My Review: I am not sure how to classify this book. I guess it is chick-lit, but it is also family drama as well as a murder mystery. Riley Griggs has her life turned upside down. In the past year her daughter was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and she and her husband are getting a divorce. She has sold her house as she knows finances are tough, but she has no idea. When she and her daughter Maggy arrive at the Summer Home, it is locked up tight with a foreclosure notice on the door. That is just the tip of the iceburg. When her husband, Wendell, does not show up on Belle Isle as promised, she assumes he is ducking his responsibilities once again. When he does not answer Maggy’s calls or texts, they grow a bit concerned. When Wendell’s body is found in the marina and it is determined that he was murdered, the story gets interesting. Who killed him and why? What does Riley’s family have to do with everything? Who else was involved in the bad investments? Was Wendell having an affair?
We meet Riley’s family, her mother Evelyn, her Aunt Roo, and her brother Billy. Billy is married to Scott and has always been a bit of an outsider. He is a musician and an alcoholic. The family is basically living off trust funds that were left by Riley’s father and grandfather. When she finds out that she is broke, she is not sure what to do. Maggy is a bit much even with what she is going through. She says some terrible things to her mother that should not have been tolerated, I don’t care if her father just died. Thankfully, she changes by the end of the story. Billy is a typical alcoholic some of the time. He knows it, but doesn’t seem to have the willpower to end it. He is usually pretty good around his niece, but as the story progresses, he seems to not care anymore. He also has a huge secret. Nate Milas, an old friend of Riley’s seems to be a saint. He is patient and understanding and puts up with a lot of crap from Riley and Maggy. I don’t know how he does it, but seems to win the family over, even though he did not come from “old money”. This was one of the most dysfunctional families I have read about in a long time. I was glad to see the bright spots in their relationships. Riley’s friend Parrish is the bright light. She did not want to get involved in Riley’s schemes, but usually was convinced. She stuck by her side like a loyal friend should and pulled her butt out of the fire a few times.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The beginning was a bit slow for me, but once I got into it, I flew through it, if only to find out who actually killed Wendell and why. If you enjoy family drama geared to women, this is a book for you.
Synopsis: Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.
So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.
Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting that you can’t help but fall for, The Weekenders is the perfect summer escape.