Friday, May 28, 2021

Book Review: Family Reunion by Nancy Thayer

Pages: 304
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: Ballantine
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "Eleanor Sunderland loves living on the Nantucket cliffside, in a charming home that has been in her family for decades. Now widowed, she looks forward to the arrival of her children and grandchildren for an annual family reunion, eager for the life and laughter that will soon fill the air.  But Eleanor's island idyll is shattered when her money-driven children suggest she sell the house and move to a retirement community. She finds a lone ally in her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, Ari, who moves in with her for the summer. Ari longs for a change of scenery, to stray from the path her parents have set for her. What she does not expect is an electric romantic spark with a Nantucket local, Cal, whose kind heart and charisma have her absolutely smitten.  With plenty of her signature Nantucket magic, Nancy Thayer brings both Eleanor and Ari on a summer beyond their wildest imaginations, filled with exciting connections, old and new."


Eleanor lives in a beautiful cliff side home on the island of Nantucket.  It's been in her family for generations. She is a widow, so the winters on the island can be very isolating.  This has her adult children, Cliff and Alicia, worried about her. They want her to sell her home to developers who have been chomping at the bit for her property for years. It doesn't hurt that her children will receive one-third of the sale money, which thrills her children, especially Alicia who is obsessed with money despite never having worked a day in her life.  But Eleanor doesn't want to sell her family home. She's happy on Nantucket and things become even more exciting for her when her one-and-only granddaughter, Ari, decides to spend the summer on the island with her.  Ari just graduated college and could use some time to clear her head.  Where better to do this than on beautiful Nantucket?  Well, things aren't so calm this summer.  Ari's parents hits some major bumps in the road, Eleanor's son, Cliff, can't seem to settle down with one woman, and Ari finds out some life-changing information this summer.  Eleanor can kiss her boring life goodbye since this summer there's plenty of family drama including some of her own.  Nancy Thayer's Family Reunion is a decent family drama set on idyllic Nantucket.  All of the drama is nicely balanced out, so it's a refreshing story about family and taking the next step to a new chapter of life.

Eleanor is a charming character in Family Reunion.  I did find some of her daily routines to be a bit boring as she is retired and doesn't have much going on, but it was balanced out nicely by the chapters focusing on Ari.  Once Ari visits, Eleanor has a lot on her plate including a new love interest. I like how Thayer juxtaposed the characters of Ari and Eleanor. Even though they are many years apart, they still have to deal with a lot of the same problems in life.  Ari and Eleanor helped each other through some difficult days and I liked that aspect of the novel. It made me miss my grandmother!

Ari comes to Nantucket to take a break, but things get complicated quickly in Family Reunion. I don't want to give away her secrets, but they are definitely life-changing. Thankfully, she has her grandmother to lean on as her mother, Alicia, is a flake and has her own problems that preoccupy her. While on Nantucket, Ari gets a summer job at a children's camp and meets someone new.  Cue the summer romance.

The secondary characters in Family Reunion could have been developed a bit more.  For example, Eleanor's family is the worst with the exception of Ari.  Alicia is a horrible human. I couldn't stand her. She is a money-grubber and I felt like she was a caricature at times.  I would have liked for her to be fleshed out a bit more as she seemed over-the-top.  Every time she spoke, I rolled my eyes.

So, if you are a fan of Thayer, I don't think you will be disappointed by Family Reunion, especially if you like multi-generational tales. The descriptions of Nantucket were what readers have come to expect from Thayer and the family drama was nicely balanced. While it wasn't my favorite of Thayer's novels, I still enjoyed it.  

So, are you a fan of Nancy Thayer? Have you read Family Reunion? Is it on your summer TBR list? Let me know in the comments below.



  1. There's always an annoying member of a family, isn't it? I haven't read anything by this author, tbh. This sure doesn't sound like a good starting point, though.

    1. Right?? I think Thayer's novels are perfect for the summer and yes, this would be a decent starting point! Thanks for visiting, Joy!

  2. One of these days, I'm going to visit Nantucket!

    1. I know, right? I would LOVE to go! Thayer does bring it to life very well. Thanks for visiting, Angela.


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