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Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax

Wendy Wax has an excellent beach read with substance in Ten Beach Road for those of you looking for an end of summer winner.  Ripped from the headlines, these three women find that their only remaining asset is a rundown beach house (Bella Flora) in Florida after Malcolm Dyer — aka Bernie Madoff — stole their life savings.  Madeline’s life has been flipped upside down when she realizes her investment advising husband not only lost his clients’ money in a giant Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Dyer, but also that of his family.  Meanwhile, Avery has discovered that her father’s estate was similarly lost just as her stint as a co-host of Hammer and Nail on HGTV as her ex-husband edges her out with his elbow.  Nicole’s situation is a bit different because she had a personal connection to Dyer and her trust was more born of that loyalty than a financial desire, which makes her financial crash all the more crushing.

“‘Yes, it’s a fine old home,’ the Realtor said as if their surprise had been of joy.  ‘And as you’ll see a large portion of it has been renovated.  It just needs a little tender loving care.’

‘More like hospitalization,’ Nicole said.  ‘Or a team of paramedics.'” (page 56)

Add to the mix, a former childhood male friend, Chase, who had the perfect family life that Avery wanted and an FBI agent, Giraldi, stalking Nicole and looking for Dyer, and you’ve got a bit of mystery and sexual tension.  Wax has a down-to-earth sense of humor that livens up the playful interactions of three strangers, who soon become friends offering advice and support as they deal with family drama.  Her characters are varied and out to prove themselves to one another, their families, and everyone else, demonstrating their strengths and hiding their weaknesses as best they can.  Avery is the degreed architect portrayed on television as an airhead; Nicole is the bombshell who makes her living pairing up the rich and famous; and Madeline is the trunk of her family tree, the one that holds it all together just as the hurricane is set to rip everything apart.

“The army had spread out to attack different sections of the garden.  John Franklin sat on a camp chair that had been placed near the fountain, a smile on his face as he watched his wife command her battalion.

‘Mrs. Franklin wanted to get started before it got too hot,’ Avery said.  ‘I don’t think a single one of them is under seventy-five.  They’ll fill in with some new plantings after the house has been pressure washed and painted.’

Nicole moved down the hall to peer out the rear windows above the loggia; that was the one advantage in being last in line — she didn’t need to hold on to her spot.  Only her bladder.  ‘Good God, that woman is climbing up that tree.  I think she’s got a . . . ‘

The whir of an electric saw drifted p to them followed by the crash of a limb landing on concrete.”  (page 237)

What makes this novel more than women’s fiction is the mystery of where Malcolm Dyer is and how tragedy can either pull families apart or bring them together.  Readers searching for a summer read to close out their holiday season should seriously consider Wendy Wax’s Ten Beach Road for its tropical locale — Florida — its hot men — Chase and Giraldi — and the triumph of its female leads as they find their inner strength and pursue their dreams of redemption.

This is my 52nd book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

  • (Unrelated to this post but … CONGRATULATIONS on winning best poetry blog for BBAW! You do an excellent job promoting poetry and I’m glad you’re being recognized for it.)

  • I’m glad to see you liked it and it wasn’t as light and fluffy as one would expect based on the cover.

    • That cover is deceiving. There are lighter moments in the book and quite a bit of humor, but there are some tougher topics tackled here…which was an excellent surprise.

  • I haven’t read any books by Wendy Wax as of yet but I did buy this hoping to read it over the summer. I better get moving on it if I hope to read it while it is warm out. I was quick to write this off as a light chick lit book and am glad to see there is more to it than I thought originally. I am going to go dog my copy out now. Great review!

    • Beth: I’m so glad I inspired you to read it. This is much more than Chicklit. I didn’t even tag it as such for this review…just as fiction. I think it delves a lot deeper than the typical women’s fiction reads. And its good to read while warm out.

  • I was hoping to have this read by now, because I adore Wendy Wax. I’m glad to see her sense of humor comes through in the book.

    • I really enjoyed it. This was my first Wendy Wax novel. I really liked it.

  • I have to agree with you on this one. In alot of ways, it was a predictable women’s beach read, but had more heft and addressed some big issues. I also loved it because I am familiar with exactly where these ladies are in the book. It is gorgeous over there, and just fed my fantasy of living on the beach someday (but then there are those pesky hurricanes). I am hoping to meet Wendy at SIBA this year.

    • I liked the heftier issues and how it wasn’t just about the men. It was a good change of pace in women’s fiction for me. I’d love to live on the beach as well, but those hurricanes are no fun.

      I hope you and Wendy get to meet. You’ll definitely have to blog about it. This is my first book by her that I’ve read, but I’ll definitely be reading another.