Saturday, May 05, 2018

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

The cover of Mary Kay Andrews' latest novel, The High Tide Club, would lead you to expect another
one of her enjoyable beach reads with a tight group of female friends and light humor. Wrong, in all aspects. Oh, there's a tight-knit group of friends in 1941, but they drift apart. The contemporary group of descendants never really gel.

In October 1941, three young women and a fourteen-year-old friend bury a man on Talisa Island off the Georgia coast. The story of that week is told throughout the book, in alternate chapters. Almost eighty years later, Josephine Bettendorf Warrick, who owns most of the island, wants to find her surviving friends, or their descendants. She hires a struggling attorney, Brooke Trappnell, to search for the women. Josephine has her reasons for hiring Brooke, but the ninety-nine-year-old woman never reveals them.

Brooke's desperate for work. The single mother has hospital bills for her three-year-old who broke his arm when he was playing. Once Brooke realizes Josephine wants her to find her friends or their children or grandchildren, and wants Brooke to fight the state over Talisa Island, she knows she's over her head. She reaches out to her mentor, Gabe Wynant, for help.

Brooke, Gabe, and all of the women, including Brooke's mother, Marie, gather at Talisa Island so Josephine can reveal her secrets. She intends for the women to inherit the island, but before she can finish her story, or sign her will, Josephine dies. Now, it's up to Brooke and two other women to dig into the past to find the truth.

The High Tide Club is not light and fun. Instead, it's a long, drawn out story with multiple storylines. A couple of those storylines come together, the 1941 account of the burial and the women who form "The High Tide Club" leads to the current investigation into Josephine's life. There are mysteries of paternity and death that tie them together. But, the story of Brooke's relationship with the father of her son seems to be an add-on, and one that ends abruptly without development.

I felt as if the book could have been cut in half. If I hadn't been reading it for a review, I would have quit when there was no action in the first 200 pages. On the other hand, a friend who normally doesn't care for Andrews' humorous beach books, really enjoyed this one. We all have different tastes. If you read The High Tide Club, I'd love to know what you think.

Mary Kay Andrews' website is

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews. St. Martin's Press, 2018. ISBN 9781250126061 (hardcover), 448p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Charlotte said...

Lesa, I haven’t read any of her beach books.
I read all her Callahan Garrity mysteries written under the name Kathy Hogan Trocheck. I really enjoyed all of them. I wrote her and asked if she planned to write any more. She didn’t really commit on that question. She kinder left me thinking she might. So far she hasn’t.

Have a great week end.

Lesa said...

I liked all those Callahan Garrity mysteries, too, Charlotte. Actually preferred them, but she's making more money on the beach books.

Kaye Barley said...

I really loved those Callahan Garrity books also. Not only was I living in Atlanta while she was writing them, but I lived in the Atlanta community in which Callahan lived so a lot of the places in the books were places I knew quite well.

And yes, I'm the one who really enjoyed The High Tide Club. And you are so right - it's exactly as we have said so many times, "different books for different folks."

Carol N Wong said...

I have never tried her mysteries. I gave up on all her books after making it through the one that I tried. Too light and rambling for me.

Grandma Cootie said...

Lesa -
I have read The High Tide Club and did enjoy it, so I was skimming your review until I got to the part where you would have stopped reading. I agree with your observations and wondered why they didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. What stood out for me in liking it was the fact that there was a mystery as well as the usual beach read so the loose ends in the plot didn’t bother me too much. I read most genres but a few years ago just seemed to hit a stop with cozies and now I seem to be going off beach reads, keep dropping those authors off my to-read list and, except for the fact that I’ve already downloaded, cued, and started listening to Jane Green’s The Beach House while walking, would have stopped it, too. Or maybe it’s merely that I’ve been lucky enough to read a lot lately and with the exception of The Madonna of the Mountains really enjoyed most of it, so maybe I’m just in a reading happy place right now. - Sally

Lesa said...

Kaye, Aren't you glad we don't always like the same books? It's so much more interesting this way? I like to see what others saw in a book that I missed.

Lesa said...

Her mysteries had some meat to them, Carol.

Lesa said...

Sally, You're right. I'm so glad you in a good place with what you're reading right now. Some cozies lately have turned me off, but I've also discovered some that have been delightful, such as Cake & Punishment.

radicalsister said...

I liked the book but I didn’t think Brooke seemed real. She seemed very immature and thin skinned for someone of thirty something regarding her parents view of her. She seemed kind of naive and timid especially with the babysitter too. For me they could have left out the part about David. It just seemed like a waste of pages. So much went into the book but I knew that Varnie was raped when Millie was raped. Then the part about CD was sort of over kill. I just wanted it go ahead and unfold. She has had much better books.

radicalsister said...

It was hard to believe Brooke was mature enough to be a lawyer.