“See Lola, you’re the only one with nothing to confess. You’re the only one who’s never done anything rotten enough to ask for forgiveness.”
Lola put her had back and laughed, a bright swelling laugh that made the others smile to hear it.
“Why are you laughing?” Mel asked.
“What’s so funny?”
“If only it were that easy,” Lola said. – From Beach Trip –
Beach Trip, Cathy Holton’s third novel, brings together four women in their forties for a reunion on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Although best friends at a small Southern college during the 1980’s, all four have taken different paths in their lives – and all four are hiding secrets. Sara is married with two children and struggles with the recent autism diagnosis of her son; Annie, also married with two children, has spent her whole life obsessively cleaning and making the world around her perfect while a decision from her past weighs heavily on her shoulders; Lola finds herself married to a controlling bully and has lost herself in prescription medications; and Mel, a twice divorced novelist covers her loneliness with humor, alcohol and meaningless sex.
Holton fully develops each character by weaving the present with the past and moving back and forth between each woman’s point of view. Throughout the novel, there is a sense of mystery and unspoken truths which creates the tension that drives the narrative. By gradually revealing each of her characters, Holton allows the reader time to get to know them. Despite her crassness, I found myself appreciating Mel the most – a character who perhaps is the most damaged, yet faces life head on with a spirit I could admire.
Beach Trip falls squarely in the genre of women’s fiction. Holton captures the essence of female friendship – the intimacy laced with conflict, the warmth and self-deprecating humor, and the comradery which develops when faced with crises. It is an enjoyable read with a surprising twist at the end. Holton’s prose is often funny. The reader gets the feeling that Holton cares deeply about each of her characters and their lives.
Beach Trip is recommended for readers who enjoy women’s fiction and are looking for a good summertime read.
Read an excerpt of Beach Trip.
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