Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sally John's The Beach House~reviewed

The Beach House, by Sally John
Publisher: Harvest House
ISBN: 0-7369-1316-5

When four women reunite to celebrate their fortieth birthdays in San Diego, past meets present, and their lives are changed forever.

An irresistible desire for the closeness they used to share prompts Dr. Jo Zambruski to invite her childhood friends Char, Molly and Andie to California. The women look forward to the camaraderie of old friends and escape from everyday life, but inevitably, relaxation turns to reflection, and each guest must face t\he struggles and decisions she brought along with her sandals and sunglasses.

What’s in this house by the sea that helps four old friends reconnect? If they give each other a week to be transparent with one another, will long-hidden secrets finally be revealed? Will they find the answers together they have struggled to find alone?

Talented author Sally John weaves a web around her readers, drawing them into her characters' world. I read this book in two sittings, unable to put it down. These ladies came alive, each with a crossroads-crisis in her life. John offers wonderful insight into each woman's make up, and how she handles her problems. I loved how she portrays Molly's faith: strong for others, but her own in peril. Andie struggles with debilitating fear; Char, temptation from a marriage that's stagnant, and Jo is caught in a tidal wave of emotions, carried on the crest by guilt.

Sally John seamlessly ties the sub-plots together through masterful writing. Her secondary characters are just as delightful as the main ones and tote a tad of mystery around them. When I turned the last page of The Beach House, I sighed. I didn't want it to end. I wanted to know more about these ladies. But, oh, what a satisfying read—one of the best of the year. This was the first novel I'd read by Sally John, but you can bet I'll seek out other novels by her. She's hooked another fan!

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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