Abbie, Emma, and Lily Fox are grown women, but their ties to their father and their Nantucket Island home are strong. Even though the two older sisters have moved out to establish their own homes, and despite the fact that the motherless sisters have been apart for awhile, all it takes is an e-mail message from one of them to bring the troops home.
Home is where their father Jim lives, along with twenty-two year old Lily.
Recently, Emma has burrowed into the nest, after a shocking betrayal by her fiancé. She has lost her love, her business, and her condo. Since her return home, though, she has curled up under the covers to mourn.
Abbie, as the oldest sister, is the one who mothered the other two when their mother died…Even though Abbie was only fifteen when it happened. But Lily’s e-mail message to Abbie, begging her help, is not just about Emma. Their father has rented out the “playhouse” to a woman, and he seems entirely too interested in her.
Marina, the woman renting the cottage, has her own pain and loss to overcome. Her husband fell in love and impregnated her best friend, which is especially painful, since Marina has been trying to get pregnant for years. So she, too, is licking her own wounds on the island that summer.
We meet each of the women in turn, during one unique summer; the chapters reveal bits and pieces of their lives, their attitudes, and their feelings. By the time the story has moved into gear, we’ve gone a long way toward really understanding each of these characters.
Abbie may be just a bit overly protective of the others, but that is starting to change. She is especially less permissive with Lily, the “baby,” which irritates this youngest sister.
Emma’s depression is worrisome to the others, primarily because it evokes old and painful memories of their mother, Danielle, who spiraled downward into a dangerous depression just before her death.
Each of the women begins to discover herself and to form new attachments…to people they’ve met through their jobs and through their renewed connections in the island community. Will Abbie finally let go of her extreme sense of responsibility for the others and form her own attachments? Will she fall in love? And what about Emma? Will she get past the pain of her lost love and begin again? And what will it take to make that happen? Lily seems so totally self-involved, that one could almost believe that she is the most free from constraints. But the past begins to intrude and remind her, as well as her sisters, that sometimes pain and loss accompany family attachments.
I thoroughly enjoyed Beachcombers: A Novel and how the author portrayed the personal choices and transformations that each woman must make, conveying that life moves on and people can heal and grow. This book has definitely earned five stars, in my opinion.