Jane Green, The Beach House read by Cassandra Campbell

Nan localizes Nantucket. Charmed, beautiful, slightly eccentric, she is at that age  where she can get away with mostly anything:   trespassing or swimming naked or wearing scarlet lipstick everywhere.

Nan lives in a huge old house where she has decided to run a bed and breakfast for summer guests. It is this  house which  brings together a handful of curious, complicated personalities: Michael, Nan’s son, Bea and Daniel (a soon to be divorced couple), Daphne (a divorced real estate agent) and her hormonal and horrible daughter.

Nan eases and re-invents the lives which assemble around her; she couples, amuses, and converts her guests, into friends, into family.

The Beach House by Jane Green read by Cassandra Campbell

“Don’t you know I’m going to live happily ever after anyway?”

After painting, waxing, polishing, wallpapering, and flowering up her old Nantucket house, Nan tells Sara about a man she met and loved. Sarah replies: but wouldn’t it be nice if you met him again and fell in love and lived happily ever after…?

It is then that Nan replies: “Don’t you know I’m going to live happily ever after anyway?” Thus an overgrammatical, nervously detailed book about women becomes a different kind of woman’s book. For it is a woman’s book. Men do not want to read about hypercritical wives with unemotional husbands. No, men do not want to read about the thousand layers of feelings baked into 3 women with marital problems. But then neither do women.

This is not just another old-woman-who-turns-an-old-house-into-a-bed-and-breakfast-and-finds-X (money, god, sex, success) book. This is a book about Nan, a lovely, lipsticked, free and sentimental gardener who smokes and bikes and lives in a big old house alone. Nan gathers around herself an assemblage of half couples, gay, divorced, confused and lonely. Somehow they mix and change each other — if only for the duration of a summer.