By: Barbara Davis
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: August 2015
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: September 15, 2015
Barbara Davis delivers another solid read in her latest novel, Summer at Hideaway Key.
Lily St. Claire lives a charmed life. She attended the finest schools money could buy. She adored her father and tolerated her mother. After school, Lily pursued her dream of fashion designing and through hard work and relentless effort has established a solid reputation among some of the most iconic design houses of the world. What goes up, however, eventually comes down. When Lily receives word of her father’s passing, it is time for her to leave Paris behind and return to her mother’s side. As her mother and she sit patiently before Stephen Singer (the family attorney) and listen to the deliverance of her father’s estate, neither Lily nor Caroline St. Claire (her mother), quite know how to accept the fact that Roland St. Claire has left the beach cottage at Hideaway Key to his daughter Lily. Outraged, Caroline insists this cannot be and will do everything in her power to keep Lily from ever setting foot in that Godawful place.
Lily was never much of a beachgoer and doesn’t quite know how to accept this latest ‘gift’ her father has left. Perhaps it was time to learn more about her mother’s past—the time when she and her father met. Maybe this was Roland’s way of setting the record straight at long last. Caroline is nearly apoplectic when Singer announces the cottage passing onto Lily. It was owned by Caroline’s estranged sister Lily-Mae Boyle who has long-since passed. Why would Roland stir up a past that Caroline spent a lifetime to bury and how on earth is that cottage still at the center of the turmoil? When Lily adamantly discounts her mother’s demands and decides to go to Hideaway Key, a summer unfolds where truths of the past once exposed are perhaps circumstances that should have remained dormant and unknown...
I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Ms. Davis’ The Wishing Tide a while back and after reading her latest novel, Summer at Hideaway Key, the common thread between the two is: this author knows how to get in, get on and get out when it comes to spinning a story with perfect pace. Ms. Davis applies her adept vision when it comes to anchoring her protagonist and propping her up in the best light through the support of secondary characters. The dynamics of this story focus on the secrets a family keeps behind closed doors and showcases the chore of maintaining perfect appearances to the privileged society they walk among. Caroline St. Claire (character Lily’s mother) is portrayed as the quintessential rags to riches lady of polish, but it is such a chore to maintain the perception once her iconic husband has passed. The conflict Ms. Davis creates between mother and daughter exudes credibility. There is a constant percolation immediately below their surface that wills the reader to continue to turn the pages in order to find out if there is resolution or yet another dilemma. The scenery painted through descriptive passages of the west coast of Florida and its majestic sunsets is one I could feel (having grown up in South Florida myself). The book is the perfect length in that it is not too short, nor laboriously long. Rather it has a familiar pace that is established from the onset and the cadence of moving the story forward is ever-present throughout. Well done Ms. Davis. You have delivered yet another enjoyable read and I look forward to your next body of work.
Quill says: Summer at Hideaway Key is a perfect escape for those in search of the perfect ‘rainy day’ read.