I may have shaken my head a hundred times while reading this book. I just don't even know what to say. The POV changes multiple times (we have the main female character, Riley, her brother, and her love interest from when she was a teenager, Nate, and Riley's best friend whose name eludes me right now).
The flow was tedious and trying to loop a romance in with a mystery ultimately did not work. I think Andrews was going towards a more cozy mystery feel, and there was just too much going on for any one genre she was aiming for to fully work. Good news is that I was able to whiz through this book. Probably because I did not sit and think too hard at the implausible plots.
Riley, her 12 year old daughter Maggy (seriously the spelling of people's names in this book was maddening) and her husband are supposed to go to the family summer get away on Belle Isle, North Carolina. Belle Isle is a place for the truly rich (when you hear how much some of the homes cost I was left gobsmacked) and for those who want to pretend to be part of the in crowd for summer. Readers quickly find that not all things are as they seem in Riley's life and when she is left dealing with the aftermath of goings on that her husband did not tell her about, Riley is left trying to put everything back together.
Here's the thing. I was sympathetic to a certain extent to Riley. But, she's supposedly 41 I think at the beginning of this novel. And I had a hard time really mustering up any sympathy when you find out what was going on right under her nose that she had no idea about. Also Riley's family (her mother and brother) also not that bright. I don't want to give too much away. But all of them just allowed themselves to be taken advantage of, though in Riley's brother's case, he had no real choice. So everyone trying to defend the guilty party was a bit too much for me.
Speaking of Riley's brother, his whole story-line was a do not pass go for me at all. I really hated how the ending shook out with no real repercussions for what this character did.
Same issue I had with Riley's daughter. She was nasty from the beginning almost to the end. Since these are fictional characters you can't tell Riley that she's allowing herself to be stepped all over by her mother and daughter, but she was throughout the book. I also didn't see a real change between them almost to the end when the two of them were trying to go on from things.
I honestly wish that Andrews had left the romance out of the book, because I could not stand the character of Nate at all. He was overbearing and I too thought it was tacky with how fast Andrews had this character and Riley run around all in love with each other. Nate trying to police Maggy rubbed me wrong too. I just think there was a lot going on there and trying to slap two people together like this with nothing in common really didn't work.
I don't know why Andrews included the best friend in this at all. I felt like I was supposed to be reading between the lines with her and her husband and just gave up.
The writing was not really working for me at all. Due to the character of Maggy having diabetes I hope you like reading about her food restrictions and how much she tests her blood. It was just boring. Same with the constant fighting between that character and Riley. And Riley snooping to undercover nefarious goings on and her starting to catch feelings for Nate. There was no real build up to anything. You are just told things.
The flow was off once the mystery aspect of things entered into the main story. You go from a breezy beach romance read to a darker storyline that Andrews could not pull off.
The setting of Belle Isle read as a place for the filthy rich to go. I honestly could not get over how much this family was throwing around their money. There never seemed to be any place that they could all go to besides riding the ferry back and forth.
The ending made me shrug both shoulders. I still don't get what Riley's job is at all. Andrews was so light on details, but happy ending here we come.