Thursday, May 27, 2021

Audio Book Review: The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Pub. Date: April 6, 2021
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "How do you start a new chapter of your life when you haven't closed the book on the previous one?  Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac's husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers, and she can't imagine moving forward without him. But for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.  Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort working alongside her mother and aunt at their bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a huge life change and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into the boy who stole her heart in high school, old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband's return? She can only trust her heart...and hope it won't lead her astray."



Autumn's husband has gone missing while at work. She hasn't stopped looking for him, but she wonders if maybe it's time to move forward just a little as it's been a year and a half. She has two teenage children to think about.  So, she decides to take her kids home for the summer and see her mother.  Autumn grew up in a gorgeous coastal town in Virginia, so she is excited to have her kids experience a small town community and spend time with her mother, Mary.  Her mother owns a bookstore right on the beach, so this adds further charm to the beachy community.  Once at home, Autumn finds out her ex-boyfriend, Quinn, is also back in town and newly divorced.  He isn't home for good reasons though. His mother is battling cancer, so he is obviously there to support her.  When Autumn reconnects with Quinn, sparks fly, but could they really give their relationship another chance with the amount of baggage they both have?  Then there's Autumn's kids, Taylor and Caden.  Taylor is harboring some major secrets this summer and we are talking major.  Then there's Mary, the grandmother, who is also withholding family secrets that would impact Autumn greatly, but she can't tell her any of it with all she is going through.   Looks like this is going to be anything but a quiet summer at Sable Beach.  Brenda Novak's The Bookstore on the Beach isn't your quiet beach read. It's filled to the brim with family secrets and shocking drama.

At first, I really liked the character of Autumn in The Bookstore on the Beach. Despite all she has been through, she returns home to get away from things and center herself back in Sable Beach.  I absolutely LOVED the idea of a bookstore on the beach and really enjoyed those parts of the novel where Autumn would help out at the store as well as describe the close-knit community of Sable Beach.  I also saw the budding relationship with Quinn coming from a mile away despite all the drama surrounding the two. To clarify, Autumn's husband is still missing and was working with the FBI and  Quinn's ex-wife tried to kill him. I'm not kidding. So, we aren't dealing with a drama free relationship here. 

The chapters also include many from Taylor's point of view. Again, at first I really liked how Novak included many generations in The Bookstore on the Beach, but quickly it got serious for Taylor.  Taylor is dealing with a lot of issues this summer. She isn't just lounging in the sun meeting new friends and possibly catching up on summer reading. Oh, no. She is dealing with teen pregnancy, sexuality questions, and even friends who have abusive fathers. I mean it's some serious stuff.  As I was reading, I kept checking the cover of the book, because I don't think the cover accurately reflects the actual plot.

And if you didn't think there could be further drama in The Bookstore on the Beach, there is.  Mary, the grandmother, is also hiding secrets. These aren't your usual grandmother secrets. Once again, Novak really goes over the top and let's just say the secrets surround Autumn's birth. These secrets we are privy to as Novak includes some chapters narrated by her as well. It's quite the soap opera if you ask me. Once the private investigator comes to town, I knew Novak was going to pile on even more drama.

So, if this is the kind of beach read you like - one that is overflowing with outlandish drama much like an oversized tropical cocktail they serve at all-inclusive resorts, then dive right in.  I listened to the audio version and I will say I was hooked, because it was so unbelievable.  That made for a nice escape, but just not one the type I was hoping for.  Maybe it's me, because Publishers Weekly gave The Bookstore on the Beach a starred review, but I just wasn't sold.

So, are you a fan of Brenda Novak? Have you read her other novels? Have you read The Bookstore on the Beach? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. Although I like the bookstore on the beach idea, the drama and secrets sound a little too out there for me!

    1. There's a lot of drama! A lot. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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