Friday, September 11, 2020

Book Review: The View From Here by Hannah McKinnon

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 2, 2020
Publisher: Atria
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 Goodreads says, "Siblings Perry, Jack, and Phoebe Goodwin were raised on the shore of a beautiful Connecticut lake in a close-knit family. The eldest of the family, forty-two-year-old Perry has long craved order as surely as his charismatic younger brother, Jack, has avoided it. Phoebe, their baby sister, courts both. As adults the Goodwins could not be more different. Perry is as married to his career in New York as a risk analyst as Phoebe is to her college sweetheart, but both have returned to Connecticut to raise their young families. Charismatic middle child Jack, however, has spent his years living away and working odd jobs, unable to settle. The three have not spent much time together…until this summer. On the afternoon of their grandmother’s 97th birthday party, the siblings reunite at the lake house where Jack stuns the family with a stranger on his arm and an announcement.  Olivia Cossette, daughter of a French chef, does not share the Goodwin’s traditional New England upbringing or sense of family. What she does share is parenthood, as the single mother of a little girl who does not speak. While the Goodwins struggle to welcome the newcomers over the course of the summer, a series of bad choices made by each family member finally unravels, leaving them all to question just what truly makes a family.  Can one fateful moment on a July afternoon undo a lifetime of good intentions? Only one thing is for certain—this extraordinary summer has irrevocably changed the Goodwin family and all that remains is the uncertain future.  With Hannah McKinnon’s signature “enticing and refreshing” (Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author) prose, this is a warm-hearted novel that is perfect for fans of Mary Alice Monroe’s the Beach House series and the works of Elin Hilderbrand."

The Goodwin family is a tight-knit group who all live on an idyllic Connecticut lake.  The eldest son, Perry, is successful and has wonderful family of his own.  His daughter, Emma, is a teenager though and has started to test her boundaries.  Phoebe, the middle child, has bought her dream house on the lake except it requires a ton of work.  While renovating the house they are finding more and more problems and in turn, this is posing a problem within her own family.  Lastly, there's the youngest child, Jake, who has always had things come easily for him, much to Perry's dismay.  He is now engaged to a wonderful woman, Olivia, and his parents are thrilled. Finally, he is settling down! Olivia has a young daughter and despite the extra responsibilities (which Perry doesn't think he is ready for), Jake seems ready to take it on.  The Goodwin parents decide to throw an engagement party for Jake and Olivia, and disaster quickly ensues. There's a boating accident and it leaves many questions for the Goodwin family.  What caused the accident? Who is keeping secrets? This summer may change the Goodwin family forever.  Hannah McKinnon's beach read, The View from Here, has a lot of family drama, a gorgeous lake setting, and memorable characters.

I really liked the Goodwin family in The View from Here.  Perry is totally type A and resents his brother. This dynamic felt real and it was done well in the novel.  When the chapter was from his point of view, you couldn't help but cringe, because he is just so uptight and awkward.  The polar opposite of him is his youngest brother, Jake.  It really irritates Perry that things have come easily to Jake. He always was the center of attention, girls liked him, and now he is engaged to the seemingly perfect, Olivia. But we all know that things are never what they seem, right?  Plus, Olivia has a daughter who is selectively mute, so things aren't always easy for her.

Then there's Phoebe who is a bit of a mess and I loved her for it. Taking care of her twin sons everyday and taking on such a big renovation really stretches her mental health as well as her marriage. Every mom can relate to her.  My heart went out to her, because you can clearly see this house is the house of her dreams, but will she follow through with all the renovations and at what cost? 

The chapters in The View from Here were narratorated by each Goodwin sibling as well as Emma, Perry's daughter. As a fan of YA fiction, I appreciated McKinnon's take on Emma.  Emma is teenager who is experiencing more freedom, interested in guys, and is starting to branch out to different social groups.  This is all compounded by a summer on the lake, and McKinnon did a good job tying her story in as well.

The View from Here isn't all beautiful days at the lake though. There's some dark elements in the novel, especially surrounding the boating accident.  Due to this accident, there's a lot of Goodwin family turmoil. It felt like an episode of Parenthood, which is a compliment in my book. So, if you love your beach reads with a strong side of family drama, give The View from Here a try this summer. 

Are you a fan of Hannah McKinnon's beach reads? Is this one on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. The sibling relationships and interactions sound really intriguing!

    1. They really were--definitely had a Parenthood vibe. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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