Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review: The Beach Hut by Cassandra Parkin

Title: The Beach Hut
Author: Cassandra Parkin
Publisher: 5 September 2015 by Legend Times Group
Pages: 336 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: fiction, contemporary
My Rating: 3 cups

It is autumn time and on a peaceful Cornish beach, Finn and his sister Ava defy planning regulations and achieve a childhood dream when they build themselves an illegal beach hut. This tiny haven will be their home until Ava departs at Midwinter for a round-the-world adventure. In the town, local publican Donald is determined to get rid of them. Still mourning the death of his wife, all he wants is a quiet place where he can forget the past and raise his daughter Alicia in safety. But Alicia is wrestling with demons of her own. As the sunshine fades and winter approaches, the beach hut stirs old memories for everyone. Their lives become entwined in surprising ways and the secrets of past and present are finally exposed.

My Thoughts

In a Cornish coastal town, two siblings have built an illegal beach hut, fulfilling their childhood dream. However, their bohemian lifestyle rocks some of the locals and intrigues others. Contrary to it's name, this is no light, refreshing beach read. Hidden secrets slowly unfold (a little too slowly for me at times), intermingled with flashback and fairytales makes this a rather complex read. All the threads slowly come together for dramatic twists by the end. This is a book all about relationships - of every variety - but mostly familial ones and learning to let go.  

"The time they'd wasted; the years they'd been robbed of. He thought he'd made his peace with all this years ago but now here it was again."

The story itself is very well written, yet a format of going back in time to the past and back to the present alternatively, for me, most definitely interrupted the flow. I have to confess to getting confused and in the end stopped clicking the contents page on my Kindle to check time spans. Each of the characters are fairly unique and multidimensional.  There is an extraordinarily strong bond between between brother an sister, Ava and Finn, but I also found this to be somewhat over the top and at times exceedingly eccentric. Individually, I found Ava and Finn fascinating, but put them together and it all becomes a bit of an eye roll for me. 

Finn's fairy tales (not the light, flippant variety, but rather the deep and meaningful kind) are interspersed among the chapters in this book and in some way relate to the characters of the story and what was going on or had happened in their life, as a way of explaining things. For me, the jury is still out on their inclusion.

Even with the ending of the story, you are left with mystery and melancholy and have to draw some conclusions yourself. Don't be mistaken, this is an emotional ride for the reader. However, for this reader, the journey branched out in too many places that I found it difficult to reconcile. However, it is well written, thoughtful and authentic, and for many, unforgettable.

"Together we're invincible," Finn said. Ava nodded. "Us two against the world."

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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