Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 16, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Fifteen years ago, seventeen-year-old Vanessa Moran fell in love and lost her virginity but not to the same boy. Pregnant, desperate, and humiliated, she fled friends and family and Whisper Beach, New Jersey, never breathing a word about her secret to anyone. She hasn’t been back since. Now a professional Manhattan organizer, she returns to the funeral of her best friend’s husband. She intends on just paying her respects and leaving—though she can’t deny she also wants the town to see how far she’s come as a successful business woman. But her plans to make this a short visit fall by the wayside when her girlfriends have other ideas. Dorie, the owner of the pier’s Blue Crab Restaurant where Van and her friends worked as teenagers, needs help. Dorie’s roving husband spends every penny they make and now their restaurant is failing. Joe, the boy Van left behind without an explanation, has never stopped loving her. While he’s wary of getting hurt again, he also can’t help wondering what would happen if they took up where they left off. As the summer progresses and the restaurant takes on a new look, trouble comes from unexpected sources. For Van, this summer will test the meaning of friendship and trust—and how far love can bend before it breaks."
Vanessa (Van) Moran is a successful professional organizer living out her dream in New York City. She left her Jersey Shore beach town behind her along with all of the memories. In fact, she hasn't returned since that fateful night she suddenly. Her cousin's husband has unexpectedly died, so she has returned for his funeral. Her cousin, Gigi, used to be her best friend, but she hasn't seen her in years. There's also other people she's reunited with, such as, her good friend Suze, a struggling professor. There's also her older friend, Dorie, who owns the Blue Crab Restaurant that Van used to work as a teenager. Plus, Dorie has helped her out countless times when she was growing up, so reuniting with her has been memorable. However, there is one person she doesn't want to see and that is her ex-boyfriend, Joe. She loved him tremendously, but there was some drama and she left it all behind, despite both of their lingering feelings. Can Van mend these bridges or will she leave her old shore town for good and never come back again? Shelley Noble's quiet beach read, Whisper Beach, is a slow moving novel that focuses on the complex relationships people form in a small town that knows your every move.
I never fully connected with Van in Whisper Beach. She sort of felt distant to me and I never got into her head as much as I wanted to. Her childhood was a rough one as her dad is an alcoholic, but Dorie was there to help her get through it. Van has many secrets, specifically regarding why she left without so much as a goodbye and many people in her life want answers. Some people even thought she died! So, when she returns for the funeral, many questions are raised and there's lots of talk.
Joe, Van's ex-boyfriend, also hasn't had the easiest life in Whisper Beach. He planned on taking over his parents' dairy farm, but while he was at school, they up and sold it. He has plans to revamp it, but it's going to take a lot of work. Joe has never really forgotten Van, so when she returns, she makes waves in Joe's life as well.
Noble jumps from Van's point of view, to Dorie's and then Joe's as well. I felt that this was too much as I didn't get enough time with each character, consequently, I never felt fully invested in a particular character's storyline.
I love the Jersey Shore beach towns, so I was excited to read Whisper Beach. Noble does a great job portraying a quiet beach town and also how news can travel fast amongst the locals. I loved the concept of a woman returning home to deal with her tough memories and the people she left behind. Everyone seemed to be hiding their own secrets and their own problems in Whisper Beach.
If you are looking for a quiet beach read, then I'd recommend Whisper Beach, but if you want something that packs a little more punch, then I'd tell you to turn to Elin Hilderbrand or even Nancy Thayer.