaging their friendship, their relationships with men--particularly Lexi's feelings for Clare's fiance--test their loyalty. Unfortunately, Thayer's characters are as thin as a worn beach towel, and the phoned-in prose does little to make up for the contrived plot twists that dominate the final act. (June)
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May 19, 2008
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Excerpt from Moon Shell Beach by Nancy Thayer
"Hi, Mrs. Laney, where's Lexi?" Clare ambled into Laney's Dry Goods Emporium, bringing a gust of crisp October air with her. Her curly brown hair was held back with a tartan headband and she was glowing from the morning's game. Her sophomore year in high school, she was throwing herself wholeheartedly into team sports.
Myrna Laney was rining up a sale. "Did we win?"
Clare pumped her fist. "Whalers four, Wareham a big fat egg!"
"Good for you girls!" Mrs. Moody, who led the community chorus, looked up from signing the charge card. "Only one more game before the tournament, right?"
"Right." Clare held up crossed fingers.
Myrna slipped Patricia Moody's purchase into a bag. "Lexi's just cleaning up the dressing rooms," she told Clare. "Go on back."
At the far end of the store were four dressing rooms. Lexi was there, scooping up discarded clothing and fastening them back onto the hangers. "Hey, Doe." Seeing Clare's face, she said, "Well, I can tell you guys won."
"Victory is sweet!" Clare did a little dance, then picked up a sweater and folded it, helping Lexi. "I really wish you'd try out for the field hockey team."
"Right. Because I'm such a jock."
"I think you could be if you tried."
Gangly Lexi gave her a stare.
"Well," Clare amended, "I think you could be better than you think you are."
"Doesn't matter," Lexi said. "I've got to work here after school and on Saturdays. I don't even have time to watch field hockey. The only time my parents let me off is for the homecoming football game."
"I know." Clare ran her hands down a pair of wool slacks, smoothing them. "It's not fair."
"Oh, Clare, it's fine," Lexi argued amiably. "I'm such a spaz, I don't enjoy sports. Besides, I'm saving money for the class trip to New York."
"New York? I thought you were going with the French class to Paris in the spring."
Lexi slumped against the wall. "Didn't I tell you? That's out. No way can I make enough money for that."
"But I thought the school was paying for part of the trip. What have we been holding the car washes and lotteries for?"
"Mom and Dad got a letter from the school. We still have to come up with a thousand dollars. No way can we raise that."
"That sucks." Clare chewed her lip, thinking. "Well, if you don't go, I won't go."
"You have a chance to go to Paris and you won't take it! That's crazy."
"I won't have any fun if you're not there," Clare said loyally. With a pile of clothing over her arms, she followed Lexi out of the dressing room area back into the store. "Anyway, I don't care about Paris. What I really want is for you to come cheer for us at the Division II tournament in November."
"If the Whalers win next weekend."
"We will. So you have to come to the tournament, okay?" She tugged on Lexi's shirt, doing her best annoying child imitation. "Please, pretty please?"
Lexi laughed. "Go harass my mother. She makes the scheduling decisions."
The bell over the door chimed as Mrs. Moody left. Now that no customers were around, Clare approached Lexi's mother. "Mrs. Laney, can Lexi have Saturday off in two weeks to come to our tournament?"
"I'm already letting Lexi off on Thursday afternoon so she can go to the Cape while you get your braces fitted," Myrna reminded Clare.
"But if we play the Vineyard?" Martha's Vineyard, "the other island," was Nantucket's fiercest rival for all sports.
Myrna gave in. "All right. If you play the Vineyard."
"Yes!" Clare leaned over the counter and hugged Lexi's mother. "You're the best."
"We're having chili tonight," Myrna told her. "And Fred and I were thinking it was time for you two girls to learn to play bridge."
"Because we can't play board games because Adam never stays home on Saturdays now that he's a big fat senior," Lexi called from the other side of the store.
"I'd love to learn bridge!" Clare said. "And I love your chili. I'll bring dessert."
"Something chocolate?" Lexi called.
"You got it. A cake . . . or maybe brownies . . ." Clare waved and headed out into the brilliant autumn day.
Clare ran her tongue over the smooth surface of her teeth as she stood in line to board the Hy-Line fast ferry. She was a senior in high school, and finally, her heinous brace were off! She felt teary and celebratory and kind of shaky. And weirdly lonely.
When she'd first had the braces put on, two years ago, the orthodontist had been on Nantucket, but last year he moved, so she had to make trips off-island for her appointments. Sometimes it was fun. Sometimes Lexi came with her and they went shopping at the Cape Cod Mall. But today was a Saturday, early in October, and Lexi had to help her parents in their store.
Clare looked around the cabin. The wind had risen during the day and the seas were choppy, so she didn't want to sit on the upper deck. Her favorite seat up front was already taken. She dumped her backpack on one of the small round tables and dropped into a chair.