On a perfect June day, Vivian Howe, author of thirteen beach novels and mother of three nearly grown children, is killed in a hit-and-run car accident while jogging near her home on Nantucket. She ascends to the Beyond where she’s assigned to a Person named Martha, who allows Vivi to watch what happens below for one last summer. Vivi also is granted three “nudges” to change the outcome of events on earth, and with her daughter Willa on her third miscarriage, Carson partying until all hours, and Leo currently “off again” with his high-maintenance girlfriend, she’ll have to think carefully where to use them.
From the Beyond, Vivi watches “The Chief” Ed Kapenash investigates her death, but her greatest worry is her final book, which contains a secret from her own youth that could be disastrous for her reputation. But when hidden truths come to light, Vivi’s family will have to sort out their past and present mistakes—with or without a nudge of help from above—while Vivi finally lets them grow without her.
With all of Elin’s trademark beach scenes, mouth-watering meals, and picture-perfect homes, plus a heartfelt message—the people we lose never really leave us—Golden Girl is a beach book unlike any other.
A Summer ish read that will have you wondering ‘What If?’
Vivian Howe is a bestselling author of beach novels. She’s divorced from JP and they have three grown up children. Early one morning she is killed in a hit and run, and she ascends into The Beyond where she is greeted by Hermès scarf wearing Martha. She’s granted viewing windows in a limited time period and three nudges to influence outcomes on earth. She has to use them wisely to help her children who have more issues than she knows. The story is told via several perspectives in the present and the past.
This is a well written novel which combines the mystery of who killed Viv which is investigated by Nantucket Police Chief Ed Kapenash and it’s about overcoming grief, confronting the truth and acknowledging the past which is where the title comes in.
I really like the premise and the imaginative way The Beyond plays out as we learn Vivi’s secrets as well as those of her family and where their truth lies. I enjoy how Martha gets her precious and valuable Hermès scarves which is admirable justice!
The characters are good although they are all flawed in some way but that does tend to make them more interesting. The insights into Vivi are good and you also come to realise that she’s been too busy with her career to notice what’s really going on in her children’s lives. I like their points of view and understanding just how damaged they are to a lesser or greater degree, and all are struggling with issues.
The family dynamics are good and not just in Vivi’s immediate family either. It does have a bit of everything, there’s some humour to alleviate some of the heaviness, there’s romance and scandalous affairs, there’s the nostalgia of first love, there’s a bit of suspense and of course, the mystery of the car driver which in the end doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
However, on the negative side it’s very slow in places and I find my mind wandering and it’s way too long. There are multiple points of view and I’m not entirely convinced that all are needed.