Thursday, August 14, 2014

Book Review: Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

Pages: 320
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 18, 2013
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Charming ladies’ man Rory Randall dies with one last trick up his sleeve: His will includes a calculating clause mandating a summer-long reunion for his daughters, all from different marriages—that is, if they hope to inherit his posh Nantucket house. Relations among the three sisters are sour thanks to long-festering jealousies, resentments, and misunderstandings. Arden, a successful television host in Boston, hasn’t been back to the island since her teenage years, when accusations of serious misbehavior led to her banishment. College professor Meg hopes to use her summer to finish a literary biography and avoid an amorous colleague. And secretive Jenny, an IT specialist, faces troubling questions about her identity while longing for her sisters’ acceptance.  To their surprise, the three young women find their newfound sisterhood easier to trust than the men who show up to complicate their lives. And if that weren’t problematic enough, their mothers descend on the island. When yet another visitor drops by the house with shocking news, the past comes screaming back with a vengeance. Having all the women from his life under his seaside roof—and overseeing the subsequent drama of that perfect storm—Rory Randall might just be enjoying a hearty laugh from above."
Rory Randall is a bit of bit of a womanizer; he has married three times and has two daughters from different wives and an adopted daughter.  He died unexpectedly and in his will he states that he will give his Nantucket home to his three daughters under one condition: they must live there together for one summer.  The problem is the three sisters don't necessarily get along, thanks to some drama that occurred there as children involving Rory's third wife.  Rory's first daughter, Arden, was a bit of a wild child back in the day, but is now a semi-famous local TV show host.  Arden's half-sister, Meg, is bookish and teaches at the local community college.  The last daughter, Jenny, whom Rory adopted, lives on Nantucket as a computer specialist and is especially nervous about a summer together with her stepsisters since it's her mother who made it so Arden and Meg couldn't visit their father on Nantucket anymore. All three girls are thirty-something now and should be able to get along; however, it proves to be a life-changing summer for the sisters in Nancy Thayer's Island Girls.

When you read a book with three main characters, you can't help but be interested in one woman's story more than another and that was most definitely the case in Island Girls.  I liked how Arden was ambitious and even though she has been dealt a bad hand at work, she still tries to prove herself. Even when she is "vacationing" in Nantucket, she is still thinking of her job and researching for future shows.  The character I connected the most with was bookish, Meg, obviously. I wasn't a big fan of her lack of confidence, but I liked that she was overall a decent person and was writing a book.  Lastly, Jenny was an overall interesting character, especially when it came to understanding her backstory as Jenny doesn't know who her biological father is.

While on Nantucket, all three women learn more about themselves, about their sisters, and about love.  All three girls are involved in a romantic relationship by the novel's end and of course, there are some family secrets that rise to the surface in Island Girls.  Plus, things get even more complicated when all three women's mothers come to the island for the night. Cue the drama.

Thayer did a great job of capturing summer on the beautiful island of Nantucket. I loved reading about their cocktails outside on the patio, the fancy dinners, their gorgeous beach house and warm summer nights under the stars.  There's no doubt in my mind that Thayer really knows her sense of place in Island Girls.

My only complaint about this beach read was the fact that important events, such as their father's untimely death, were sort of glossed over except for one scene involving a little bit of mourning.  But I guess that is what readers come to expect in a beach read….not a lot of depth or character development and more summertime fun.  There were also some coincidences that I had a hard time swallowing, but all in all, I had fun following the three sisters' summer in Island Girls.  

So, if you are looking for a fluffy beach read with not a lot of depth (and sometimes that is what you need on vacation!), Nancy Thayer's Island Girls fits the bill.


  1. You know I can't resist a Nantucket setting! This one is definitely going on my beach reads list! :)

    1. I loved the setting of Nantucket and I think you would as well! I definitely liked this one better than Nantucket Sisters. Thanks for visiting, Leanna!

  2. I think Mary Alice Monroe has a novel about three sisters and a beach house too and I think there are some Christian fiction authors who write beach reads that have used the same trope. I guess if you have a falling out with family or friends, the beach is the perfect place to mend fences... :)

    I've had a like/hate relationship with Nancy Thayer's books but this one sounds like a book I might enjoy.

    1. Haha. You are so right. It seems many authors of women's fiction sort of follow that formula. I wasn't in love Thayer's Nantucket Sisters, but I liked this one a bit more. Thanks for visiting, Christina.

  3. Sometimes all you need to read at the beach is some sweet fluff, Christina! I love those stories about women and girls finding themselves, and this seems to fit that bill entirely. Count me in. Lovely review!

    1. It was a perfect beach read for just turning off your mind and relaxing a bit. Thanks for visiting, Melissa!

  4. I'm intrigued! Nantucket, family secrets, a little romance, a little drama...sounds like a fun book to dive into :)

    Awesome review!


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