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Anne Brooke: fiction writer

Contemporary gay romance and fantasy writer. Also loves flowers and bakes the occasional cake. Sometimes they're edible ...

An unfortunate turkey

The Beach House by Green, Jane 1st (first) Printing Edition (2009) - Jane Green

Oh dear, oh dear. This is a very unfortunate and laughable (in the wrong sense) book - which is a great shame as I'm usually a fan of Jane Green's books. Sadly, here it seems as if she just couldn't be bothered to write it or she was distracted elsewhere.


It starts off okay - and it's certainly light and easy reading, which was what I wanted. But there's an awful lot of telling us the back story, and I don't think the current day plot actually got started until about one hundred pages in. In fact the characters don't even reach the house in question until three-quarters of the book is done, so you can see the problem from the start. Ms Green should have got them all there asap and then we could have found out their lives at that point.


There were also numerous things which seriously annoyed me, enough to result in no less than two rants across our breakfast table - which certainly startled my husband. First of all, there are really no nice men in this novel. They're all horrid. Daniel is extremely cruel (and if I'd been his wife I would have kicked him where it hurts), Michael is extremely selfish (oh dear you had an affair with a married woman and left her severely damaged and now you're upset at how miserable your life is, well boo hoo to you and why don't you grow a pair, you horrible little man?...), and Evan is extremely cowardly. I also got very annoyed when Michael accused poor Daff of being underhand and makes her swear she's being honest now. Um, you're the one who had an affair, Michael, and ruined two people's lives. If I were Daff, I would have told you to take some of your own ruddy medicine when it comes to personal honour. Whilst kicking you in the goolies, too.


It doesn't get any better at the end either. The coincidence involving Evan is laughingly, achingly bad (my dears, I shrieked with annoyance and disbelief!), and from then on it gets soooo cloyingly treacly and ill-written that I could have started a sugar-beet farm (probably several) from the sweetness. Yuk and yuk. I had to laugh, or I would have cried. Deep sigh ...